We are modem

Kathryn Moll and Nicholas de Monchaux collaborate as ​modem​, a practice with experience in software, architecture, urban design, and digital fabrication. Modem uses architectural tools to transform objects, environments, and urban situations, strengthening and improving connections between buildings, cities, and ecologies. Modem’s work is built on shared experience living and working in New York City, Washington, D.C., Venice, Italy, Oakland and Rome.

6050 Lowell St. Unit 213
Oakland, CA 94608 USA

Our home in Oakland inspires us to imagine an activist practice that foregrounds social and ecological concerns.

Kathryn Moll is a licensed architect with experience in sustainable building, education, and game design. Raised both on the beaches of Southern California and in the sprawl of Silicon Valley, she is a California native whose fascination with public processes, education, and systems of engagement led to her work both on buildings and the forces that shape them. Before co-founding modem, Kathryn practiced in Oakland and San Francisco, leading the design and construction of net-positive energy buildings and award-winning adaptive-reuse projects.

We implement the mechanisms of design to help us comprehend, navigate, and mediate essential transformations in our environment at every scale. This is the core of our work.

Nicholas de Monchaux’s fascination with the intersection of natural and manmade systems traces to his youth living on Sydney Harbour and, after a move to Boston, teenage years roaming the halls of MIT. He is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Berkeley and Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media. Nicholas is the author of a number of articles and essays on architecture, territory, technology and politics, as well as the books ​Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo,​ (MIT Press, 2011) and ​Local Code: 3,659 Proposals about Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities​ (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.) He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.


The things we make are beautiful, minimal, and appeal to all the senses. They have a sense of humor. They represent ideas at different scales. They move. They are scenarios and settings for performance. They strive towards breaking things down to their essence. They may well be technologies or systems for making objects as much as objects themselves. They are valuable to us, but they represent real and essential value for others as well; both our collaborators, and the larger society in which our collaborations take place.