Spring 2023 Course Description

Collaborative Interdisciplinary Option Studio

Iowa State University + AK Studio

Alex Braidwood, Associate Professor of Graphic Design

Dr. Peter Walker, AK Studio Founding Artist

Sam Johnson, AK Studio Director

Dr. Cody Fleming, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Open to

Juniors, Seniors, and Graduate Students from all College of Design and ISU Majors

Course Learning Objectives

●  Work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary group that includes art professionals, researchers, and designers.

●  Travel to LA to work with AK Studio on mulitple collaborative projects.

●  Develop a publicly accessible interactive work.

●  Explore the development of new, experiential knowledge through engaging with new creative processes.


Students spend their time in the classroom engaging in a wide variety of assigments including developing project pitch decks, project presentation, filmmaking, sculpture, modeling, reading, research, graphic and spatial design, and digital and practical prototyping. Students are tasked with working individually and collaboratively, ushering projects from inception to completion.

The LA Palms


“The LA Palms” is a multimedia work, the result of a project-focused weeklong intensive workshop in Los Angeles in which students engaged in familiar and new modes of creative processes. 

With the aim of strengthening creative vision and communication in new and unknown creative scenarios, students were challenged to collaborate on projects reaching beyond their typical course of academic study. 

Bridging the gap between their individual academic practices and “real world” vocational scenarios, the students were tasked with seeing multiple projects from inception to completion. 

“The LA Palms” includes finished works in the forms of a short film, sculpture, studio photography, graphic design, and a printed publication. 

The students worked with industry professionals at AK Studio, engaging in hands-on applications including video and audio editing, materials research and experimentation, spatial design, sound design, film scoring, audio engineering, videography and photography. 


Concrete Sculptures

Students were asked to draw inspiration from the LA palms in the form of concrete sculptures. Given the shared constraint of a 5-gallon bucket, groups paired off and were challenged to utilize various materials to interrupt the concrete’s poured form. 

The students were encouraged to ask questions. By engaging in new and unfamiliar modes of creating physical works, the teams were tasked with communicating creative vision in real time.


Students were tasked with documenting the Los Angeles workshop in the form of a printed publication, collaborating on the magazine's layout, graphic design, photography and writing. 

Filmmaking Process

With the responsibility for filming, editing and scoring the finished work, students collaborated on producing a short film on the LA palms.