Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 280

[En]Coding Architecture

THE BOOK
Edited by Liss C. Werner

[EN]CODING ARCHITECTURE
THE BOOK

[En]Coding Architecture
THE BOOK
Edited by Liss C. Werner

Carnegie Mellon University


School of Architecture, Pittsburgh

COLOPHON
This edition first published 2013
2013 Carnegie Mellon University,
School of Architecture
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Architecture
5000, Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA

ISBN

978-0-9762941-4-6

Editor

Liss C. Werner
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reprinted or reproduced or utilized for commercial
purposes in any form or by any electronic,
mechanical, or other means, now known or
hereafter invented, including photocopying and
recording, or in any information storage or retrieval
system, without permission in writing from the
publishers and a clear reference to the source.

Trademark Notice:

Product of corporate names may be trademarks


or registered trademarks, and are used only for
identification and explanation without the intent to
infringe.

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer:

While the publisher and author have used their


best efforts in preparing this book, they make
no representation or warranties in respect to the
accuracy or completeness of the contents of
this book and specifically disclaim any implied
warranties of merchantability or fitness for a
particular purpose.

Copy Editor

Madeline Gannon

Cover Design

Michael S. Jeffers

Design, Layout, Page Editing


Lena E. Tesone
Liss C. Werner

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
[EN]CODING
ARCHITECTURE
2013,
the
conference, first and foremost was made
possible through the generous support, trust and
engagement from Carnegie Mellon Universitys
College of Fine Arts and the School of Architecture,
mainly Steve R. Lee, Professor and Head, and
Dan Martin, Dean of CMU College of Fine Arts.
I also would like to mention and thank Prof.
Alfred Jacoby, Head of DIA, Dessau International
Architecture Graduate School, Anhalt University of
Applied Sciences, for encouraging me to approach
the position as Visiting Professor and George
N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow, within which I could create,
organize and chair the conference [EN]CODING
ARCHITECTURE 2013. Many thanks to Madeline
Gannon, who advised before, during and after the
conference, ran a workshop on scripting, and also
helped editing this book. The book itself was partly
financed by a grant from the Frank-Ratchye Fund
for Art @ the Frontier. Organization of the event
was only possible with the help of volunteering
students and highly supportive administration staff.
Many thanks to the Studio for Creative Inquiry,
run by Golan Levin for helping out with space and
logistics. I was very happy that one day of the
conference could be held within the Kresge Recital
Hall, and therefore would like to thank Carnegie

Mellon Universitys School of Music. Many thanks


to the workshop leaders, Madeline Gannon (as
mentioned for scripting), Golan Levin for running the
Daniel Shiffman Nature of Code workshop (since
Daniel could not attend due to a snow storm); thanks
to Daniel Schiffman for conferring during the abovementioned workshop. Thanks to Jeremy Ficca,
Josh D. Bard and Wes Mcgee running workshop
on using industrial robots in architecture, and Gill
Wildman, who offered a workshop on The Future
Architect as Entrepreneur and Illah Nourbakhsh for
his contribution as Professor of Robotics at CMU .
Most authors presented in this book were chosen
through a call for projects, and also presented and/
or were exhibited at the conference; others were
specifically invited. In this respect I would like to
specially thank Marjan Colletti and Niccolo Cassas
for their excellent contributions to this book, since
they could not attend the event. Finally, many thanks
to all who supported the conference in a variety of
other ways, especially Zack Jacobson-Weaver,
Gill Wildman, Michael S. Jeffers, Jordan Parsons,
Jeremy Ficca, Lena Tesone, Marge Myers, Spike
Wolff and the team of student volunteers..

Liss C. Werner

[EN]CODING ARCHITECTURE 2013

THIS PUBLICATION HAS BEEN FUNDED BY

WAS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY...

A GRANT FROM:

The Frank Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier


SPECIAL THANKS TO...

dFAB

Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture


Carnegie Mellon University School of Music
Frank Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry
Dfab Lab
CoDe Lab
Joshua D. Bard
Jeremy Ficca
Madeline Gannon
Linda Hagar
Michael S. Jeffers
David Koltas
Steve R. Lee
Golan Levin
Dan Martin
Marge Myers
Rob Sutherland
Lena E. Tesone
All who helped and assisted with the conference
All participants and attendees of the conference
All contributors to this book

PREFACE

PREFACE
Liss C. Werner
Dessau International Architecture Graduate School
Carnegie Mellon University
The architect is no longer an organizer of matter
and space, but a designer of systems with multilayered components and complex relationships.
[EN]CODING ARCHITECTURE - THE BOOK was
put together after a conference on the autonomy of
architecture, code, fabrication, material morphology,
robots, machinic desire and computation held at
Carnegie Mellon University, School of Architecture
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in February 2013. The
event focused on the ongoing paradigm shift in
architecture and the role of the designer/architect
in the age of code, beyond linear communication
channels or a a clear differentiation of disciplines,
which has dominated the profession of architecture
since the second industrial revolution. The event
brought together rising superstars, experienced
researchers and designers to present experimental
work, and thoughts, derived through computational
thinking and digital making. Lectures by Sanford
Kwinter, Neil Leach and Warren Neidich elevated
the conference subject and furnished debates with
new constructs.
The book presents an overview of what [En]
Coding in Architecture may consist of, how it
can be defined and which way a new language
and new tools, namely the language and tools
of computer sciences influence computational
thinking for architecture and the built environment.
[EN]CODING ARCHITECTURE 2013 positions
the field of architecture as an alloy of programming,
digital tooling, art, and science. The book
synthesizes new trajectories for the profession
in a cybernetic context of tectonics, cultural
philosophy, architectural theory and geopolitics.
Despite focusing on computation, the conference
specifically avoided to indulge in only one particular
strand of the profession and discipline. Instead
it aimed at triggering a conversation and debate
between various of topics, ranging from material
morphology via physical and cerebral interfaces
to politics. Along with the paper presentations and
panel discussions the conference also featured five
workshops: two on industrial robots in architecture,
two on scripting and one on the subject of The
Architect as Entrepreneur. Furthermore the
conference was accompanied by an exhibition
featuring some of the projects contained in this
book. A call for papers encouraged an international
group of approximately 200 architects, architectural
students and researchers to submit papers and/

or projects to accompany the keynote lectures of


the conference. Due to common ground, articles
in this book partly overlap in the subject matter;
the book, however, is structured in eight chapters:
INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS, CRITIQUE IN CODE,
MATERIAL, ROBOTS, INTERFACE, BUILDING,
POLITICS and VISIONS. In that sense, the book
spans from factual and theoretical understandings
of architecture via matter and making, to critical
observations of global phenomena in architectural
development, culture and technology. The
chapter INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS describes a
general overview of the subject, including theory,
philosophy and practice. CRITIQUE IN CODE
emphasizes on how code can be understood,
used, and translated as architectural vocabulary
as well as how code triggers questions about
architectural education and craft. The chapter
pushes the boundaries of code from a spatial,
non-linear, and dynamic coordinate system
towards a tool for circular feedback, stigmergy,
and self-organization. MATERIAL focuses on
issues such as morphogenesis, biomimetics,
a novel understanding of space and surfacearticulation, and a cross-disciplinary research
approach. ROBOTS presents an introduction into
how industrial robots can be used in architecture,
as form-finding tool, or as interface/learning
devices between code and operation. INTERFACE
is specifically concerned with activities between
the architect as designer, the hard- and software
involved, and the difference or similarities between
atoms and bits. This chapter also touches upon
locating current streams within cultural studies and
cinematics. A number of projects are combined in
the chapter BUILDING; these projects act as case
studies, and are aimed to encourage research
beyond the laboratory. POLITICS, and VISIONS
present the two final chapters in [EN]CODING
ARCHITECTURE - THE BOOK. They mirror on
one hand an earnest and critical view towards
spatial and urban design, integrating opportunities
for code and computational design strategies, on
the other feature utopian visions, equally politically
charged.
Undeniably, there is a global desire to re-discuss
architecture now.
Liss C. Werner

10

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS
Madeline Gannon
Warren Neidich
Neil Leach
Gill Wildman
MONAD Studio
Eric Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg

After 50 Years of Computer Aided Design


Computational Architecture and the Statisticon
Machinic Processes
The Future Architect as Entrepreneur

Rhythm as Code

CRITIQUE IN CODE
Marjan Colletti

An Example of [En]coding Neo Materialism:


ProtoRobotic FOAMing

Niccol Cassas

Digital Dcadence: The Fractal Dimension

Fleet Hower
Zack Jacobson-Weaver

Collateral Intricacy
Mastery and Apprenticeship in the Digital Divide:
De-Mystifying Code Through Craft

MATERIAL
Sean Ahlquist

Exploration and Fidelity in Material Computation:


Evolutionary Means for the Articulation of Textile
Morphologies

Dale Clifford

Material EnCoding

Nicole Koltick

Interior Prosthetics

Robert Trumbour and Aaron Willette

Jose Luis Garcia Del Castillo,


Christian Ervin, and Krista Palen
Jenny Sabin

Social Gravity: Where Analog Means Intersect


With Digital Intent
WX
myThread Pavilion
commissioned by NYC Nike FlyKnit Collective

11

ROBOTS
Wes Mcgee and Brandon Clifford
Alexandre Dubor and Gabriel Bello Diaz

Zuliang Guo, David de Cspedes,


Justin Tingue, and Andrew Wolking
Harold Solie, Bennett Scorcia,
Mark Wright, and Ning Zhou
Michael S. Jeffers and Jordan Parsons
Andreas Trummer

La Voute de Fevre
Magnetic Architecture:
Communicating with Material
Vertical Territories of Recursion

deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS

Recursionism
Mill to Fit

INTERFACE
Benjamin Rice
Madeline Gannon

Panagiotis Michalatos

Guvenc Ozel

Vivarium
Reverberations Across the Divide:
Connecting Digital and Physical Contexts
The Environment as a Signal:
The Architect as a User
Cerebral Hunt

BUILDING
Stefano Arrighi and Pierpaolo Ruttico
Hironori Yoshida
Jacob Douenias

Bence Pap and Andrei Gheorghe

12

Responsive Patterns on Double-Curved Surfaces


Scan to Production
Algal Architecture:
Integrating Biological Symbiosis
The Architecture Challenge 2012

POLITICS
Ingeborg Rocker

Deren Guler and Xiaowei Wang


Andrea Rossi and Lila PanahiKazemi

[En]coding and [Re]coding Architecture:


From Proto Types and Parametric Types
Revisiting the Building Bulk in Hong Kong
FLOAT_Beijing
Spatializing the Social

VISIONS
Matteo Taramelli
Alex Woodhouse and Leah Zaldumbide
Matteo Maraviglia
Maj Plemenitas

Galileo Morandi and Silvia Bertolotti

Alchemic Psychosis
Desert Driftboat
the allHOLE Project
Cross Scalar ] LINK [ Complex
Heterogeneous Systems
Living Nature

BIOS
Editors
Authors

13

14

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS
Madeline Gannon
Warren Neidich
Neil Leach
Gill Wildman
MONAD Studio
Eric Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg

After 50 years of Computer Aided Design


Computational Architecture and the Statisticon
Machinic Processes
The Future Architect as Entrepreneur

Rhythm as Code

15

16

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

After 50 years of Computer


Aided Design
Madeline Gannon, Computational Design Lab, Carnegie Mellon University
[En]coding Architecture 2013
presents a cross-section of the ideas and artifacts
currently surrounding computation and the built
environment. The following pages explore how
cutting-edge researchers, practitioners, and
students are harnessing the computational
medium to investigate new modes of form-finding,
fabrication and assembly, simulation and analysis,
visualization, interaction, and theory. Contributors
engage the theme of encoding from a variety of
viewpoints: some are crafting novel hardware and
software, some are translating digital bytes into
physical matter, and others approach encoding
as a theoretical framework to interpret the world.
As you progress through the book, these diverse
strands of exploration coalesce into a collective
understanding about the central role computation
now plays within the domain of architecture.
Computational design is often seen as a juvenile
field of research in the architectural discipline;
a mere 20 years old.1 However, the tools and
techniques of digital design have a much longer

legacy: modern CAD environments date back to


1963, with Ivan Sutherlands pioneering computer
program Sketchpad; and we have been questioning
the creative potential of the computational medium
since 1967, with Jasia Reichardts exhibition
Cybernetic Serendipity. So before we dive into
the current state computation and architecture,
lets revisit these two foundational moments to
understand the historical context upon which the
work contained in this book is built. By doing so, we
can calibrate our understanding of computational
design within a contemporary context, and,
perhaps, rediscover potent ideas that still elude
computer aided design today.

Although analog
computers have
existed for centuries,
our relationship
with modern day,
digital computing
developed from
WWII era code
breaking machines.

EARLY HUMAN COMPUTER INTERFACE

Although analog computers have existed for


centuries, our relationship with modern day, digital
computing developed from WWII era code breaking
machines.2 Early modern computers were primarily
used as tools for automation by a specialized group
of scientists and mathematicians. Machines, such

17

Design constraints
define a framework
for what the user
intends to create,
rather than what
they explicitly create
in the program
environment.
Communication
through these
design constraints
gave the computer
an understanding
of the users
intentions ...

However, when
an objective is
ambiguous, like
in the nebulous
process of design,
this communication
model breaks
down...

18

as the ENIAC, were developed to rapidly calculate


mathematical tasks in pattern recognition and
physical simulations. These computers enabled
lengthy repetitive tasks, such as encoding or
decoding messages and calculating firing tables or
missile trajectories, to be executed more reliably,
precisely, and quicker than a human counterpart.3
Though the mechanics and methods of computation
developed rapidly in the subsequent decades, the
perception of computers as automation machines
remained engrained as a fundamental typology
for the design and use of computers. In 1963,
A.P. Yershv described this automation typology
as the director-agent model of interaction. In this
one-way closed chain of transfer and processing
[of] information, the human director commands
a machine agent to execute a directive.4 This is
articulated in the Yershov Diagram, where we
see the thinking human, sensing and sending
information to the machine on the right.

The machine is a closed black-box with a portal for


incoming and outgoing information. In the diagram,
the onus is on the human to distill the creativity and
imagination of the mind into simplified commands
that the machine can process. Once processed,
the results are sent back to the human, returning
to the mind for creative interpretation. Today, our
primary means of interacting with CAD programs
is still this director-agent model from the 1960s
the command-line, the mouse, and even the script
editor are all input devices to give a computer
explicit directions to execute. This command-based
approach to human-computer interaction is very
useful when a desired outcome is well defined, like in
tasks of automation. When the human understands
what information to send, the speed, accuracy,
and robustness of the computational machine can
be leveraged to execute complex tasks. However
when an objective is ambiguous, like in the
nebulous process of design, this communication
model breaks down. If the human does not know
what information to send to the machine, Yershvs
closed chain of communication stagnates. The
scope of the machines usefulness, therefore, is
limited by the mind of the human.

SKETCHPAD

In contrast to Yershvs model of human-machine


interaction, Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad (1963)
made it possible for man and a computer to
converse rapidly through the medium of line
drawings.5 Through Sketchpad, Sutherland
translated the complexities of computation into an
interactive and visual interface. Its interface was one
of the first that separated programming a computer
from using a computer, and it demonstrated how
computing could become accessible to graphicbased professionals, such as artists, architects, and
designers. Sketchpads interface was composed
of two separate components: the light pen and a
dock of push buttons. The light pen, a predecessor
to the mouse, was used for coordinate input when
drawing graphics and demonstrative input for
pointing to and selecting graphics. The dock of
push buttons were used to switch between drawing
functions, geometric operations, and constraint
behaviors. By coordinating light pen movements
with push button commands, Sutherland was able
to package the programs complex code into hidden
subroutines dynamically triggered by these tangible
input devices. Therefore, a user could directly
manipulate the contents of the program without
writing code.
Sketchpad enabled a user to sketch 2D and 3D
graphics directly on the computer screen and is
recognized as the first Computer-Aided Design
(CAD) tool.6 Its sketches are not simply digitized
drawings, however. The graphic objects in a
sketch are embedded with layers of topological
intelligence internal data structures that can
store complex relationships. For example, rather
than defining a line by two endpoints, it can also
be defined by its relationship to other graphic
objects: parallel to, perpendicular to, same length
as, and so forth. These topological structures
allow users to add design constraints within their
sketch. Design constraints define a framework for
what the user intends to create, rather than what
they explicitly create in the program environment.
Communicating through these design constraints
gave the computer an understanding of a users
intentions, not just their actions. Sketchpad could
interpret and readjust a graphic model to fit what
the user intended to make, and not just what
they directly input. Therefore, a user could begin
with a vague idea of the final graphic object, then
collaborate with the computer to layer in design
constraints and iteratively refine the desired output.
As shown here, Sutherland is quickly drawing the
arcs and lines of rivet-like graphic object. Rather
than carefully drafting the graphic object, he layers
a series of design constraints that communicate to
the computer what he intended, but didnt actually
draw. Sketchpad then interprets and readjusts
the graphic object to match Sutherlands intention
(right).

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

Sketchpad illustrated a vision that anticipated and


inspired the future of human-computer interaction,
and many of its concepts have been adopted
and improved on over the last half century. The
Graphical User Interface (GUI), Object Oriented
Programming (OOP), and Computer-Aided-Design
(CAD) were all developed on foundations that
Sutherland built through Sketchpad.7 What has yet
to be improved on, however, is Sutherlands notion
of conferring with our computers. Sketchpad
proposed a way for the computer to extend
the human imagination. Through its constraint
system, it could differentiate between a users
intentions and their actions: the program was
able to internalize an abstract idea of what the
user wanted to achieve, and it could interact and
collaborate with the user to reach that goal. In a
rudimentary way, Sketchpad was an environment
where man and machine could have a shared

state of mind. This connection between human and


computer made it possible for an abstract idea to
develop into something initially unforeseeable by
the human

CYBERNETIC SERENDIPITY

The term cybernetic is derived from Greek for


steersman, and was appropriated for the metascience Cybernetics in the mid-twentieth century.
Norbert Wiener formalized the field in 1948 as the
scientific study of control and communication in the
animal and the machine.8 Cybernetics provided
a model for understanding complex behaviors
as simplified systems of regulatory information
exchange. It reduced the animal and the machine
down to the messages and signals it sent through
an environment. As Wiener writes in The Human
Use of Human Beings:
When I give an order to a machine, the situation is

Cybernetics
provided a model
for understanding
complex behaviors
as simplified systems
of regulatory information exchange.

19

Man and machine


become a part of
a single continuum
in an environmental
context, blurring
the dichotomy
between the natural
and the artificial.

20

not essentially different from that which arises when


I give an order to a person. In other words, as far
as my consciousness goes I am aware of the order
that has gone out and of the signal of compliance
that has come back. To me, personally, the fact
that the signal in its intermediate stages has gone
through a machine rather than through a person is
irrelevant and does not in any case greatly change
my relation to the signal.9 Here, Wiener describes
a man-machine system, where communicative
fields replace the physical or biological boundaries
of each entity. Man and machine become a
part of a single continuum in an environmental
context, blurring the dichotomy between the
natural and the artificial.10 This ambiguity was
the subject matter of Cybernetic Serendipity, an
exhibition organized by Jasia Reichardt twenty
years later, in 1968. For the exhibition, Reichardt
invited a hybrid group of artists, engineers,
mathematicians, and architects to submit work that
demonstrated the creative possibilities engendered
by contemporary technology.11 The collection of
computers, electronics, art, poetry, and machines
translated scientific advances in cybernetics into
sociocultural speculations on nascent relationships
between man and machine. The exhibited artifacts
proposed ways for computational machines to form
dynamic and interdependent bonds with humans
not as tools for automation, but as a medium
for connection. Chuck Csuris Sine Curve Man
(1967), for example, was one of the first examples
of an artist using the computational medium to
extend there own creativity. The plotter drawing
was generated by programming an IBM 7094 with
the X and Y point coordinates of the outline of a
man. The Y coordinates of the original outline were
then successively altered by a sine function, while
the X coordinates remained constant. The resulting
oscillated portrait was then plotted with a Calcomp
563 drum plotter. Unlike Sutherlands Sketchpad,
Sine Curve Man was generated using very
conventional computer interfaces and programmed
with standard punchcards. This portrait, however, is
the artifact of a profound new relationship between
artist and computational platform. The cybernetic
serendipity of Sine Curve Man is derived from the
artist and machines connection throughout the
process of creative discovery. As Csuri writes:
The question is not one of hand skills versus
machine skills. The problem is one of conception,
wherein the mathematical transformations made
possible by the computer present a new dimension
to art.12 The connection between artist and machine
occurs at an abstract level, through machine
language. Csuri grafts the conceptual framework
of the artist onto the logic of the plotter to create a
shared state of mind between man and machine.
By binding his creative output to the underlying
abstractions of the plotters processes, both artist
and computer/plotter collaborate with equal agency

in informing the final image. The specific graphic


output, be it Sine Curve Man or Cosine Curve Man,
is somewhat arbitrary. What remains important is
how artist and computer combine to extend the
limits of human creativity.

LATENT IDEAS

Over the past half century, the development


Computer-Aided Design has ineffaceably altered
the design disciplines; from pedagogy to practice,
CAD tools mediate how and what we create. Yet
despite the relative ubiquity of digital design, our
means of interacting with these computational
tools have remained largely unchanged since the
1960s. We still operate, rather than collaborate,
with our digital design environments through WIMP
(Window Icon Menu Pointer) interfaces. The 1960s
gave us visionary prototypes. Both Sketchpad and
Sine Curve Man demonstrate that it is possible for
a computer to participate in the process of design,
and not just be used to execute a design. They
forego the director-agent model for a cybernetic
model of human-computer interaction.
As a result, each are able to craft a shared state
of mind between human and computer: Sketchpad
provided the computer with a model of the users
abstract intentions, whereas Csuri was able to
infuse an archetype of artistic expression (the
portrait) with the essence of computation (the
algorithm) when creating Sine Curve Man. As we
continue to explore new frontiers in computational
design, it is important to understand the historical
context in which we create; not only to ensure that
we are building new knowledge (and not just than
reconstituting existing knowledge,) but to also
challenge assumptions about how a technology
should behave or perform. [En]coding Architecture
2013 profiles computational approaches to diverse
fields of interests within architecture.
The following pages demonstrate how the computer
is not just a tool for digital representation (drafting,
drawing, rendering, etc.) It is also a medium for
reconfiguring our existing relationships to the
built environment. And, although this book is a
static moment within a larger context of dynamic
technological change, I hope the artifacts and
ideas contained in [En]coding Architecture 2013 will
inspire excitement for the creative possibilities and
provocative futures of architecture.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

CITATIONS / NOTES / REFERENCES

1. Mario Carpo, The Digital Turn in Architecture,


1992-2002, Chichester: Wiley, 2013, p.8.
2. Jasia Reichardt, Robots: Fact, Fiction and
Prediction, New York: The Viking Press, 1978,
p.35.
3. Saul Rosen, Electronic Computers: A Historical
Survey in ACM Computational Survey, 1, 1, March
1969, 7-36. DOI=10.1145/356540.356543
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/356540.356543
[accessed September 2013]
4. A. P. Yershv, One View of Man-Machine
Interaction in ACM 12, 3, July 1965, pp-315-325.
DOI=10.1145/321281.321283
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/321281.321283
[accessed September 2013]
5. Ivan E. Sutherland, Sketchpad: a man-machine
graphical communication system in Proceedings
of the May 21-23, 1963, spring joint computer
conference (AFIPS 63). ACM, New York, NY, USA,
pp.329-346.
DOI=10.1145/1461551.1461591
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1461551.1461591
[accessed September 2013]
6. Gabe Johnson, et al. Computational Support
for Sketching in Design: A Review, Foundations
and Trends in Human-Computer Interaction, 2, 1
(January 2009), 1-93. DOI=10.1561/1100000013
http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/1100000013
[accessed September 2013]
7. William Buxton, et al. Interaction at Lincoln
laboratory in The 1960s: looking forward
looking back, CHI 05 Extended Abstracts on
Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA
05). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 1162-1167.
DOI=10.1145/1056808.1056864
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1056808.1056864
[accessed September 2013]
8. Norbert Wiener. Cybernetics: Or, Control and
Communication in the Animal and the Machine,
2nd ed., New York: MIT Press, 1961, p.10.
9. Wiener, Norbert, The Human Use of Human
Beings: Cybernetics and Society, Boston:
Houghton Mifflin, 1950, pp.16-17.
10. Katherine Hayles, How We Became
Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics,
Literature, and Informatics, Chicago, Ill.: University
of Chicago Press, 1999.
11. Jasia Reichardt, Cybernetic Serendipity: The
Computer and the Arts, New York: Praeger, 1969.
12. Charles Csuri, James Shaffer, Art, computers
and mathematics. in Proceedings of the December
9-11, 1968, fall joint computer conference, part II
(AFIPS 68 (Fall, part II)). ACM, New York, NY,
USA, 1293-1298. DOI=10.1145/1476706.1476759
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1476706.1476759
[accessed September 2013]

ILLUSTRATIONS

p. 16: Sine Curve Man by Charles Csuri, 1967,


created with an IBM 7094 and Calcomp 563 drum
plotter.
p. 18: Yershov Diagram, 1963, Director-agent model of human-machine interaction.
p. 19 top: Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad, 1963, First
Computer-Aided Design Tool.
p. 19 bottom: before (right) and After (left) applying
design constraints to a graphic object in Sketchpad.

21

22

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

Computational Architecture and the


Statisticon
Warren Neidich
The recent connection of neuro-biopolitical
inquiry to post-Operaist ontologies has created
new linkages towards a deeper understanding of
the causes, mediations, and cures of Cognitive
Capitalism and has opened a new form analysis
to an activist readership. I would like to continue
this conversation by moving forward the process
I started in Cogntive Architecture: From Biopolitics
to NooPolitics1 and The Psychopathologies of
Cognitive Capitalism Part 12 to produce a new
language with which to understand the political
and cultural consequences of digital architectures
upon our contemporary brain and minds. I want
to suggest a new opening for critical architecture,
in opposition to the post-critical or projective
practices, which maintain the uncritical status
quo, by suggesting an alternative locus for the
repercussions of avant-garde architecture and
architectural theory that is the neuroplastic potential
of the brain. An approach I might add is nonreductive or cognitivist but culturally biased and
ontogenic. Like Michael Hays and Alicia Kennedy

I see the role of theory as multiplex: Firstly it is selfreflexive and creates a time, space and language
to assess what the field has accomplished and
what it might do in the future. Secondly it provides
a space for a creative practice untethered by the
forces that keep buildings standing or causes
them to fall down for in the minds eye, where
architecture can and must be envisioned, utopian
visions abound. Finally the written word samples
architectures meaning in ways that building
practices cannot. Writing about architecture
uncovers other conditions of architecture, which
collegial mimesis, other architects copying the
forms and styles of colleagues, fails to accomplish.3
The theory of cognitive architecture that I would
like to realize here stands firmly in the camp of
those theoretical approaches that are unconcerned
whether or not architecture and designed space
generate platforms for practice in the neoliberal
world of commoditized forms and environments.
Rather, instead of creating spaces and buildings
that potentiate the efficiencies of neo-liberal market

I want to suggest
a new opening for
critical architecture,
in opposition to
the post-critical or
projective practices,
which maintain the
uncritical status quo,
by suggesting an
alternative locus for
the repercussions of
avant-garde architecture and architectural
theory that is the neuroplastic potential of
the brain.

23

Politic Political
architecture like
political art is
unpopular with the
titans of industry
whose activities
generate the very
core issues that such
resistance reacts
against.

[...] it is a called
to arms for those
architects out
there who need a
reason to believe
in something else
beyond the flat
screens they are
chained to.

24

networks, this work concerns its critique and as


such its destabilization. Political architecture like
political art is unpopular with the titans of industry
whose activities generate the very core issues
that such resistance reacts against. I want to
provoke another space for architectural and design
discourse to operate in the age of information and
cognitive capitalism by understanding its power
to provoke new organs of perception and new
possibilities for thought. Fredric Jameson, when
explaining his initial experience of the Bonaventure
Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, implicitly
understood this when he stated, I am proposing
the notion that we are here in the presence of
something like a mutation in built space itself.
My implication is that we ourselves, the human
subjects who happen into this new space, have
not kept pace with that evolution: there has been
a mutation in the object unaccompanied as yet by
any equivalent mutation in the subject. We do not
yet possess the perceptual equipment to match this
new hyperspace, as I will call it, in part because our
perceptual habits were formed in that older kind of
space I have called the space of high modernism
The newer architecture therefore-like other cultural
products I have evoked in the proceeding remarksstands as something like an imperative to grow
new organs, to expand our sensorium.4 Since 1991
when Jameson wrote these prophetic words the
landscape of understanding of the neural plastic
potential of the brain and its entangled relation to
cultural plasticity has changed considerably, and
as such our understanding of the above statement
with it. This discussion of architectures power is not
a re-iteration or re-enactment of Modernist bravado
of architectures ability to change the world. Rather
it is a called to arms for those architects out there
who need a reason to believe in something else
beyond the flat screens they are chained to.
Three essential ideas will be elaborated concerning
architectural responses to the new conditions of
cognitive capitalism. First I will tether computational
architecture to the other regimes and practices
of cognitive capitalism. Second I want to reboot
the idea of the apparatus/dispositif delineated by
Michel Foucault and link it to recent discussions
concerning extended cognition in which cognition
is not something limited to a process going inside
the head but is tethered to material agents and
practices that operate as cognitive assists or
exograms in built and designed space. I want to
argue that architecture is no longer about static
material space but it also concerns mobile and
dynamic fields and that we now have a whole host of
apparatuses, like smart phones, navigation devices
and composite smart buildings that operate in and
determine the conditions of these field conditions.
These devices form the new dispositifs of cognitive
capitalism and their actions are directed from the
laboring body towards cognitive labor and the

production of the knowledge laborer or Cognitariat.


(Stan Allen would suggest a field is a metaphor
through which to understand the city better as
infrastructural elements linked together in open
ended networks.5 Later interpreting Michel Serres
he suggests, More then a formal configuration,
the field condition implies an architecture that
admits change, accident and improvisation. It is an
architecture not invested in durability, stability, and
certainty, but an architecture that leaves space for
the uncertainty of the real.6). In this regard I want
to introduce the term Neuropower, which delineates
the new conditions of power in cognitive capitalism.
Neuropower concerns the ways and means that
capitalism intervenes upon the neuroplasiticity of
the brain in order to produce a perfect consumer.
This happens through bottom-up processing and
activating the primary cortices of the brain; like the
occipital or visual cortex and the auditory cortex.
To this form of power it adds another direct action
upon the frontal cortex, which through top-down
processing, affects choice and prognostication.7
In my concluding remarks I want to tether this
form of power to: construct a new model of archipower called the Statisticon. This term describes
an ongoing process of subjectivication and
subjection that commences with the panopticon
continues through the synopticon and has recently
emerged as the Statisticon in which architecture
and designed space are entangled in synchronous
and diachronous datascapes. In the world of data
mining the negative side effects of total datafication
of the built environment will be investigated.
NEUROPLASTICITY
There are two kinds of cultural neural modulation:
the generational and transgenerational models.
Time does not permit a deep explication of both
so for the present text I want to focus on the
generational form after giving a short definition of
both. Both models describe a process of epigenesis
in which the environment interacts with an apriori
genetically inscribed unfolding of the matter of
the brain. In the generational model as the name
implies this process is related to events that are
occurring in the life of that subject and the changes
occur in the microarchitectures of the brains basic
units of function, its neurons mostly at the axondendrite junctions or synapses, a process called
selective stabilization.8
In the transgenerational model recurrent events
occurring consistently over the course of many
generations are reflected in changes in the organs
of the brain as in the case of the development of
reading systems in the brain responding to the
modification of the cultural space as a result of the
development of symbolic culture. I postulate that
cultural acquisitions are only possible insofar as
they fit within this fringe, by reconverting pre-existing
cerebral dispositions for another use. Accordingly,

THE EXOGRAM-ENGRAM ASSEMBLAGE


Buildings, however, are not oases from history
but rather relays in a comprehensive cultural
system of management, administration, and
engineering of human affect and historical
unfolding. Like the coils of an anaconda, loop
after loop of the soft-infrastructural mesh is drawn
daily around us, not to crush, but merely to restrict
expansion in unsanctioned directions, to guide
movements subtly but uncompromisingly toward
other ends.11 Recently archeologists have begun to
adopt a theory, called Neuroarcheology, that seeks
to describe and explain the long-term relationship
between the ontogeny of the interaction between
ancient material forms, like Miconean beads, and
the effect they had for processes and the growth
and change of human cognitive abilities.12 13 The
mind can be located within and outside the skin
and human cognition is locationally uncommitted;
committed in other words to being uncommitted,
distributed and decentralized. Important for us here
and for what is to come is that material engagement
takes place along a continuum extending
between theories of internalization (inside the
brain) and externalization (in the environment).

It is that continuum as it becomes asymmetric in


contemporary cognitive capitalism, as we move
into a world of exographic excess, that is important
for contemporary theories of contemporary built
space. Let me clarify these terms further. The
exogram-engram system is a distributed networked
system that does not respect the boundaries
of the material world, the body or the brain. It
forms the basis of a developmental approach to
distributed cognition in which from birth the rapidly
growing human brain is immersed in a massively
distributed cognitive network: culture.14 Importantly,
as we have moved in the past fifty years from an
extensive, analogue and linearly mapped world to
one that is intensive, non-linear, and self-organized,
the nature of engrams and exograms have followed
suit, mutating separately and together. As we saw
above, through generational and transgenerational
plastic changes this change is registered in the
brains material nature.
An engram is a memory record stored in the head.
There are at least five dissociable engrams or
memory systems:

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

cultural plasticity is not unlimited, and all cultural


inventions should be based on the pre-emption of
pre-existing evolutionary adaptations of the human
brain. It thus becomes important to consider what
may be the evolutionary precursors of reading and
arithmetic.9 For our purposes here I would like to
leave this transgenerational model, and focus on
the first approach, the generational model. As the
name describes neural plasticity, which modifies
the unfolding of the genetically inscribed neuroontogenic process in the here and now. Neural
plasticity is linked up with the term epigenesis. In
the restricted sense of the brain, epigensis refers
to the way that cultural influences affect the course
of development of the genetically determined
unfolding of the brain. When one considers brain
function in this context, the term neural plasticity
is used. Neural plasticity delineates the ability of
the components of the brain, its neurons, their
axons, dendrites, synapses and neural networks,
referred to as its firmware, in addition to its dynamic
signatures, oscillatory potentials which allow
distant parts of the brain to communicate with each;
to be modified by experience.10 These dynamic
oscillations are most effected when they are the
resultant of a process of the synchronization of
stimuli, which cause neural entrainment in which
independent systems fall into step and become
linked together. Effective naturally occurring and
culturally designed distributions of sensibility
bind and bundle stimuli together in synchronous
packages that elicit synchronous neural oscillatory
potentials; which, as we will see further along, have
neuromodulatory capacities.

1. Motor skills like writing, driving and playing video


games.
2. Conditional emotional responses like anxiety
created by the sight of a rival or autistic ones
defined by detachment
3. Perceptual learning as it relates to learning
catagories of things like flowers or faces but also
parametrically curvilinear buildings.
4. Semantic memories that tend to abstract
generalizations encoded as language.
5. Episodic memories that relate to the memory of
personal experiences in ones life.15
Exographic systems have important properties
absent in natural memory systems that have
implications for human cognition. Examples include
totems, masks, knotted cords, built environments,
cave paintings, stone circles and burial mounds
that operate as astronomical measuring devices,
trading tokens, written records, works of poetry,
mathematical notations, architectural drawings,
libraries and archives, scientific instruments, moving
pictures and electronic media, and recently smart
phones and robots.16 Basic to any understanding
of engrams, exograms, brain-artefact interfaces is
the primordial theory of parity according to which if
part of the world, e.g. a software program, functions
as a process, which were it to go on in the head, we
would have no hesitation in accepting it as part of
the cognitive process then that part of the world [for
that time] is in fact a cognitive process.17 In other
words portions of the external world can operate as
a kind of memory store, either as a remembrance of
an event or a process that exhumes and constitutes
it as an assemblage in time. However the idea of
parity implies that the exogram and the engram

25

One needs to think


of engrams and
exograms not as
crystallized entities
but as intensive
interactive folded
and plicated membranes.

26

are in some way mimetic in their forms, evolution,


state relations, and inherent processing operations.
Recently the term parity has given way to a theory
of complementarity.18 The term complementarity
underscores the lack of exact correspondence
between an inner cognitive memory repertoire,
engram, and its external cognitive relation,
exogram. For instance, the reformatable nature
of exograms allows for information to be altered
and then re-entered into storage in ways that an
engram clearly can not afford.19 In this regard
the idea of things in motion, or cultural memory
as they travel through different epochs and social
constructs, taking on different meanings and uses,
is interesting for us here. Furthermore, in order
to comprehend the subtleties of the relationships
engram and exogram, as singular entities or as
classes of things, it is essential to consider their
idiosyncratic diachronic, biographical and historical
aspects.20
There lack of superimposition, due to a distinctive
individual and dyadic character, is related to
their inherent developmental asynchronicity
and asymmetry. One needs to think of engrams
and exograms not as crystallized entities but
as intensive interactive folded and plicated
membranes. Exograms are polyvalent fields not
simply equipontial and as such morphing contextual
and contingent cultural tableaux create instabilities
in them that produce spiking singularities to
emerge. These singularities, when they are strong
enough, produce catastrophic changes, which
require morphogenetic restructuring of the form
in its internal tectonics and external morphology.
This I would argue is where the methodologies
of aesthetic form production, where use value
is not a priority, and the processes of purposeful
tool production, linked as it is to a specific job
and use, diverge. As I am describing it here,
artistic and architectural production in their most
utopian condition, unfettered by for instance client
requirements, as knowledge production embraces
the catastrophe and the variable uncertain forms
it yields. The becoming-cultured brain calls for
on one hand a sympathetic historical materialism
of a dynamic and active brain-artefact interface
(BAI), which has enabled human beings to further
optimize their environments for a more efficient
habitation of their world and on the other realizes
that mutual engagement can lead to destabilized
results as well.21 The power of architecture,
to continue positivist progression endemic to
theories of the ontogeny of tool production, is
countered by its other potential as a creative and
destabilizing force. In an architectural context BAI
could be defined as a specified and engineered
technological mediation; be it a material structure,
process, congregation of objects, socio-material
apparatuses or process, that facilitates the
arrangement of a dynamic relationship or tuning

between neural and cultural plasticity.22


Importantly in cognitive capitalism BAIs are a subset
of a whole host of arrangements under the heading
of Cognitive Ergonomics through which design
platforms optimize cognition-tool interfaces to
optimize cognitive laboring.23 I question the politics
of this univocal concept of BAIs, as proposed here,
through an understanding of the importance of
noisy forms at odds, with this positivistic ontogeny.
BAIs and the material engagement approach they
are embedded in must be open as the Becoming
Cultural Brain model is to the power of noise,
chaos, and entropy. For every exogram and
engram contains with it unfulfilled promises and
possibilities that emerge at points of instability
such in phase changes. It is these instabilities
as they morph into singularities that have the
potential to disrupt the conditions that create the
presentation of the exogram or the engram. That in
fact allows them to become other. For a normalized
exogram, at the service of govermentality, is a
synchronized assemblage of parts, an ecology of
epistemic agents of thought externalized, which are
complexified in specific relational conformations
and proportionalities to each other and to the
cognitive processes that are implicitly in use by
regimes of subjection. They are like fraternal twins
and their desire to maintain the web of relations
that constitue their relationship creates a field
of checks and balances which stabilize their codeterminant structure. In the process of subjection
the machinery of control becomes incorporated in
the subjects thinking process as automatic selfregulation.
MODIFICATION OF
THE COGNITIVE LIFE OF LIFE OF THINGS
Two quick illustrations should hopefully suffice to
show how architecture might deregulate this selfregulation by acting to delink and disassemble
the crystallized condition of the engram-exogram
assemblage. Rem Koolhaas Junkspace (2001)
offers a radically different idea of understanding the
condition of space than the model of Malafouris.
For Junkspace is the apotheosis of Modernization
with its rational program, based, as it is, on science
and universality. Junkspace is its apotheosis, or
meltdownalthough its individual parts are the
outcome of brilliant interventions, hyper technical,
lucidly planned by human intelligence, imagination
and infinite computation, their sum spells the end
of Enlightenment, its resurrection as farce, a low
grade purgatory Junkspace is the product of the
encounter between escalator and air-conditioning,
conceived in an incubator of sheetrockJunkspace
isa colossal security blanket that covers the
earth, the sum of all decisions not taken, issues not
faced, choices not made, priorities left undefined,
contradictions
perpetuated,
compromises
embraced, corruption tolerated.24 And what are the

field of space and time relations. As such a crisis


and state of exception of thought occurred and a
crisis of governmentality resulted. What is the state
of exception and how can this theory be of use to
us here? As George Schwab states in his forward
to Carl Schmitts Political Theology, In short, the
exception, said Schmitt, is that which can not be
subsumed. A state of suspension of government
ensues, and a state of exception is produced.26
REFORMATTING ARCHITECTURE
IN THE AGE OF COGNITIVE CAPITALISM
Computational architecture is not an isolated sphere
of knowledge but in fact linked to a field of similarly
inflected discourses in which digital processes
have become essential. As such architecture is
but one expertise that has retooled itself for the
contemporary demands of neoliberalism as a
global system.
In modern western countries the cross-disciplinary
adaptation to digital machinic technicity has had
other effects on other functional systems such
as the ascension of information and knowledge
based economies in which mass production
and industrialization has been subsumed by a
performative and communicative based economy,
so called Semiocapitalism, which takes the mind,
language and creativity as its primary tools of
production of value.27 In other words, as labor
becomes cognitive the machinery of the mind
and brain and their attributes, like memory and
attention, are the new focus of the capitalist
exploitation. Memory and attention form the
foundation of contemplation and understanding.
The terms communicative capitalism and cognitive
capitalism had until recently been somewhat
interchangeable. As a result of the outcome of two
recent conferences entitled The Psychopathologies
of Cognitive Capitalism Part 1 and Part 2 held in
Los Angeles and Berlin respectively the signifying
ecology of these terms has shifted.28 I would like to
argue that the transition from architecture as a form
of organization to one of enacted articulation to one
of intense datafication, re-enacts an altered history
of architecture and urbanization as an ontogeny
of the optimization of extended cognition. Where
architecture becomes a method of capturing data
and that this data is used to track and subjugate
subjectivity and as a result the now algorithmic
denotation of scripted built space acts as a means
to inscribe algorithmic logics upon the malleable
architectures of the brain.
In the age of congnitive capitalism this forms the
relationship between cognitive (A)rchitecture
and cognitive (a)rchitecture. Furthermore I would
like to suggest that this transition,in fact, follows
the transition occurring already in an expanded
political-cultural field. I have already argued
elsewhere that along with this transition has
evolved new fors of biopower. The disciplinary

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

apparatuses of Junkspace. What are its engramexogram assemblages? Is there a positivist treatise
on their design history? According to Koolhaas
there is no design but only creative proliferation
that in the end produces an alt history of things
in transition. Where once detailing suggested the
coming together, possibly forever, of disparate
materials, it is now a transient coupling, waiting to
be undone, unscrewed, a temporary embrace that
none of its constituent parts may survive.25
The second example concerns the role of
paradigm shifts on the secondary manifestations,
those that have to do agency and mindedness
rather then those primarily political, on conditions
perpetrated by the Egyptian Spring. The causes
of which can be traced back to an urban and
architectural model. The use of social media has
created a technological divide between digital
natives, those born after the introduction of digital
technologies, and internet immigrants, those
that were born before the introduction of digital
technologies. It allowed for a catastrophic field
change with important consequences for those
who only understood urban space in the form of
a static model, defined by its buildings and plazas,
and those who understood it as a fluid and dynamic
field, defined similarly to a mobile phone, as a
place to roam and congregate. As such the points
of powers radiation no longer emanated from
public buildings, Murabak Head Quarters were
set ablaze, but rather from mobile hubs and their
constantly reconfigured net-landscape.
As such, these mobile hubs and the exographic
interconnectivities, they formed fields of dynamic
modulation in which transient consubstantiation
of interactivity created morphing complexified
exographic interfaces; sampled by one population
but not the other produced a crisis in surveillance
of the government and therefore a disruption in
their information gathering capabilities. As such the
digital natives were able to creatively reconstruct the
fields of meaning as dynamic manifolds in the urban
and architectural designed spaces thereby gaining
control of the city. Importantly this disruption of the
crystallized and instrumentalized distributions of
sensibility and their consubstantiated engramic
memory fields came under siege, and a state of
emergency ensued. Policing forms of normalization
that had used certain systems of control and
depended upon the engram-exographic system of
flows, historically set in place, and who themselves
were constituted by those systems, as means to
engage in a specified form of understanding,
were at a neurologic disadvantage. They were
neurobiologically blind for as we saw in the opening
remarks by Jameson they had not grown the organs
of perception necessary to understand the new
hyperspace or in this case the new dynamic fields
of communication. Their neuroplasticity had been
sculpted by a less dynamic and non-topological

As such the digital


natives were able to
creatively reconstruct
the fields of meaning
as dynamic manifolds in the urban
and architectural
designed spaces
thereby gaining
control of the city.

As such architecture
is but one expertise
that has retooled
itself for the contemporary demands of
neoliberalism as a
global system.

27

society of Michel Foucault based as it was on


Bethams panopticon transitioned to the society
of control of Gilles Deleuze in which the static,
enclosed organized architectural frame was by
one more incessant, dynamic and modulatory.29 As
we moved to advanced technologically inflected,
infrastructurally dominated designed space two
further permutations in powers methodologies
occurred.

I would like to
argue that the
transition from
architecture as a
form of organization
to one of enacted
articulation to one
of intense datafication, re-enacts an
altered history of
architecture and
urbanization as
an ontogeny of
the optimization of
extended cognition.

NOOPOLITICS AND NEUROPOWER


Noopolitics was an outcome of moving into what
is called as the attention economy where value
transitioned to valorization in which the number of
eye balls watching an event, the amount of chatter
in gossip and social networks became an indices
of profit. Noopolitics took memory and attention
as its new territory for exploitation. Neuropower
piggy backed upon Noopolitics focus with attention
and memory but concerned itself more with the
consequences of attention upon the configuration
of neural networked configurations during critical
period for the scripting of the brains neural plastic
potential consistent with its own logics and truth
fields. Architectural adaptations trace the story of
a static and enclosed surveillance mechanism of
the Panopticon where one, the guard, watches
many, the prisoners, to a more distributed and
open variation of the Synopticon in which many
watch a few in the age of television era in which
many are watching a few (celebrities) from their
domestic setting. Whether incarcerated in a cell or
a domestic setting both of these models require a
stabile subject. I would like to suggest that in the
last thirty years architecture and urbanism have
had to adjust to the mobile and topologic conditions
of the digital age. First as it manifests itself in folded
and later curvilinear surfaces and later on in the
new mobility of the subject in the post-Internet
digitalized domain where mobile phones, IPads,
smart glasses have made the subject an active
rather then a passive entity. Parametric and digital
architecture produced an updated model, which
I would like to call Statisticon in which dynamic
architecture morphs into a pure information
system and tracking and collation become its
newly attained political condition. Datascapes and
their interactive modum have two faces, firstly the
potential for personalized immersive and situated
environments and secondly as data collection
agencies.
NEUROPOWER AND THE STATISTICON
Neuropower plays an important role in the
Statisticon. For now let us understand that it is a
form of power that first finds its roots in a form of
power called noo-politics by Maurizio Lazzarato in
which memory and attention became the new focus
of administration in which power is manifested in
forms of distributions of sensibility. To this has been

28

added methodologies of direct neural intervention


upon the subjects neural plasticity in ways already
alluded to as well as direct interventions, resulting
from research in consumer neuroscience upon the
powers of decision making and prognistication in
the frontal lobe.30 Essential to the expression of
Neuropower over Noo-politics is what is referred
to as top-down processing. As opposed to bottomup processing in which varied stimulations inscribe
themselves on what are referred to as the primary
cortices of the brain, like visual and auditory cortex,
where the initial processing of incoming information
is begun, top-down processing refers to how this
incoming data is modulated by higher brain centers
like frontal lobe. In this way incoming information
can be deemed as important or unimportant to the
organisms future contingent activity and acted upon
to be either intensified or edited out. Indeed, there
is ample evidence that the processing of stimuli
is controlled by topdown influences that strongly
shape the intrinsic dynamics of thalamocortical
networks and constantly create predictions about
forthcoming sensory events. We discuss recent
experiments indicating that such predictions might
be embodied in the temporal structure of both
stimulus-evoked and ongoing activity, and that
synchronous oscillations are particularly important
in this process.31
In bottom-up processing the distributions of
sensibility is essential as these primary areas
are directly linked to the sensorial distributed
field, which in our consumer society is designed
to attract constituted desire. In Neuropower topdown processing is focused upon especially the
frontal cortices responsible for decision making
and prognostication.32 33 In both cases through what
are referred to as re-entrant processes specific
networks are stimulated repetitively and by highly
synchronized activity. Re-entry is defined as
the recurrent parallel exchange of neural signals
between neuronal groups or maps taking place at
many different levels of brain organization: locally
within populations of neurons, within a single brain
area, and across brain areas.
The importance of reentry as a mechanism of
neural integration has been realized.34 This type
of activity has the greatest sculpting effect on the
neuroplastic potential of the brain and as such
forms of governmentality have added this effect
of top-down processing to their armamentarium.
I would like to speculate that re-entry is an intracerebral and inter-cerebral mechanism, and when
seen in the context of extended cognition, does not
respect the skull as a boundary of its operation.
In fact in the context of dynamic process oriented
engram-exogram complexes re-entry in the
apparatus that binds the two together. In a dynamic
and mobile informationalized world the importance
of mechanisms of the dynamic neural intergration is
ever ascending.

The tracked movements are differential equations


that create maps of individuals and populations
that can be sold as information. The Statisticon
is an advanced condition of data mining, some of
which is already here and some yet to come, where
upon data mining is no longer limited to the internet
and World Wide Web, in which it is used by Google
and Facebook to track users, and this information
is sold to corporations, but is a generalized
condition of living and operating in the designed
and built space of cities. Since the advent of smart
phones apps that track corporeal function, e.g.
credit card swiping trackink shopping profiles, have
been added a) Google glasses that monitor gaze of
mobile agents and b) new kinds of smart buildings,
that create new information vistas to gaze upon
but also create environments of data tracking
and hunting. What does this mean for future of
architecture? When built space becomes a totally
interactive and monitored datascape characterized
by smart buildings, smart roads, smart transit
systems ad infinitum, data collection possibilities

will abound and the idea of crowd sourcing will


have new meaning. The perfect consumer is no
longer someone who is the perfect shopper, whose
mind now is self-regulated and constantly on the
lookout for discounts and shopping events. The
perfect consumer of the future will be a cognitive
laborer whose contemplation and the decision
making processes produce actions and thoughts
that produce data as well. Will designed software
agents, which are connected to datascapes that
produce simulated realities, produce environments
tailored to our data profiles? As such the engramexogram complexes be folded into the data scape
in which the brain-mind-environment becomes
a single interactive condition of data productionstorage-retrieval-analysis. Andy Clark in his
book Mindware intuits the implication of the early
conditions of search engines and data analysis in
the Age of Google.
Imagine that you begin using the web at age 4.
Dedicated software agents track and adapt to your
emerging interests and random explorations. They
then help direct your attention to new ideas, web
pages and products. Over the next 70 years you
and your software agents are locked in a complex
dance of coevolutionary change and learning, each
influencing and being influenced by the other. In
such a case, in a very real sense, the software
entities look less like part of your problem-solving
environment then part of you. The intelligent system
that now confronts the wider world is biologicalyou-plus-the-software-agents. These external
bundles of code are contributing rather like the
various subpersonal cognitive functions active in
your brain.38 Infinite Data Mining (IDM), a condition
I would like to suggest is the future of the extended
mind, has implications for surveillance and individual
subjection. In our moment of exogram excess
populated by all kinds of intelligent apparatuses,
soft wares programs, and intelligent wet ware of
which architecture itself is a form, cognitive assists
will be incorporated into this data intense system
both as a data producer and a data modulator.
Just as we have software agents monitoring our
on-line Google Searches, and providing us with
searches consistent with choice inspired profiles,
future data intense environments characterized
by IDM, in which users wearing devices such as
Google glasses, link up with folded and embedded
intensively activated assemblages of exograms.
Their consubstantiated sculpted analogic neural
architectures might create individualized virtual
worlds of monadic life cinemas.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

FROM THE DATASCAPE TO THE STATISTICON


Articulation is concerned with orientation and
is framing communication cognitively. Articulation is guiding movement and interaction via atmospheres, and perceptual as well as semiotic
clues.35 Articulatory architectonics is a necessary
prelude to the total quantification and intensive
datafication of the designed space and as such
is linked to an advanced condition of articulation
which is prognostication. Articulated environments
allow one to make assumptions of what paths to
follow in order to facilitate future encounters. Neuropower is concerned not with the production of
subjectivity in the present but in the creation of a
perfect consumer of the future. Articulation has
moved from proscribed architectural determinations of set pathways to promote social encounters
within space to that of proscribed contemplative
decisions of epistemic trajectories in the minds eye.
Interactive datascapes and computationally designed spaces like suggested by Winy Maas, The
Why Factory, TU Delft, also have the potential to
create an electronic tracking organism, as individuals moving in algorithmic environments, using their
smart phones, and searching in the datascapes
either with apparatuses like Google glasses or just
compressing new materials that are digitally linked
to massive external hard drives become data
generators rather then simply new forms of built
expression. Imagine a city that is described only
by data. A city that wants to be explored only as
information. A city that knows no prescribed ideology, no representation, no context. Only huge, pure
data. Overall, datascapes can also be described as
highly sophisticated 3D data-maps that resemble
or allude to urban form or landscape surfaces and
spaces. They extrapolate quantifiable data, turning
information into abstract spaces.36 37

When built
space becomes a
totally interactive
and monitored
datascape
characterized by
smart buildings,
smart roads, smart
transit systems
ad infinitum,
data collection
possibilities will
abound and the
idea of crowd
sourcing will have
new meaning.

CONCLUSION
Computational architecture does have the potential
for abuse but as Michael Hardt suggested for
affective labor operating in the global economy
the same can be said for Neuropower, on the
contrary, given the role of affective labor as one

29

Infinite Data
Mining (IDM), a
condition I would
like to suggest is
the future of the
extended mind,
has implications
for surveillance
and individual
subjection.

of the strongest links in the chain of capitalist


postmodernization, its potential for subversion
and autonomous constitution is all the more
greater.39 As I have shown in the example of Rem
Koolhaas Junkspace, and as the result of the
analysis generational divisions between digital
natives and immigrants, such as was found in the
analysis of the Egyptian Spring, architecture can
act directly upon the configurations of spacer, and
react to intensify the generational competencies
in the latter. Architecture has the potential as a
methodology of emancipation in the biopower/
neuropower networks. Architects have the potential
to create, modify the distributions of cognitive
assists and the datascapes they imply. Every new
technology presents conditions beyond its original
purposes. With the knowledge described here it
is my hope that architects will resist the negative
potentials of computational architecture while at the
same time embrace its positive possibilities.

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES


1. Cognitive Architecture. From Biopolitics to Noopolitics, ed. by Deborah Hauptmann, Warren Neidich, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2010.
2. The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism,
Part 1, ed. by Arne Deboever, Warren Neidich, Berlin: Archive Press, 2011.
3. Michael Hays, Alecia Kennedy, After All, or the
End of The End of, Assemblage, 41, Cambridge:
MIT Press, 2000.
4. Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Durham: Duke University Press, 1991, p.38.
5. Stan Allen, Field Conditions, in Constructing
a New Agenda, Architectural Theory 1993-2009,
ed. by A. Krista Sykes, NY: Princeton Architectural
Press, 2010, p.119.
6. Ibid., p.131.
7. Warren Neidich, Neuropower is Resistance
Fertile, in Foucault Biopolitics and Governmentality, ed. by Jakob Nilsson, Sven-Olov Wallenstein,
Sdertrn, Pilosophical Studies, Flemingsberg:
Sdertn University, 2013, pp.133-144.
8. Jean-Pierre Changeux, The Neuronal Man, NY:
Princeton University Press,1985, pp.205-249.
9. S. Dehaene, J. R. Duhamel, M. Hauser & G. Rizzolatti, From Monkey Brain to Human Brain, Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2004.
10. Gerald Edelman, The Remembered Present,
New York: Basic Books, 1989, p.49. Signaling

30

in either a phasic or a continuous fashion across


reentrantly connected maps permits temporal
correlation of the various selections that occur
among neuronal groups within these maps. These
correlations are driven initially by the signals
arriving at primary cortical receiving areas from
stimulus objects (in the world, my words) at a given
time and place; selections in all higher-order maps
related to the presence of an object are correlated
through reentry with these primary areas.
11. Sanford Kwinter, Mach 1 (and other Mystic Variations), in Constructing a New Agenda, Architectural Theory 1993-2009, ed. by A. Krista Sykes, New
York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010, p.81.
12. Lambros Malafouris, How Things Shape the
Mind, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013, pp.37-38
13. Lambros Malafouris, Neuroarchaeology: exploring the links between neural and cultural plasticity, Prog Brain Res. 2009, 178:253-61.
14. Merlin Donald, How Culture and the Brain
Mechanisms Interact in Decision Making, in Better Than Conscious? Decision Making, the Human Mind, and Implications for Institutions, ed. by
Christoph Engel, Wolf Singer, Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 2008, p.195.
15 Merlin Donald, The Exographic Revolution:
Neuropsychologial Sequelae, in The Cognitive Life
of Things: Recasting the Boundaries of the Mind,
ed. by L. Malafouris, C. Renfrew, Cambridge, UK:
McDonald Institute Monographs, 2010, pp.71-

produced a whole of slew psychopathologies like


Attention Deficit Disorder, Insomnia, Panic Attacks
and free floating anxiety.
29. Ibid., Warren Neidich, pp.219-268. As I argued
this transition from the disciplinary society to the
society of control was related to, on one hand, the
crisis of the architecture of enclosure resulting from
extensive bombing as well as the rise of new technologies of communication like the telegraph, radio,
and film early on and television, later, that did not
respect physical boundaries of space.
30. Ibid., Tiziana Terranova, Ordinary Psychopathologies of CognitiveCapitalism, pp.45-69.
31. Andreas K. Engel, Pascal Fries, Wolf Singer,
Dynamic Predictions: Oscillations and Predictions
in Top-Down Processing, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol. 2, October 2001, DOI: 10.1038/35094565
, p.704.
32. Michael Platt, Camillo Padoa-Schioppa, Neuronal Representations of Value, in Neuroeconomics; Decision Making and the Brain, ed. by Paul W.
Glimcher, Colin F. Camerer, Ernst Fehr and Russel A. Poldrack, London: Academic Press, 2009,
p.442.
33. Michael Platt, Neuronal Correlates of Decision
Making in Better Than Conscious? Decision Making, the Human Mind, and Implications for Institutions, ed. by Christoph Engel and Wolf Singer, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008, p.125.
34. Giulio Tononi, Reentry and Cortical Integration,
in Selectionsim in the Brain, ed. by Olaf Sporns and
Giulio Tononi, San Diego: Academic Press, 1994,
p.129.
35. Ibid.
36. http://www.unlvddc.org/mapping-invisibles
[accessed 12 September 2013]
37. In NASAs new Sustainability Base wireless sensors will measure CO2 levels, temperature, lighting
and air flow as well as turn the heat on when it gets
cold. Motionloft storefront analytic systems are
extending web analytics originally used to monitor
how long a visitor stays on a website to real world
applications via sensor systems, machine learning
and image recognition technologies that enable
building owners and store managers to better understand pedestrian and vehicular activity patterns
during the day. In each of the above cases digital
interactivity processed through the datascape produces effects that are monitoring real life situations.
We know from the recent events occurring at the
National Security Agency that the abuse of data is
something that will and does happen. In each of the
above cases especially the last case the fine line
between interactivity and data collection and data
mining is thin. Smart buildings and environment will
soon be machinic assemblages of data collection.
38. Andy Clark, Mindware, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 115.
39. Michael Hardt, Affective Labor in Boundary 2,
Durham: Duke University Press, 1999, pp. 89-100.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

79. http://psycwww.wp.queensu.ca/MerlinDonald/
Publications/01_Exographic.Rev.2010.pdf
[accessed September 2013].
16. Ibid., p72.
17. Clark, A., Chalmers, D., The Extended Mind,
Analysis, 58, 1998, pp.7-19.
18. Lambros Malafouris, C. Renfrow, The Cognitive Life of Things: Archeology, Material Engagement and the Extended Mind, in The Cognitive Life
of Things: Recasting the Boundaries of the Mind,
Cambridge, UK: McDonald Institute of Monographs 6, 2010.
19. Ibid.
20. John Sutton, Material Agency, Skills and History: Distributed Cognition and the Archeology
of Memory, in Material Agency, Towards a NonAnthropocentric Approach, ed. by C. Knappet, L.
Malafouris, New York: Springer, 2008, pp.37-55.
21. Lambros Malafouris, The brain-artefact interface (BAI): a challenge for archeology and cultural
neuroscience, Social Cognitive Affective Neurosciences, Volume 5, 2010, p.265.
22. Ibid., p.26. These sort of bidirectional dynamic
coalitions that lie at the heart of BAIs can take
many forms (eg. hard assembled (stable) /soft
assembled (reconfigurable) epistemic/pragmatic,
invasive/non-invasive, representational performative, transparent/non-transparent, constitutive/instrumental, etc.) and can be empirically observed
through diverse examples ranging from the early
stone tools to the more recent symbolic technologies such as calendars, writing, and numerals as
well as pencils, and papes. One could add that
brain machine interfaces (BMIs) that make now
possible for a monkey or human to operate remote
devices directly via neural activity.
23. Warren Neidich, Blow-up: Photography, Cinema and the Brain, NY DAP and the University of
California, Riverside, 2002, p.22.
24. Rem Koolhaas, Junkspace, in Constructing
a New Agenda, Architectural Theory, 1993-2009,
ed. by A. Krista Sykes, NY: Princeton Architectural
Press, 2010, p.137.
25. Ibid., p.140.
26. Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters
on the Concept of Sovereignity [1922], trans. by
George D. Schwab, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
27. Franco Berardi,The Soul at Work, From Alienation to Autonomy, trans. by Francesca Cadel and
Guiseppina Mecchia, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
2009.
28. Arne Deboever, Warren Neidich, The Psychopathologies of Cogntive Capitalism, Part 1, Berlin:
Archive Books, 2013. There has been a cognitive
turn in cognitive capitalism in which the software
and hardware of the brain and its neural plasticity have become its new focus producing normalized subjects and perfect consumer/ workers. The
shift has not been without its tragic side as it has

31

32

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

MACHINIC PROCESSES
Neil Leach, USC
What are we to understand by the term machinic?
For sure it does not refer simply to the machine in
the sense of the mechanical, understood within a
positivistic framework to signify the world of engineering. Of course, in the context of an exhibition of digital fabrication it does include the use of
mechanical processes of production. But it is not
reducible to them.
The term machinic processes is a reference to the
work of the French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze,
and his collaborator, the French psychoanalytic
theorist, Flix Guattari. Deleuze and Guattari use
the term machine in a quite unique way. Philip
Goodchild defines the machine in Deleuze and
Guattari, as an assemblage of parts that works and
produces.1 The machine is anything that operates,
and is conditioned by material flows. The machine
therefore extends beyond any earlier distinction
between the mechanical and the organic, to include
both domains. In other words, human beings
could also be described as machines. As John
Marks observes, Everything is a machine, and
everywhere there is production. For Deleuze and
Guattari, the machine is not a metaphor; reality is

literally machinic. The concept of the machinic is set


against the traditional opposition between vitalism
and mechanism. . . In short, there is no difference
between categories of living and the machine.2
Most importantly for Deleuze and Guattari the
machinic is associated with desire: A direct link
is perceived between the machine and desire,
the machine passes into the heart of desire, the
machine is desiring and desired, machined.3 They
see desire as a process: Desire is not form, but
a procedure, a process.4 Moreover, in opposition
to those who subscribe to the logic of Lacanian
psychoanalysis and see desire as an imaginary
impulse based on absence or lack, they see it is
as a positive, productive force based on reality. By
machinic process we should therefore understand
a positive, creative process that inscribes human
beings within a logic of desire. There is, however, a
genealogy to the concept of the desiring machine
in the work of Deleuze and Guattari. Owing partly
to the persistent confusion that the term desiring
machines seemed to generate, eventually Deleuze
and Guattari replaced it with the term, assemblage.
An assemblage depends on the capacity or

The machine
therefore extends
beyond any earlier
distinction between
the mechanical
and the organic,
to include both
domains. In other
words, human
beings could also
be described as
machines

By machinic
process we should
therefore understand
a positive, creative
process that
inscribes human
beings within a
logic of desire.

33

An assemblage
could be defined
as a loose affiliation of individual
components that
have come together
to form a single
body but a body
that is never stable
or unified.

For Deleuze and


Guattari, the
machinic phylum
is matter in flux, in
variation, and both
simultaneously.

34

capability of an element to form assemblages with


other elements, whether organic or inorganic, but
is not reducible to them. A good example of an
assemblage would therefore be the relationship
formed between an animal and the ground on
which it is walking, constrained as it is by the forces
of gravity.5
The notion of assemblage remains connected with
the machine, as in the machinic assemblage.6 In
fact the full name for an assemblage is a machinic
assemblage of desire. As Deleuze and Guattari
write: All we know are assemblages. And the only
assemblages are machinic assemblages of desire
and collective assemblages of enunciation. . . An
assemblage establishes connections between
certain multiplicities.7 Indeed desire does not exist
outside of an assemblage: There is no desire but
assembling, assembled desire.8
An assemblage could be defined as a loose
affiliation of individual components that have
come together to form a single body but a body
that is never stable or unified. An assemblage is
a collection of things brought together in a single
context, yet a collection that resists stratification.
It functions, as Ansell Pearson observes, as an
acentred multiplicity that is subjected to continuous
movement and variation.9 Importantly, it makes
connections and relationships; it forms a symbiosis
or sympathy: What is an assemblage? It is a
multiplicity that assumes many heterogeneous
terms and which establishes connections, relations
among them, passing through different ages,
sexes, species - natures. Thus, the only unit of
an assemblage is that of co-functioning: it is a
symbiosis, a sympathy. What is important, there are
never the filiations, but the alliances and mixtures;

not the heredities, the genealogic lineages, but the


contagions, the epidemics, the wind.10 Another
related term in Deleuze and Guattari that echoes
the logic of assemblage and is connected with the
machinic is the phylum, as in machinic phylum.11
For Deleuze and Guattari, the machinic phylum is
matter in flux, in variation, and both simultaneously;
it is matter as a conveyor of singularities.12 The
machinic phylum refers to the potentiality for matter
in the universe to cooperate, once it meets a certain
critical threshold. An example would be the capacity
of termites in a colony to collaborate on the building
of a nest. Matter should be understood here within
the logic of morphogenesis, with a tendency for
self-organization. According to Manuel DeLanda,
the term machinic phylum can refer both to
processes of self-organization in general and to the
particular assemblages in which the power of these
processes may be integrated. In one sense, the
term refers to any population (of atoms, molecules,
cells, insects) whose global dynamics are governed
by singularities (bifurcations and attractors); in
another sense, it refers to the integration of a
collection of elements into an assemblage that
is more than the sum of its parts, that is, one
that displays global properties not possessed
by its individual components.13 What becomes
clear is that the key theme uniting these terms is
connectivity. For Deleuze himself is ultimately a
thinker of connectivities. As Deleuze comments,
Strictly speaking, what makes a machine are
connections.14 Ultimately then machinic processes
refer to systems or relationships. If then instead of
the mechanical per se - we speak of mechanisms
of social relationships, we will get closer to Deleuze
and Guattaris intentions behind the term. It is

Deleuze and Guattari illustrate the rhizome with


the interaction between a wasp and an orchid. The
example is a familiar enough one of an insect
being attracted to a plant, and thereby serving to
cross-pollinate that plant.17 The wasp is of course
being housed by the orchid, thereby giving the
description a certain architectural relevance. But
what interests Deleuze and Guattari most of all
is the interaction between wasp and orchid. The
orchid has developed attributes that attract the
wasp, but so too the wasp has developed a pattern
of behavior that serves the orchid. As Deleuze and
Guattari observe, wasp and orchid enter into a
mutual reciprocity, such that the wasp has adapted
to the orchid, no less than the orchid has adapted
to the wasp. Deleuze and Guattari refer to this as
a form of mutual becoming. The wasp becomes
like the orchid, and the orchid becomes like the
wasp, or more precisely the wasp has evolved
in response to the orchid, just as the orchid has
evolved in response to the wasp.
Importantly, for Deleuze and Guattari, we must
perceive both wasp and orchid in terms of a
multiplicity. As Greg Lynn explains: The multiple
orchids and wasps unify to form a singular body.
This propagating unity is not an enclosed whole,
but a multiplicity: the wasps and orchids are
simultaneously one and many bodies. What is
important is that there is not a pre-existing collective
body that was displaced by this parasitic exchange
of sexual desire but rather a new stable body is
composed from the intricate connections of these
previously disparate bodies. Difference is in the
service of a fusional multiplicity that produces new

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

perhaps the related concept of the rhizome that


we can best understand the logic of connectivity
that informs Deleuzes philosophy. The rhizome is
a conceptual tool that is taken from the biological
model of the rhizome as a root system that spreads
endlessly not according to an arborescent model
with vertical and linear connections, but with
horizontal and trans-species connections. Grass
would be an example of a plant that exhibits
rhizomatic behavior in its capacity to spread.
Another example would be felt as a matted mass of
discontinuous non-hierarchical fibers compressed
into a single mass, in opposition to a woven fabric
that is hierarchical and controlled.
The rhizome has to be understood as different to
the organism, which always threatens to become
totalizing, molar and stratified in its organization.
Instead of the organism Deleuze and Guattari
celebrate what they call the body without organs.
Ansell Pearson describes the term as follows:
The body without organs refers to the body of
the energies and becomings of the earth that gets
permeated by matters which are highly unformed
and instable, characterized by free-moving flows,
free intensities and nomadic singularities.15 The
problem of bodies with organs are not the organs
as such, so much as their organization within an
organism. One way to think of the body without
organs is as a form of crowd or swarm: A body
without organs. . . is distributed according to crowd
phenomena, in Brownian motion. . . [It] is a body
populated by multiplicities. 16
What makes the rhizome so suggestive is that it is
always relational. It has to do with an interaction.

The rhizome has


to be understood
as different to the
organism, which
always threatens to
become totalizing,
molar and stratified
in its organization.

more precisely the


wasp has evolved
in response to the
orchid, just as the
orchid has evolved
in response to the
wasp.

35

But it should be
stressed that
the rhizome is
not a form of
representation.
The rhizome steps
beyond the limits of
representation.

When we speak
of desiring
machines, then,
the key question
is the connectivity
afforded by those
machines.

36

stable bodies through incorporations that remain


open to further influence by other external forces. 18
Deleuze and Guattari describe this process
as forming a rhizome: Wasp and orchid, as
heterogeneous elements, form a rhizome.19
The logic of the rhizome should be distinguished
from that of the tree. As John Marks explains:
The model of the tree is hierarchical and
centralised, whereas the rhizome is proliferating
and serial, functioning by means of the principles
of connection and heterogeneity. . . The rhizome
is a multiplicity.20 Central to the concept of the
rhizome is the principle of becoming, of forming a
relationship with the other, as in the case of wasp
and orchid, where the one deterritorializes the
other: The wisdom of plants: even when they have
roots, there is always an outside where they form a
rhizome with something else with the wind, an
animal, human beings (and there is also an aspect
under which animals themselves form rhizomes, as
do people, etc).21
The classic example of the rhizome is perhaps the
book. The rhizome achieves a sense of becoming.
It effects a form of correspondence between the
self and the other. But it should be stressed that
the rhizome is not a form of representation. The
rhizome steps beyond the limits of representation.
Writing, for example, does not represent the world.
It forms a rhizome with it: The same applies to the

book and the world: contrary to a deeply rooted


belief, the book is not an image of the world. It
forms a rhizome with the world, there is an aparallel
evolution of the book and the world; the book
assures the deterritorialization of the world, and the
world assures the reterritorialization of the book,
which in turn deterritorializes itself in the world (if it
is capable, if it can).22
When we speak of desiring machines, then, the
key question is the connectivity afforded by those
machines. Even if they are mechanical machines,
their purpose is to connect. They form a rhizome
with the world a symbiosis, a symphony. Moreover,
the nature of this connectivity is dynamic. It is based
on free flows and nomadic intensities. But, above
all, machines can be seen as the conduits of desire,
where desire is construed as a positive, creative
act.
MACHINING ARCHITECTURE
Deleuze and Guattari refer to machines in terms
of abstract machines, and connect them with the
concept of the diagram: An abstract machine in
itself is not physical or corporeal, any more than it
is semiotic; it is diagrammatic (it knows nothing of
the distinctions between the artificial and the natural
either). It operates by matter, not by substance; by
function, not by form. . . The abstract machine is
pure Matter-Function a diagram independent of

the form and substances, expressions and content


it will distribute.23 This opens up the obvious
possibility of connecting the notion of the machine
in the work of Deleuze and Guattari to architecture
through the use of the diagram. Importantly here
the diagram should be understood not in the literal
sense of a sketch that represents what is already
existing. As Deleuze and Guattari comment:
The diagrammatic or abstract machine does not
function to represent, even something real, but
rather constructs a real that is yet to come, a new
type of reality.24 We must therefore understand the
diagram as an entity that operates within the realm
of the virtual (i.e. that which has not been realized),
and that has the potential to actualize the virtual
within the realm of the material. Furthermore, the
concept seems to imply the potential for processes
of autopoesis or self-organization. Deleuze refers
to the diagram or abstract machine as the map
of relations between forces, a map of destiny,
or intensity, which. . . acts as a non-unifying
immanent cause which is co-extensive with the
whole social field. The abstract machine is like the
cause of the concrete assemblages that execute its
relations; and these relations take place not above
but within the very tissue of the assemblages they
produce. 25
In his book, Machining Architecture, Lars
Spuybroek has taken the notion of the machinic

and applied it to the world of architectural design.24


Here Spuybroek outlines a process of design that
depends upon selecting a system, and from that
developing a machine that will generate some form
of architectural morphology:
a. We need to select a system and create a configuration for the machine based on this selection
b. We need to mobilize the elements and relations
in that system
c. We need a phase of consolidation to finally have
the system
d. Result into an architectural morphology.27
The machine therefore serves as some form of
diagram. It is based on analysis. This analysis
produces information, and then the machine has to
operate as a way of processing this information in
order to generate a design.
The design then operates as a formation that is
literally formed machinically by the processing
of that information: In short, for self-generative
design techniques we need empirical (since it
all happens within the real) research of alreadyexisting forms, then we need to construct bodyplans out of this research through analysis,
then these machines need to be able to process
information (or difference) through a mobilization
of its topologically connected components, then

As Deleuze and
Guattari comment:
The diagrammatic
or abstract machine
does not function
to represent, even
something real, but
rather constructs a
real that is yet to
come, a new type of
reality.

The design then


operates as a formation that is literally
formed machinically
by the processing of
that information.

37

these need to be able to consolidate and take on a


form, first as a design and then as a real building.28
If, however, we understand the world itself as
consisting of machines, we can see that the notion
of the machine can operate at three different
levels. First, some aspect of the material world
an initial machine - is selected and analyzed to
provide information that is subsequently processed
through a second machine a design machine to produce a design that is eventually realized in a
third machine - a building machine.
But the problem,
perhaps, is that
the comment has
been judged at
face value. It has
been supposed that
the house for Le
Corbusier should be
mechanical in the
literal sense.

Just as science
can be viewed
through the lens
of science fiction,
so the mechanical
can be understood
in terms of a
somewhat romantic,
mechanical fictions.

we should not
overlook the role of
design in facilitating
the absorption of
the technological
within human
consciousness.

38

A MACHINE TO LIVE IN

This opens up an interesting connection with the


famous comment of Le Corbusier, The house
is a machine to live in. For many this comment
exposes the poverty of Modernist architecture
where functionalism is promoted over concerns for
human existence. But the problem, perhaps, is that
the comment has been judged at face value. It has
been supposed that the house for Le Corbusier
should be mechanical in the literal sense. If,
however, we rethink the notion of the machine not
within a positivistic discourse of the mechanical,
but as a desiring machine, as an object, in other
words, that engenders and promotes desire,
we can reassess Le Corbusiers comment. The
house, for Le Corbusier, should be a machine that
channels the flow of desire.29
But even if we understand the machine to live in the
literal sense of the mechanical, there is still another
reading possible. Le Corbusier, of course, could
never have read the philosophy of Deleuze and
Guattari. Indeed it is questionable whether he read
any philosophy in great depth. But he was certainly
involved heavily in artistic circles. If we look at
the treatment of the machine in Surrealism as,
for example, in the bachelor machine of Marcel
Duchamp - there is another reading to be found,
one that sees the machine not as antithetical to
human existence, but deeply embedded in it, and
inscribed, moreover, within the very realm of fantasy
that constitutes the human imagination.30 We might
even talk then of the mechanical in almost fantasy
terms. Just as science can be viewed through
the lens of science fiction, so the mechanical can
be understood in terms of a somewhat romantic,
mechanical fictions. Whatever Le Corbusier might
have intended by his notion of the house as a
machine to live in, it is quite clear that the house
of today is deeply reliant upon the technological
from the televisions, videos and sound systems
in the living room to the refrigerators, micro wave
cookers and dishwashers in the kitchen. Moreover
it is clear that we human beings have begun to treat
technological items our computers, cellphones
or other personal devices as extensions of our
bodily operations, so that, just as when we drive a
car, and are barely aware of the actual operations
of driving braking, steering, changing gear and so

on these devices have become absorbed within


our unconscious, and have become prostheses
of our own existence. Indeed the assumption
has been made by cybertheorists such as Donna
Haraway that the interface between the human and
the non-human is being eroded, as increasingly
the technological colonizes the space of our
imagination.31
As a result we are developing increasingly into a
mutant generation of cyborgs with a form of hybrid
human-technological identity. It is as though the
technological has been not only been embraced
as a prosthesis to human operations, but also
absorbed into our very consciousness. We should
therefore be suspicious of the discourse of those
such as Martin Heidegger, who see technology
as alienating, and who fail to take account of the
capacity of human beings to absorb the new
including the technological into their horizon of
consciousness.32 What is most important, however,
is that we should not overlook the role of design
in facilitating the absorption of the technological
within human consciousness. For it is precisely
design that facilitates the connectivity that lies at
the heart of machinic processes, and lubricates the
processes themselves. And it is design that fosters
the sensuous correspondence with the world,
that flares up at that vital moment of assimilation
afforded through aesthetic expression.33
This article is illustrated with two projects,
Hyperzoic Vesica by Philip Beesley and Alloplastic
Architecture by Behnaz Farahi. From the evidence
of these two projects we can now detect a crucial
shift in the treatment of digital techniques. It was
not so long ago when attention was focused almost
exclusively on the techniques themselves. Such
was their novelty that they had become objects
of fascination. It would seem that we have now
transcended this fascination, and entered into a
new paradigm where technique has been enthused
with a sensuousness never seen before. Not only
do these projects challenge the all too common
assumption that technology is antithetical to the
human condition, but they also provide eloquent
demonstration of the capacity of design to improve
the human condition and to connect us with the
lifeworld.

1. Philip Goodchild, Deleuze and Guattari, An


Introduction to the Politics of Desires, London:
Sage, 1996, p.218.
2. John Marks, Gilles Deleuze, Vitalism and Multiplicity, London: Pluto, 1998, p.98.
3. Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism
and Schizophrenia, Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 1983, p.285.
4. Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Towards a Minor
Literature, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Press, 1986, p.8.
5. See Manuel DeLanda, Intensive Science and
Virtual Philosophy, London: Continuum, 2002,
p.72.
6. For a more detailed discussion of assemblage
see: Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka, pp.81-90. I am
grateful to Dana Vais for her advice on this subject.
7. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus:
Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987, pp.22-23.
8. Ibid., p.399.
9. Keith Ansell Pearson, Germinal Life, London:
Routledge, 1999, p.156.
10. Gilles Deleuze, Claire Parnet, Dialogues, Paris:
Flammarion, 1977, p.84
11. For a discussion of the machinic phylum and
its relationship to urbanism, see Peter Trummer,
Morphogenetic Urbanism, Digital Cities, AD, vol.
79, issue 4, September 2009, pp.64-67.
12. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus,
p.409.
13. Manuel DeLanda, War in the Age of Intelligent
Machines, New York: Zone, 1991, p.20. The idea
that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
seems to echo to the principle of emergence.
14. Deleuze, Kafka, as quoted in Rajchman, The
Deleuzian Connections, Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 2000, p.7.
15. Keith Ansell Pearson, Germinal Life, p.153.
16. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus,
p.30.
17. Deleuze and Guattari appear to be referring to
the digger wasp (Gorytes mystaceus and Gorytes
campestris) and fly orchid (Ophrys insectifera). It
is curious that they do not refer to the particular
sexual nature of this relationship. Usually an insect
is attracted to a flower by the promise of nectar.
Here, however, the sole attraction for the wasp is
the potential of copulation. The orchid looks and
smells like a female wasp. It attracts the male
wasp, whose excited behaviour serves to dislodge
pollen from the plant on to the back of the wasp,
which then transfers it to another orchid as it
seeks gratification elsewhere. Biologists refer to
this process as one of pseudocopulation. See
Friedrich Barth, Insects and Flowers, trans. MA
Biederman-Thorson, George Allen and Unwin,
London, 1985, pp.185192.

18. Greg Lynn, Folds, Bodies and Blobs, Brussels:


La Lettre Vole, 1999, p. 139.
19. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus,
p.10. Deleuze and Guattaris opposition to
signification is an integral part of their theoretical
position. Signification subscribes to the discourse
of binary oppositions. Moreover, it belongs to the
realm of representation rather than process, and
can therefore never account for the complexity of
the rhizome.
20. John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and
Multiplicity, London: Pluto, 1998, p.45.
21. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus,
p. 11.
22. ibid.
23. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus,
London: Athlone, 1988, p.141.
24. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus,
p.142.
25. Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988, p.37.
26. Lars Spuybroek, Machining Architecture,
London: Thames and Hudson, 2004.
27. Ibid., p.9.
28. Ibid., p.10.
29. Perhaps in Le Corbusier we could even see
that sense of desire sublimated or masked within
the realm of the mathematical - the logic of sensed
mathematics.
30. Among others Francois Roche is deeply
influenced by the bachelor machine, and his
selection of Architects works for ABB2010
Machinic Processes reflect this influence.
31. Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science,
Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late
Twentieth Century, in Cyborgs and Women: The
Reinvention of Nature, ed. by Simian, New York:
Routledge, 1991, pp.149-181.
32. For a critique of Heideggers approach to
technology, see Neil Leach, Forget Heidegger in
Designing for A Digital World, ed. by Neil Leach,
London: Wiley, 2002. Clearly, we need to include
human beings within the category of machinic in
order to understand the complex relationships
that structure human existence. As Flix Guattari
comments on the subject of technology: Far from
apprehending a univocal truth of Being through
techn, as Heideggerian ontology would have
it, it is a plurality of beings as machines that give
themselves to us once we acquire the pathic or
cartographic means of access to them. Flix
Guattari, Machinic Heterogenesis in Rethinking
Technologies, ed. by Verena Andermatt Conley,
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993,
p.26.
33. On the potential for design to foster a sense
of sensuous correspondence, see Neil Leach,
Camouflage, Camb., MA.: MIT, 2006.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

39

40

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.32: Philip Beesley, Hyperzoic Vesica, Installation,


Wellington, New Zealand, 2012.
pp.34-35: Behnaz Farahi, supervised by Alvin
Huang, Neil Leach and Michael Fox, Alloplastic
Architecture, USC, 2012. A dancer dances with
an installation consisting of a dynamic tensegrity
structure whose movement is actuated by Shape
Memory Alloy springs controlled by an Arduino
control board. The structure is itself able to move in
response to the dancer whose movement is tracked
through the use of Kinect motion capture device.
The structure thereby helps to overcome the
alienation of the environment through technological
means, thereby challenging the once popular
Heideggerian view that technology is itself the
source of alienation.
pp.36, 37, 38-39: Philip Beesley, Hyperzoic Vesica,
Installation, Wellington, New Zealand, 2012.

41

42

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

THE FUTURE ARCHITECT


AS ENTREPRENEUR
Gill Wildman, Plotlondon
Among recent college grads in the US,
architecture majors by far have the highest
unemployment rate at 13.9%. Thats according
to a new report from the Georgetown Center
on Education and the Workforce.1 These
are difficult times for architectural graduates,
indeed, creating conditions, that challenge not
just the architectural profession in itself, but also
how our graduates creatively extend the field
and deal with the situation. Take an underpaid
job? Or fill shelves while they wait out the
recession? My question is - can they afford to
wait that long? Or, could they create their own
jobs, through a more entrepreneurial approach
in addition to the traditional architectural
consultancy model? There are precedents: Matt
Jones at Berg London; Nina Marie Barbuto at
Assemble and I Made it Market in Pittsburgh;
or Lori Cheek at Cheekd NYC. All had to step
outside of the established path, and mark their
own territories. They point to alternative ways of
being successful. There is a new set of forces on

contemporary architects that previous generations


and current educators have not encountered nor
experienced. Digital methods of design became
the norm. The Internet affords sharing and
collaboration across projects and time-zones.
New tools and services for creating and managing
businesses give us ways of connecting production
to distribution. Ponoko, a platform, online factory
and distributor for product designers, makers,
and DIYers reinvented the traditional design,
manufacturing, delivering process with what they
call the worlds easiest making system,2 using
laser-cuts from locations around the world. Different
kinds of fabrication and prototyping lie within reach
in the form of new robotic tools for cutting, welding,
foaming, creating a whole new set of affordances.
But with ease of duplication come new challenges.
Examples of building information models on Pirate
Bay and Zaha Hadids Wangjing SOHO come
to mind.3 In a recent article, Foster + Partners
explores the possibilities of 3D printing buildings on
the moon using lunar soil. This generation shows

Or, could they


create their own
jobs, through a
more entrepreneurial
approach in
addition to
the traditional
architectural
consultancy model?

This generation
shows signs of
wanting to do more
than simply work for
a consultancy.

43

This is not about


replacing traditional
architectural
practice, nor
ignoring the
professional
experience needed
to practice, but
extending what new
architects could do.

44

signs of wanting to do more than simply work for a


consultancy. At Carnegie Mellon University, School
of Architecture we are seeing forays into new
materials and fabricating; new ways of animating
space with speculations on shared living; design for
the other 99%; and thoughts on sustainable spaces
that delightfully combine conservation, conjecture,
and tourism. Others explore infrastructure solutions
for the crisis-stricken.
All of these are directions by which architecture
moves beyond the design of built form. The
potential for making a successful living derived from
any of these new directions is huge, yet the means
by which to get there is not yet encouraged, taught
nor articulated as a new choice within Architecture.
In the meantime, other design disciplines are
developing the attitudes, skills and behaviors
to become entrepreneurs as well as designers.
Where else but in a conference exploring the edges
of computational architecture could we embed a
workshop about these new kinds of opportunities
for architects? This is not about replacing traditional
architectural practice, nor ignoring the professional
experience needed to practice, but extending what
new architects could do. Which is not necessarily
about waiting for the right consultancy slot, but
actively creating new opportunities. During the

workshop The Future Architect and Entrepreneur,


held during the conference [En]Coding Architecture
2013 at CMU, we explored the work that workshop
participants - students and practitioners - had
done over the past three years. We were looking
for examples of anything that they had designed or
researched that had opportunistic potential. These
could derive from designed systems, or particular
components, or new materials they developed, or
old materials used in new ways, or new processes
they had developed for working or communicating
ideas.
Who might want these?
What would they be for?
What would they do?
What kinds of opportunities show up?
In our workshop, three very early example ideas
for businesses emerged: recyclable shoe services;
new forms of rapid prototyped food products; and
a new process for working together. Traditionally,
Architects know how to design it, how to make it,
how to get it made in multiples, and how to scale
it. Now they can explore how to get it to the people
who want it and get them to pay for it, taking their
systems, their processes, their components and
putting them into a market, or even designing a
whole new market.

WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS

Laurene Vaughan, Pierpaolo Ruttico, Aaron


Wilette, Dana Cupkova, Dale Clifford, Robert
Trumbour, and others.

PHOTOGRAPHS
And this is about moving ideas on and outside
of the traditional architect-as-consultant model.
Its not for everyone - nor should every idea
become a business and it takes a huge change
in self-perception from being in service to being
an author. It takes self-belief, strong support and
the right kinds of entrepreneurial skills. These
can be learned, and improved upon. So should
we start to think about architects thinking and
acting entrepreneurially as well as working in
consultancies? Definitely.
I think what were going to see is this generation,
in the next 10 years, at the helm of the biggest,
brightest and most successful companies weve
ever seen.1

Photographs were taken during the workshop The


Future Architect as Entrepreneur run by with Gill
Wildman Gill Wildman at [En]Coding Architecture
2013.

CITATIONS / REFERENCES /NOTES

1. Gen Y: The Startup Generation? Posted on September 1, 2011 by Larry Smalheiser in Entrepreneurs By Matt Torres of TriNets Public Relations
team, Trainer Communications 2. Annalyn Censky
CNN Money January 4, 2012.
2. Zaha Hadid vs. the Pirates: Copycat Architects
in China Take Aimat the Stars, Kevin Holden Platt,
Spiegel Online December 28, 2012.
3. http://www.fosterandpartners.com/news/foster+-partners-works-with-european-space-agencyto-3d-print-structures-on-the-moon/

45

46

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

RHYTHM AS CODE
MONAD Studio I Eric Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg
Rhythmic Code highlights the role of computation
as catalyst for a new spatial sensibility related to
the codification of rhythmic perception. It proposes
a novel understanding of architecture based on the
capacity of digital design to supersede its normative
instrumental role, demonstrating the potential to
engage in deeper, critical issues of the discipline
and to invigorate/shake a discourse of part-towhole relationships through the lens of rhythmic
affect. Pulsation introduces the fundamental
animate capacity of spatial organizations and
critically reshapes the character of our perception
across multiple scales of a project, codifying digital
inception and craft through fabrication.

THE SINGULARITIES OF RHYTHMICS AFFECT

According to Lyotard in any given rhythm, the


condition for repetition - formal identity and

regularity - must somehow be vested in a matrix


object whose aim is to collapse such regularities and
smash such identities in its own drive toward bad
form. The beat itself, composed of both extinction
and repetition, is the form of this bad form. It is
the violence lying in wait for form, as it is the form
of violence. Within high art, form is constructed
so as to ward off the violence of this beat, to
achieve the permanence of the configuration, its
imperviousness to assault. It is, on the contrary,
through the lowest and most vulgar cultural forms
that the visual is daily invaded by the pulsatile: the
blinking lights of neon signs; the flip books through
which the visual inert is propelled into the suggestive
obscene; the strobe effects of pinball machines and
video games and all of this undergirded by the
insistent beat of rock music surging through the
car stereos or leaking voicelessly through portable

Pulsation situates
the discussion
of architecture
practices that make
extensive use of
the fundamental
operational
capacity of digital
design to unveil
affective-perceptual
qualities of space by
means of rhythmic
articulation.

47

Baroque architecture
and the Art
Nouveau are only
part of an extensive
lineage of a
sensible knowledge
infused by sensual
overtones and
spatial innuendo.

Rhythm (that is,


architecture) inhabits
thought like a matrix
prerequisite to all
thought.

48

headsets.1 Pulsation situates the discussion of


architecture practices that make extensive use
of the fundamental operational capacity of digital
design to unveil affect-perceptual qualities of
space by the management of rhythmic articulation.
There is a paradigm shift in spatial perception due
to the intense use of computational techniques
in architecture and the capacity to process and
manipulate massive amounts of data, whereby
rhythm is now perceived as playing an active role in
the formation of space and the tectonic articulation,
claiming the foreground figural field and not just
merely embedded or indexed in the structure. The
pulsating activity that results from intense digital
design is not just revealed through structural or
programmatic constraints but is now taking a much
more important presence in the articulation of the
topology and internal differentiation of buildings,
creating patterns that operate to transition the
diverse scales of representation; reinvigorating the
capacity of emergent ornament to provide character
and induce moods, ambiance and atmosphere
through the modified, re-tuned lens of swerving
perception and affective alliances. A close reading
of digitally-driven, contemporary design reveals
sensations oozing from pulsating rhythms in the
articulation of surfaces in architecture, energized
by the beat surging from an increased awareness
of detail within a sensibility of topological tectonics;
rhythmic effects accentuate the afterimage of
detailed ornament as a trace, an index of activity
registered upon architectural membranes which
codify spatial transformation and difference.
Baroque architecture and the Art Nouveau are
only part of an extensive lineage of a sensible
knowledge infused by sensual overtones and
spatial innuendo, requiring a cyclical readjustment
to situate a drifting paradigm of perception.

A THROBBING CODE OF SENSUAL


PERCEPTION

Given its lineage of motion-based spatial paradigms,


Pulsation creates an awareness of sensual
perception related to movement, an enigmatic
relationship between space and eroticism, not
unlike the obscure relationship between philosophy
and sex. In sex can be found the history of a cry,
a rhythm, a syncope, a word wrenched from the
body, scorched by jouissance. It is the history
of the rhythms that crop up in speech well below
the level of words but that constitute the history of
speech, its soul, as is said of the very fine threads
wound around a thousand times inside the sheath
of a rope and that may break without appearing to
weaken the strand. This rhythm is the intimate order
of thought, its silent architecture, its main reason
for being.
Merleau-Ponty put it this way: my body and the other
persons are one whole, two sides of one and the
same phenomenon, and the anonymous existence
of which my body is the ever-renewed trace
henceforth inhabits both bodies simultaneously.2
These two sides of the same phenomenon cause
a sequence, a musical scansion, to appear; where
the body begins and ends is where space begins
and ends. The whole history of encoding is about
rendering this rhythm, making it give up what it
has swallowed, as it were, so that the rhythm can
charge the architecture with something other than
the meaning of a word, a sentence, a story.
Philosophy has exiled itself once and for all from
the question of rhythm and of all architecture,
the architecture that is first of all a rhythm, a step;
architecture as the genius of spacing within matter,
between words, within words, in space, words that
come to scan silence, to stop it. Concerning this
architecture, philosophy can only gloss, interpret,

wonder why rhythm is present as soon as there


is thought. Rhythm (that is, architecture) inhabits
thought like a matrix prerequisite to all thought.
Encoded within all architecture there is a cry, there
is speech extracted by force from silence or from
screams. But architecture cannot accede directly
to this speech either through meaning or through
language; it can more effectively do it spatially,
viscerally.
Philosophy, for its part, has taken up a position in
the vicinity of this muted music. It can neither join
in the music nor stifle the sound, since philosophy,
too, as language, has its origins in that same
music. What philosophy envies in sex is precisely
the fact that sex inhabits this rhythm.
Nothing structures sex but the primordial relation
to rhythm-body, skin, blood, mixtures, saliva,
suffering, pleasure - that contains the initial
pulsation of the living - in the place where space
is born, in the place where the earliest stammering
mingles with the body and with the world, with
the soul and with matter. This primordial notion
of rhythm is harnessed by contemporary design
practices concerned with the singularities of beat
as a fundamental condition to spatial perception,
an agency for the production of synthetic part-towhole codes in architecture.

WHAT IS RHYTHM?
DURATION, REPETITION AND DIFFERENCE IN
ARCHITECTURE

Pulsation also applies to sound and rhythm, where


a pulse provides a guideline for articulation, a
thread to pull, which pushes back and pushes
forward, a locus to navigate around and through.
Rhythm appears as regulated time, governed
by rational laws, but in contact with what is least
rational in human being: the lived, the carnal, the
body. Time and space, the cyclical and the linear,
exert a reciprocal action, they measure themselves
against one another; each one makes itself and
is made a measuring-measure; everything is
cyclical repetitions through linear repetitions.
Rhythm is born of moments of intensity,
incommensurable accents that create unequal
extensions of duration. Whereas meter presumes
an even division of a uniform time, rhythm
presupposes a time of flux, of multiple speeds and
reversible relations.
The paradox: rhythm seems natural, spontaneous,
with no law other than its unfurling. Yet rhythm,
always particular (music, poetry, dance, architecture,
etc.) always implies a measure. Everywhere where
there is rhythm, there is a measure, which is to say
law, calculated and expected obligation, a project.

Whereas meter
presumes an
even division of
a uniform time,
rhythm presupposes
a time of flux, of
multiple speeds and
reversible relations.

Everywhere where
there is rhythm,
there is a measure,
which is to say law,
calculated and
expected obligation.

49

50

continuous progress of the past which gnaws


into the future and which swells as it advances.
Duration involves a process of repetition and
difference, it is irreversible since consciousness
cannot go through the same state twice; we
cannot live over and over a single moment. The
notion of duration is embedded in rhythmic,
throbbing, vibrating strategies for the articulation of
membranes, which extend the tectonic qualities to
the spatial experience; a multitude of synchronized
components that radiate micro-alliances between
parts, distributing ornamental patterns that give
character and atmosphere to the architecture.

RHYTHM AND NOIUS: SITUATING


GRADIENT OF RHYTHMIC SINGULARITIES

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS

Periodic repetition encodes a milieu, but one


must distinguish the measure (or meter) of such
repetition from the rhythm that occurs between
two milieus, or between a milieu and chaos (as the
milieu of all milieus). Measure implies the repetition
of the Same, a pre-existent, self-identical pattern
that is reproduced over and over again, whereas
rhythm is the Unequal or Incommensurable, always
in a process of trans-coding, operating not in a
homogeneous space-time, but with heterogeneous
blocks.
Rhythm is difference, or relation - the in-between
whereby milieus communicate with one another,
with themselves (as collections of sub-milieus), and
with chaos. Rhythm is not a secondary by-product
of a milieus measure, but a primary constituent of
that milieu.
Consider the human body. Its internal milieu is
made up of various elements - the heart, lungs,
brain and so on- each with its own rate of periodic
repetition. The rhythms of the body, however,
take place between various milieus and submilieus, the hearts regular measure for instance,
fluctuating in response to neural and hormonal
stimuli, changes in breathing rate, alterations in
the external environment, and so on. In a sense,
the hearts periodic repetition produces rhythm, but
not by reproducing an identical measure and not in
isolation from other milieus. Its regular meter is a
vital pulse, not a reproduction of the same, whose
regularity and variability are inseparable from the
inter-milieu rhythms of difference.
Hence Deleuze and Guattari assert that a milieu
does indeed exist by virtue of periodic repetition,
but such repetition only has the effect of producing
a difference through which the milieu passes into
another milieu. It is difference that is rhythmic, and
not repetition, which, however, produces it; but
that productive repetition has nothing to do with a
reproductive measure.3
We know that a rhythm is slow or lively only in
relation to other rhythms, but each rhythm has
its own and specific measure: speed, frequency,
consistency. Our sensations and perceptions, in
full and continuous appearances, contain repetitive
figures, concealing them. We contain ourselves
by concealing the diversity of our rhythms: to
ourselves, body and flesh, we are almost objects
of periodicity. According to Deleuze, a succession
of instants does not constitute time any more
than it causes it to disappear; it indicates only
its constantly aborted moment of birth. Time is
constituted only in the originary synthesis which
operates on the repetition of instants, and concerns
a living present in which past and future do not
designate separate instants but rather dimensions
of a present that are involved in contraction. The
architecture of pulsation celebrates duration,
enhances our awareness in terms of time-passage
indexed in the form; for Bergson duration is the

Within the range of architecture, design, and


art practices of pulsation there exists a range of
distinctions that differentiate them, according to the
specific spatial effects being pursued, originated
in generative design techniques such as cellular
aggregation, single-surface, smooth modularity,
adaptive behavior, etc. To the untrained eye, all
digitally driven practices look alike. And yet the
encoding logic of each one of these techniques
and methodologies produces a unique range of
spatial and material effects, driven by seemingly
subtle methodological and technical differences
but producing radical diversity in the architectural
outcome. Even though it has been abused as
metaphor, a valid comparison can be made with
the field of music and the-sometimes-polemical
differentiation between sound and noise.
Pulsating architecture practices often times stretch
this differentiation, exploring the full range of
potential that resides in the gradient, straddling that
line and risking, as it were, the assumption that it
is just noise. Musicians and musicologists often
employ a very narrow technical notion, under which
a sound is a noise only if its originating frequency
is non-periodic and thus of no determinate pitch,
or at least random relative to human perception. In
such cases the sound wave appears as irregular,
seeming to offer a determinate pitch in relation to
other sounds. Sounds are normally distinguished
from noises according to the richness of timbre:
Selective electronic amplification is the best
means of bringing about enriched overtones while
preserving determinate pitch. The resulting music
can thus conform to expectations of melody and
harmony while expanding in another dimension.
Rock musicians exploit technology for new and
richer timbres while still maintaining recognizable
melodic contours. Similarly, digitally savvy
designers are able to control complex operations
of codification that drive surprising architectural
conditions far beyond the limits of representation,
and into the realm of direct 1:1 material explorations
facilitated by processes of digital fabrication.
Rhythm is involved in the genesis as well as the

According to
Deleuze, a
succession of instants
does not constitute
time any more
than it causes it to
disappear;

51

ultimate materialization of atmospheres that affect


our sensual perception and our experience of
space. Pulsation seeks to examine and bring forth
the practices that participate in such primal, rich,
and intensive discourse of rhythmic perception,
a subject as old and fundamental to the field as
the relevance of part-to-whole relationships, now
coming back with a vengeance!
digitally savvy
designers are able
to control complex
operations of codification that drive
surprising architectural conditions far
beyond the limits of
representation

52

MONAD STUDIO
AFFECT OF DECAY: A PROVISIONAL CODE
FOR ATMOSPHERES OF PULSATION

A special case of pulsation, the affect of decay


which can be understood as systemic, atmospheric
aggregationpropagates the deployment of
generative modules indexing duration but more
importantly, inducing a telegraphed dissipation
of discrete qualities in order to gain a collective

perception of multiplicities distributed throughout


a milieu. Part-to-whole relationships form the basis
of such synthetic codification, potentially mediating
natural and artificial systems as productive feedback
loops. What is at stake is rhythmic transmission, a
type of re-qualified notion of decay understood as
a positive mechanism of communication between
volumes, a type of vibrational pulsation capable of
supreme engagement between parts, subsuming
any preconceived top-down hierarchies.
Three main categories of rhythms substantiate the
notion of Pulsation in the work of MONAD Studio:
1. ANASTOMOSIS RHYTHMS:

As proliferating web, it results from the smooth


aggregation of parts or branches of tubular
structures that make or become continuous. It
produces robust tectonics, multiplicities of seamless

scalar transitions operating in synchronic fashion,


connecting separate parts of a branching system
to form a network. It refers also to the connection of
any two structures, organs or spaces.
Performance/Robustness: A fundamental feature
of evolvable complex systems. Robustness is often
misunderstood as staying unchanged regardless
of stimuli or mutations, so that the structure and
components of the system, and therefore the mode
of operation, is unaffected. In fact, robustness is the
maintenance of specific functionalities of a system
against perturbations, and it often requires the
system to change its mode of operation in a flexible
way. In other words, robustness allows changes in
the structure and components of a system owing to
perturbations, but specific functions and elasticity
thresholds of joints are maintained.
2. FLICKER RHYTHMS:

Flicker refers to the notion of persistence of vision,


which is the ability of the eye to retain the impression
of an image for a short time after the image has
disappeared. The evidence of this effect is the
afterimage generated by multiple components lined
up along curvilinear trajectories, yielding an image
that persists after the visual stimulus causing it has
ceased to act. Such stimulus is the embodiment of
the aggregation logic of the geometry.

Performance/Gradient Modularity: A system of


break-down of scales is established, in order to
produce taxonomic relationships between parts as
they effect a cosmology of continuous feedback
across the components of the architectural
assemblages and their strategic aggregation into
surfaces, at different scales.

3. STRIATION RHYTHMS:

Smooth and striated geometries articulate


topological surfaces, alternating the constraining
effects of compression and expansion along
curvilinear trajectories. Striation operates at
different scales, diversifying and organizing program
and circulation by means of grafting functionalities
along interconnected swaths. Surface aperture is
regulated along unzipping seams that bifurcate
fold lines and synchronize vector gradients across
the geometric field.

Part-to-whole

Performance/Weak Form: Disparate systems

The evidence of this

become activated by tenuous, remote and yet


robust sets of affiliations by the discipline of
surgically articulating edges between parts. A
strategy of seaming borders at times provides
and subverts hierarchies of architectural systems,
giving way to sensation + geometric affect.

relationships form
the basis of such
synthetic codification...

effect is the afterimage generated by


multiple components
lined up along curvilinear trajectories.

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. Rosalind E. Krauss, Pulse, in Formless:


A Users Guide, ed. by Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind
E. Krauss, New York: Zone Books, 1997, p.164.
2. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology
of Perception, trans. by Colin Smith, London:
Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962, p.354.
3. For an overview of the development of
these ideas, see Chapter 1, Musica Naturans:
Deterritorializing the Refrain in Ronald Bogues,
Deleuze on Music, Painting and the Arts, New York
and London: Routledge, 2003, pp.16-18.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.46: Rhythmicity Installation, South Florida


Art Center, Miami Beach, MONAD Studio I Eric
Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg.
pp.48, 49: all images are from Wolfsonian Museum
Pavilion in Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, MONAD
Studio I Eric Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg.
p.50: Segui Tower, MONAD Studio I Eric
Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg.
pp.52-53: all images are from the Memorial for the
Victims of the Tsunami, Phuket, Thailand, MONAD
Studio I Eric Goldemberg + Veronica Zalcberg.

53

54

CRITIQUE IN CODE
Marjan Colletti

An Example of [En]coding Neo Materialism:


ProtoRobotic FOAMing

Niccol Cassas

Digital Dcadence: The Fractal Dimension

Fleet Hower
Zack Jacobson-Weaver

Collateral Intricacy
Mastery and Apprenticeship in Digital Divide:
De-Mystifying Code through Craft

55

56

CRITIQUE IN CODE

AN EXAMPLE OF [EN]CODING
NEO MATERIALISM:
ProtoRobotic FOAMing
Marjan Colletti, Innsbruck University, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture
In 1968, David Campion rightly anticipated, albeit

with some scepticism, the use of computers within


the architectural practice: It is perhaps still too
soon to foresee all the ways in which computers will
eventually be used by architects; there is, however,
little doubt that they will become indispensable
to the architect of the future. Since architects are
trained to use their imagination it should not be so
difficult for them to use their imagination in applying
computer techniques and technology. 1
In the last two to three decades a quantum leap
in computing power and availability, as well as
the flexibility and adaptability of computer-aided
design (CAD) software packages, has made
computers more than indispensible tools to the
discipline of architecture. They have ambitiously
revolutionized the design process, widened the
formal vocabulary and fast-forwarded the theory
of architecture into the 21st century. Nowadays
we are entering a post-digital age of what may
be called New Materialism, focused mostly on

finding ways of translating digital design into real


life prototyping. The research here describes how
CNC technologies and in particular industrial robots
can cope with, and boost, the realization of the
raising complexity of architectural forms generated
by designers, and how they can lower the levitating
costs of bespoke shapes, fabrication and assembly.
Rethinking the way buildings are made can have a
considerable impact on costs: it can save shipping
and personnel costs, lower energy and time loss.
The study of fabrication and assembly protocols,
shapes and joints, structures and skins goes hand
in hand with material research: its production,
behavior, properties, parameters and capacities.
ProtoRobotic FOAMing investigates how digital
and computational design techniques and robotic
fabrication technologies, in combination with novel
material use (in particular foam) can be improved
to achieve the synthesis of material aesthetics (e.g.
shapes, ornamentation) and performance (e.g.
structure, insulation).

They have
ambitiously
revolutionized the
design process,
widened the formal
vocabulary and fastforwarded the theory
of architecture into
the 21st century.

The study of
fabrication and
assembly protocols,
shapes and joints,
structures and
skins goes hand in
hand with material
research.

57

NEO MATERIALISM

On account of new
demands of the
economical and
ecological crisis it is
understandable that
architects subjectivity and idiosyncrasy
are questioned.

58

I would argue that the history of architecture is also


a history of materials, material innovation, material
assembly and fabrication (as well as many other
parallel histories) and how they have drastically
changed the discipline. It applies to the material
integration of stone, concrete, steel, glass, digital
matter and will apply to hitherto unknown material
discoveries of the future. In a contemporary
debate, materiality as a driving force of innovation
is reflected in a post-cyber, post-virtual, postfluid and post-digital paradigm shift towards Neo
Materialism. Neo Materialism marks the ambition
to escape from the socially and environmentally
unsustainable, virtual and cyber architectural
visions of the early days, as well as from the
standardized, off-the-shelf and environmentally

and
financially
unsustainable
architectural
production methods of the past towards innovative
applied theories, techniques and technologies. On
account of new demands of the economical and
ecological crisis it is understandable that architects
subjectivity and idiosyncrasy are questioned.
However, I will not subscribe to a total dismissal
of these values! An over-rational misguidance
of the discipline throughout these paradigm
changes can bring architecture to lose its open
and dynamic nature, which sets it apart from the
building industry. Despite the bewildering variety
of the contemporary digital architectural debate,
the most pressing questions today are no longer
concerned with providing theories of cyberspace
or virtuality, but with providing a novel practice
and theory of actual applicability. After the initial

CRITIQUE IN CODE

period of definition and discovery of disembodied


virtual realities, data-scapes and cyberworlds, the
endeavour and challenge for this generation of
creative thinkers is to fully engage with the actuality
of digital technologies. For example: social media
and telecommunication technologies do not exist
in a detached, virtual and cyber sphere. They are
a fully integrated part of everyday living, they are
fully tactile: swiping on a smartphones screen
is a physical experience. Initially, cybernetics
and virtual reality had brought forth a belief
in architecture underpinned by the complete
disembodiment of cyberspace, culminating in an
almost quasi-religious myth of total liberation from
physical limitations (think of the famous goggles or
data gloves for example). The liberation from the
body allowed artists and architects to dream of
unheard potentialities.2
However, early 21st century architectural design
postulates material truth (partly disguised by a
non-humancentric design agenda) and parametric
certainty as core functions of design, rather than
cyberworlds. By rethinking real and physical
processes of design and fabrication, architecture
itself has performed a u-turn. In the tug of war of
actual body versus virtual phantom, body wins.
Matter matters, more than ever. Because of this
trajectory from matter to substance, from virtual
imagery to machinic fabrication etc., the terms
post-digital and Neo Materialism could be used
to define this era of real-world physical production
and a new digital paradigm based on evolving
processes (including file-to-factory protocols and
biotechnologies).

ROBOTICS

It is safe to say that some of the most relevant


research in contemporary architecture is
targeted at the translation of digital aesthetics
(e.g. formal exuberance, geometric complexity,
parametric ornamentation), via post-digital
ethics, in particular environmental sustainability,
low carbon impact etc., to the implementation of
Neo Material design and fabrication processes
(computer
numerically
controlled
[CNC]
machines, Rapid Prototyping [RP] technologies
and industrial and soft robotics) in architecture.
However, architecture has not encompassed
robotic automation yet. Industrial robots are
mechanical handling devices advanced
automation systems controlled by computers
and software.
They are particularly useful in a wide variety
of tasks such as assembly, material handling,
product inspection, and of applications such as
welding, laser cutting, painting etc. Thanks to
the advances of digital systems, computational
power, and programming techniques, more
complex tasks can be processed, making robots
more flexible, multi-functional, multi-axial, reprogrammable, precise, and indefatigable.
The automotive industry has been the first
and largest employer of industrial robots (the
first, Unimate, joined General Motors in 1961).
In 2011 the World Robotics report gave an
estimate of 1.3 million industrial robots operating
in the factories world-wide by the end of 2014.3
Most probably an underestimate, according to
the increase in sales in the last years. Surely

Swiping on a smartphones screen is a


physical experience.
Initially, cybernetics
and virtual reality
had brought forth a
belief in architecture
underpinned by the
complete disembodiment of cyberspace.

59

60

CRITIQUE IN CODE

the number will increase soon, and drastically.


Architecture, which has deeply embraced digital
and computational technology, is therefore ready
to assimilate robotic intelligence into the design
and fabrication processes of architecture, such as
assembly, material handling, product inspection,
and a plethora of application such as welding,
laser cutting, painting etc. Moreover, ProtoRobotic
FOAMing is an attempt to find an innovative
technique for implementing industrial robots into
novel fabrication processes. Robots and foam
have been used before. Of course CNC milling of
foam is per se a widely used subtractive process,
for example in the nautical, car and aero spatial
industries, as well as in product design and
architecture (milled foam is in fact often used to
produce moulds and formworks for casting). But
rarely it has been used as final product, taking
advantage of its insulation qualities, ornamentability
and translucency, as in ProtoRobotic FOAMing.
Robots are also generally used to hot-wire cut foam
boards to minimize material waste (e.g. the 2010
Periscope Foam Tower by Matter Design). This is a
subtractive process, too, which eliminates residual
material. Robots are used for additive processes
as well; either as assembly of individual entities
(bricks etc.) or as layering of continuous material
(such as concrete or clay). Furthermore, robotic
spray-layering additive processes with foam have
been attempted elsewhere. However, the process
implemented in ProtoRobotic FOAMing is unique. It
is neither a subtractive nor additive process. It is an
analogue real-live simulation of natural growth and
self-organization algorithms since the resulting
prototypes resemble biological and natural

structures, such as bone structures, plants, tissue,


sponges, corals Therefore, FOAMing could be
seen as a Neo Materialist example of encoding
and decoding complex analogue formation
processes by observing, computing and controlling
material behavior. So far, ProtoRobotic FOAMings
computational focus is on MultiMove coordination
to develop novel robotic production techniques.
The manufacturer describes MultiMove as a
function embedded into the software that allows
up to four robots together with work positioners or
other devices, to work in cooperation including fully
coordinated operation.4 REX|LAB at the Institute
for Experimental Architecture at the University of
Innsbruck, Austria consists of a flexible and open
16-axes ABB MultiMove Coordinated Robotsystem
with 3 IRB 2600 robotic arms. It allows for a marketleading performance in terms of accuracy, speed,
cycle-time, programmability and synchronisation
with external devices. The system controlled by
RobotStudio, ABBs software together with HAL,
an integrated Grasshopper plugin (developed by
Thibault Schwartz), provides a more direct link
between 3D modeling and the robot controls. It
is world-wide the only MultiMove system with this
particular configuration.

... the process


implemented
in ProtoRobotic
FOAMing is
unique. It is neither
a subtractive nor
additive process

ROBOTIC FOAMING

In most general terms, this research is situated in


the field of digital design-research. In this particular
instance, this includes [en]coding morphogenesis
(drafting, modelling, scripting, programming) in
conjunction with material research (foam), as well
as fabrication workflows and technologies (CNC,
robotic MultiMove). The title summarizes the twofold

61

objectives of this arts-based design-research:


ProtoRobotic: The project looks at the potential
of earliest forms (from Greek prtos) of robotic
fabrication in architecture in the attempt to start
bridging the gaps in scale, price and expertise
between relatively simply achievable RP models
and 1:1 architectural production by CNC equipment
(i.e. milling machines, multi-material 3D printing
machines) as well as multi-axial MultiMove robotic
systems, such as REX|LAB.5

FOAMing

FOAMing suggests that an architecturally more


challenging and original alternative may be
found to the Passive House guidelines, which for
example recommend thick layers of insulation to be
sandwiched between cavity walls or hidden behind

62

render. The research investigates the possibilities


of design freedom and morphological manipulation
that result from freeing and extroverting an
insulation material such as blown foam boards
from these cavity walls. This research proposes
how we could take advantage of the enormous
geometric potential given by digital design tools
and CNC technologies to apply ornamentation,
geometry and texture onto these large surfaces,
which could partly be indoors, as well as outdoors.
This would open up new possibilities to architects
and designers to design facades in more 3D
terms, as the thickness of the foam allows for
more complex shapes and textures. Furthermore,
this approach makes the retro-fitting of badly
performing buildings more design-attentive and
precise: with the implementation of thermal-imaging

CRITIQUE IN CODE

and 3D-scanning, precise bespoke facades can


be designed to accurately fit existing conditions.
More importantly the research investigates foam
as agile malleable and soft material (as found
in regular tubes). Mixed with additives, such
unstructured mass can be stretched into stiff yet
light, filamentous and porous and fragile structures.
The combination of the openness of fully controlled
robotic movements, semi-controlled material
mixtures and unpredictable morphogenetic
behavior is challenging. However, clear pattern
of biomimetic formations emerge, with stunning
similarities to natural biological systems.
Simply put: FOAMing seems to decode in an
analogue way encoded complex accelerated
biological growth algorithms as can be seen
in the prototypes developed at the University

of Innsbruck, Smartgeometry 2013 in London,


Architecture Challenge 2013 in Vienna. But
we should not misunderstand such processes
of [en]coding patterns, forms or processes as
mere simulation or mimicry especially with
foam: certainly considered a non- materials or
environments (think of fun parks and many replica
grottos around the world) or as proper scientific
endeavour. It is and remains a creative, and
therefore approximate, act of design. The creative
act of [en]coding production, behavior, properties,
parameters, capacities, affordances and constraints
of natural, biological or chemical materials by the
aid of advanced digital, computational and robotic
processes goes beyond simulation. It enters a
world of production. Of cultural production through
machinic robotic production.

FOAMing seems
to decode in an
analogue way
encoded complex
accelerated
biological growth
algorithms.

63

64

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.56: Detail of quasi-fractal self-organization of


filaments. Photograph by Marjan Colletti.
p.58: Detail of self-structured bifurcation filaments.
Photograph by Marjan Colletti.
p.59 left:
Self-supporting filamentous foam structures (by
Y1 students at the Institute for Experimental
Architecture. Hochbau and by the workshop
participants of the Smartgeometry 2013 Robotic
FOAMing cluster). Photograph(s) by Marjan
Colletti.
p.59 right: Detail of self-structured bifurcation filaments. Photograph by Marjan Colletti.
p.60 top: REX|LAB at Smartgeometry 2013 at the
Bartlett School of Architecture, in the process of
stretching soft foam into self-supporting filamentous
structures. The Smartgeometry Robotic FOAMing
cluster was run by Marjan Colletti, Georg Grasser,
Kadri Tamre and Allison Weiler. Photograph by
Marjan Colletti.
p.60 bottom: Architecture Challenge 2013: Andrei
Gheorghe, REXLAB Georg Grasser, Kadri Tamre,
Thibault Schwartz. Optimization of internal bending
moments. Structural Analysis in Karamba and
Formfinding with Galapagos
p.61: REX|LAB at Smartgeometry 2013 at the
Bartlett School of Architecture, in the process of
stretching soft foam into self-supporting filamentous
structures. The Smartgeometry Robotic FOAMing
cluster was run by Marjan Colletti, Georg Grasser,
Kadri Tamre and Allison Weiler. Photograph by
Marjan Colletti.
p.62 top: Architecture Challenge 2013: Andrei
Gheorghe, REXLAB Georg Grasser, Kadri Tamre,
Thibault Schwartz. Optimization of internal bending
moments. Structural Analysis in Karamba and
Formfinding with Galapagos
p.62 bottom: Detail showing quasi-fractal selforganization of filaments. Photograph by Marjan
Colletti.
p.63: REX|LAB at Smartgeometry 2013 at the
Bartlett School of Architecture, in the process of
stretching soft foam into self-supporting filamentous
structures. The Smartgeometry Robotic FOAMing
cluster was run by Marjan Colletti, Georg Grasser,
Kadri Tamre and Allison Weiler. Photograph by
Marjan Colletti.
pp.64-65: Detail of the Molly Wally exhibition
stand at the Royal Festival Hall Southbank Centre
London, for the ICE group, London Centre for
Nanotechnology & Department of Chemistry
UCL, by marcosandmarjan. CNC flipped-milled
foam installation with notched MDF structure.
Photograph by Marjan Colletti.

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. David Campion, Computers in Architectural


Design, London: Elsevier Publishing Company,
1968, p.300.
2. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that books on the
topic VR use the term dream in their titles: Neil
Spiller, Digital Dreams: Architecture and the New
Alchemic Technologies, London: Ellipsis, 1998.
Other examples: Paul and Charla Devereuxs
updated classic Lucid dreaming. Accessing your
Inner Virtual Realities etc.
3. World Robotics News: IFR: All-time-high for industrial robots. Substantial increase of industrial
robot installations is continuing. Frankfurt, 1 September 2011. http://www.worldrobotics.org/index.
php?id=home&news_id=259
[accessed September 2013]
4. ABB MultiMove functionality heralds a new era in
robot applications, MultiMove technical article.doc
ABB 2004-03-01, http://www05.abb.com/global/
scot/scot241.nsf/veritydisplay/734fb908d1c8ee50
c12576dd005b69d0/$file/abb%20multimove%20
functionality.pdf [accessed September 2013]
5.REX|LAB at the University of Innsbruck consists
of a flexible and open 16-axes ABB MultiMove
Coordinated Robotsystem with 3 IRB 2600 robotic
arms. This unique piece of equipment is directly
controlled via the HAL Robot Programming &
Control plugin for Grasshopper (designed and
written by Thibault Schwartz)..

65

66

CRITIQUE IN CODE
Dcadence (from
theLatin word
Decidere - to fall
down) refers to
the gradual loss of

DIGITAL DCADENCE:
THE FRACTAL DIMENSIONS
Niccolo Casas, Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna, Bartlett School of Architecture
Dcadence is a process of disintegration of the
whole where the particular acquires autonomy
and incrementation of visibility by shirking from the
functional subordination of the whole. It is about
the process of disintegration of an organism,
of a society or a culture and, more generally,
it concerns the process of fragmentation of a
system of relations. In the French dictionary,
Larousse, the word Dcadence (from the Latin
word Decidere - to fall down) refers to the gradual
loss of strength and quality of a civilization,
culture or organism; the beginning of the fall, of
the degradation: the beginning of decay. There
is a significant difference in meaning between
the French word Dcadence and the English
word Decadence. The Oxford Dictionary actually
translates the word Dcadence as decline or
degradation: the word describes the beginning of
the degradation of a structure of relations, cultural
or biological. The English word, on the other hand,
has acquired an ethical hint referring to the lack of
moral standards and behaviors (moral or cultural

decline as characterized by excessive indulgence


in pleasure or luxury - Oxford Dictionary). Charles
Baudelaire, as a poet and critic of art, was one of
the most important representatives of the esprit
of Dcadence.1 For the French writer, beauty
becomes supreme the moment it incorporates
the first signs of decline. Furthermore, downhill,
ultimate beauty emerges from the understanding of
its temporariness, melancholy and sadness being
the essence of it. He writes: I can barely conceive
of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy2,
and in the famous Sad Madrigal3: What do I care if
you be wise? Be beautiful... and sad!
To understand the meaning of Dcadence we need
to start from the essay, Theory of Dcadence4
written by the French critic and novelist Paul
Bourget5 in 1883 and dedicated to Baudelaire. This
essay, commonly considered the first manifesto
of Dcadence, it is part of a series of Essais
for the Nouvelle Revue with the title Essais de
Psychologie Conteporaine. Paul Bourget as the
romanian critic Calinescu6 evidences in Five

strength and quality


of a civilization,
culture or organism;
the beginning
of the fall, of the
degradation: the
beginning of decay.

For the French writer,


beauty becomes
supreme the moment
it incorporates the
first signs of decline.
Modernism,
Avant Garde,
Decadence, Kitsch,
Postmodernism
established an
analogy between
the social
evolution toward
individualism and
the individualistic
manifestation of
artistic language
which are typical of
the style of Dcadence.

67

Dcadence is
a process of
disintegration of the
whole...

Dcadence is
not only the
decomposition
of the social and
biological organism
but also the
fulfillment and the
gratification that is
derived from it.

...And your heart,


bruised like a
peach, Is as ripe
as your body for
sophisticated love.
Are you the fruit of
fall, when flavor is
supreme? Charles
Baudelaire

68

Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant Garde,


Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism, established
an analogy between the social evolution toward
individualism and the individualistic manifestation
of artistic language which are typical of le style of
Dcadence.7 Therefore Dcadence is stated as a
process of decomposition of an organism (human
and social) that enables the cell to be freed from
the hierarchy and subordination of the whole: a
society needs to be assimilated into an organism
where the individual is the social cell. Dcadence
is a process of disintegration of the whole where
the particular gains autonomy and by shirking
from the functional subordination of the whole it
produces an incrimination of visibility. One law
governs both the development and the Dcadence
of [the] organism, which is language. A Style of
dcadence is one in which the unity of the book
breaks down to make place for the independence
of the page, in which the page breaks down to
make place for the independence of the sentence
and in which the sentence breaks down to make
place for the independence of the word.8 When
Bourget talks directly about Baudelaire, the idea of
Dcadence is even better delineated. Dcadence
is not only the decomposition of the social and
biological organism but also the fulfillment and the
gratification that is derived from it, it incorporates
a morbid complacency toward everything that
is ending: [Baudelaire] has realized that he
arrived late in an aging civilization. And instead
of deploring this tardy arrival, like La Bruyre and
Musset, he would have been delighted - I almost
said honored by it.9 The Decadent is interested in
the Dcadence itself, in the melancholic charm of
ending civilizations, even the body when sick and
senescent acquires a supreme flavor. The beauty
of woman appeals to Baudelaire only when it is
precocious and almost macabre in its thinness,

with the elegance of a skeleton under adolescent


flesh, or else late in life, in the state of decline that
comes with ravaged maturity:
...And your heart, bruised like a peach,
Is as ripe as your body for sophisticated love.
Are you the fruit of fall, when flavor is supreme?10
Dcadence is connected to the passing of time and
its positive and negative implications. The time of
dcadence is the time of the almost over. In other
words, it is not the end but the ending that intuits a
new start. Dcadence, on the other hand, amounts
to the ideas of reformation and regeneration and
to the dynamic transition that leads to a renewal.
As David Weir, in his book Dcadence and the
Making of Modernism11 suggests, Dcadence
incorporates both decline and renewal: Transition
may be the simplest synonym for Dcadence.12 Is
there a possibility to codify, to regulate and finally

CRITIQUE IN CODE

to simulate this process? Is there a mathematic


and a geometry capable of regulating Dcadence?
If we consider Dcadence as a state of dynamic
transition leading to the fragmentation of the
whole, it is the fractal geometry that articulates
this process. Natures unpredictable behavior is
usually a consequence of a random sequence of
events (disorder). However, in 1960 while looking
at weather, Lorenz noticed that this behavior
had a pattern, albeit with disturbances - a kind
of orderly disorder. Lorenz found that in contrast
to fully random systems, chaotic systems can be
explained by simple, exact equations. But it was

with the French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot


that the theory of fractals was completely
elaborated and the embedded order of natures
fractured irregularity fully revealed. Richard. P.
Taylor states: Chaos theory tells the story of the
dynamical process whereas fractals are the spatial
images left behind as records of the process.13-14
The relation between Dcadence and Fractals
was evidenced by the French philosopher Jean
Claude Chirollet15, in La question du dtail et lart
fractal.16 Chirollet, analyzing Baudelaires The
Salon of 1846, evidences how for the French
poet the smallest fragment of corpuscular matter

it was with
the French
mathematician
Benoit Mandelbrot
that the theory
of Fractals was
completely
elaborated and the
embedded order
of natures fractured
irregularity fully
revealed.

69

The detail in the


detail tends to
repeat itself at every
scale.

70

constitutes, by itself, the crystallization of the


whole world. The detail in the detail17 tends to
repeat itself at every scale, showing countless
fragmentations or amplifications. It is the concept
of depth that represents the trait dunion between
decadent and fractal theories: Fractal geometry is
essentially concerning depth explains Professor
S. Banerjee of The Department of Electrical
Engineering at IIT of Kharagpur; the complexity
of natural elements is preserved at any scale18.
In the same way, Baudelaire was convinced that
every object and detail reveals its significance

at the moment in which space loses its common


flatness revealing consecutive depths: the large
scale vision or the microscopic vision - the details
of cartographic or molecular scales19 - reveals the
natural harmonies of geometry. Depth and vision
are so much of an obsession to the decadent poet
that he scientifically indulges in drugs such as
Opium and Hashish as a medium to expand space
and alter time. A mysterious but only temporary
state of the mind develops itself; the profoundness
of life, hedged by its multiple problems, reveals
itself entirely in the sight.20 The theory of

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.66Turbulence
p.68 top: Turbulence, back view
p.68 middle: Turbulence, top view
p.68 bottom: Turbulence, front view
p.69 top: Black Turbulence, back 1
p.69 bottom: Black Turbulence, back 2
p.70 top: Analogy, side view
p.70 bottom: Analogy, front view
p.72 Analogy, detail

TURBULENCE
Turbulence is a necklace designed in collaboration
with the fashion designer Leyre Valiente and 3D
printed at Materialise. Turbulence was part of the
Leyre Valiente collection, Malleus Maleficarum, and
was presented at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
in Madrid in March 2013. Turbulence is the result of
the combination between the simulation of fractal
systems, part of my research on Digital Dcadence,
and an interest in extreme symmetric conditions
(as symmetry of animated components) that are
currently part of a music/design investigation.
BLACK TURBULENCE
Black Turbulence is the second necklace generated
via fractal system simulations. It pushes the
boundaries of the research on extreme symmetric
conditions that started with the white Turbulence,
by introducing a second model that is the twin of
the first one. The basic equation that describes
the general dynamical system, using complex
number - Z(n+1) = Zn2 +C -, remained the same
for the white and black turbulence whereas the
parameters related to the component data and their
overall symmetric disposition changed radically.
When compared, the two designs look symmetrical
at first, but in a second glance they reveal all their
differences.
ANALOGY
Analogy is the result of the process of investigation
on the aesthetics of Dcadence. If we consider
Dcadence as a state of dynamic transition leading
to the fragmentation of the whole, it is the fractal
geometry that articulates this process. Analogy
is about the simulation of a fractured system in
which the whole decomposes making singularities
emerge. Analogy concerns the process of
fragmentation of a system of relations and it is the
expression of the corrupted complexity generated
by simple iterations. Charles Baudelaire foresaw
that the discontinuity and irregularity of natural
shapes directly relates to the dynamic and mutable
status of nature itself. Furthermore, he identifies
in its irregularity the emergence of mathematical
harmonies that reveal analogies between scale and
subject changes: only those analogies possess
an unaccustomed liveliness; they penetrate and
they envelop; they overwhelm the mind with their
masterfulness.
Musical notes become numbers; and if your mind
is gifted with some mathematical aptitude, the
harmony to which you listen, while keeping its
voluptuous and sensual character, transforms itself
into a vast rhythmical operation, where numbers
beget numbers, and whose phases and generation
follow with an inexplicable ease and an agility which
equals that of the person playing. The Playground
of the Seraphim - The Poem of Hashish, Charles
Baudelaire.

CRITIQUE IN CODE

Mandelbrot demonstrates that the fractal structure


(ruled by Chaos dynamics and Information-based
complexity) drives several physical and human
phenomena: Meteorology, climatology, geography,
turbulence (vortex, cyclones and hurricanes),
biological rhythms, lungs, the vascular system,
market trends, computer networks, demography,
microphones and cosmology are just a few
examples. Mandelbrot demonstrates that natural
shapes and Fractals are characterized by selfsimilarity. This is the tendency to reveal the same
statistical properties at different scales: the whole
is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself.
Similarly, Baudelaire foresaw that the discontinuity
and irregularity of natural shapes directly relates
to the dynamic and mutable status of nature itself.
Furthermore, Baudelaire identifies in its irregularity
the emergence of mathematical harmonies that
reveal analogies between scale and subject
changes: Only those analogies possess an
unaccustomed liveliness; they penetrate and
they envelop; they overwhelm the mind with their
masterfulness. Musical notes become numbers;
and if your mind is gifted with some mathematical
aptitude, the harmony to which you listen, while
keeping its voluptuous and sensual character,
transforms itself into a vast rhythmical operation,
where numbers beget numbers, and whose
phases and generation follow with an inexplicable
ease and an agility which equals that of the person
playing.21 The importance of fractal geometry lies
in the possibility to characterize and describe the
degree of fragmentation of natural forms: the
morphological irregularity is defined by an index,
the fractal dimension, that is a theoretical measure
of the formal complexity of irregular configurations.
Fractals tend to occupy space without fully filling
it. Therefore, the fractal dimension, also known as
the covering dimension, is a parameter that stands
between integer topological dimensions.
While Dcadence relates to the disintegration and
the transition process from a whole to a new one,
the fractal dimension describes the complexity and
richness of the fractal pattern and its geometric
proximity to the boundary integers. In other words,
fractals can be used to structure Dcadence and
the fractal dimension indicates the degree of it.

Depth and vision


are so much of an
obsession to the
decadent poet that
he scientifically
indulges in drugs
such as Opium
and Hashish as a
medium to expand
space and alter
time.

the morphological
irregularity is defined
by an index, the
fractal dimension,
that is a theoretical
measure of the
formal complexity
of irregular
configurations.

71

72

1. Charles Baudelaire (French; April 9, 1821


August 31, 1867) was a French poet who
produced notable work as an essayist, art critic,
and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His
most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers
of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty
in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th
century.
2. Charles Baudelaire, My Heart Laid Bare, X,1887
3. Charles Baudelaire, Sad Madrigal, V, 1868, from
The Flowers of Evil, III edition
4. Paul Bourget, Theory of Decadence. in Dcadence, Essais de psychologie contemporaine,
1883.
5. Paul Bourget (French; 2 September 1852
25 December 1935) was a French novelist and
critic. In 1883 he published Essais de Psychologie
Contemporaine, studies of eminent writers first
printed in the Nouvelle Revue.
6. Matei Calinescu (1987). Five Faces of Modernity:
Modernism, Avant Garde, Decadence, Kitsch,
Postmodernism, Durham: Duke University Press,
1987, p.170.
7. Matei Clinescu (June 15, 1934, Bucharest June
24, 2009, Bloomington, Indiana) was a Romanian
literary critic and professor of comparative
literature at Indiana University, in Bloomington,
Indiana. He attended the Ion Luca Caragiale High
School in Bucharest, taking his diploma in 1952.
He emigrated from Romania to the United States
in 1973. Until recently an Emeritus Professor
at Indiana University. He lived with his wife in
Bloomington, Indiana.
8. Paul Bourget, Theory of Dcadence (1883) in
Francesca Manno, Paul Bourget Dcadence Saggi
di psicologia contemporanea, Torino: Aragno,
2007, p.19.
9. Ibid., pp.18-19.
10. Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Lies,
XCVIII (1857) from The Flowers of Evil, in Charles
Baudelaire I Fiori del Male e tutte le poesie (XCVIII.
L Amour du Mensogne) ed. by M. Colesanti,
Roma: Newton Compton Editori, 2010, p.244.
11. David Weir, Decadence and the Making of
Modernism, Amherst: University of Massachussets
Press, 1995, p. 5.
12. David Weir is Professor at Cooper Union the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, he
received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from
New York University. He is the author of Decadence
and the Making of Modernism, University of
Massachusetts Press, 1995.
13. Richard Taylor is Professor of Physics, Psychology, and Art at the University of Oregon.
14. Richard Taylor, Chaos Fractal, Nature A
new look at Jackson Pollock, Eugene: Fractals
Research, 2006, p. 62.
15. Jean Claude Chirollet is Professor of
Philosophy at the University of Strasbourg.

16. Jean Claude Chirollet, La Question du Dtail et


lart Fractal, Paris: Editions LHarmattan, 2011
17. Charels Baudelaire, Salon de 1846 in
Baudelaire, Critique dArt, ed. by C. Picholis, Paris:
Editions Gallimard, 2005, p. 83.
18. Professor S.Banerjee of The Department
of Electrical Engineering at IIT of Kharagpur
in Lecture - 14 Introduction to Fractals (2009).
Lecture Series on Chaos, Fractals and Dynamical
Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT
Kharagpur. http://nptel.iitm.ac.in.
19. Charles Baudelaire in Charles Baudelaire,
loeil microscopique de lartiste, Chirollet, J., La
Question du Dtail et lart Fractal, Paris: Editions
LHarmattan, 2011.
20. Charles Baudelaire, The Man God - The Poem
of Hashish in Colesanti, M. (2011). Charles Baudelaire Paradisi Artificiali (Luomo), Roma: Newton
Compton Editori, p.73.
21. Charles Baudelaire, The Playground of the
Seraphim - The Poem of Hashish in Colesanti,
M. (2011). Charles Baudelaire Paradisi Artificiali,
Theatre de Seraphins, Roma: Newton Compton
Editori, p.63.

CRITIQUE IN CODE

CITATIONS / NOTES

REFERENCES

M. Colesanti, Charles Baudelaire Paradisi Artificiali,


Roma: Newton Compton Editori, 2011.
C. Pichois, Baudelaire, Critique dArt suivi de Critique Musicale, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 2005
P. Charvet, Baudelaire selected writings on art
and artists, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin
Books, 1972.
L. Constable, D. Denisoff, M. Potolsky, Perennial
Decay On the Aesthetics & Politics of Decadence,
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,
1999.
R. Calasso, La folie de Baudelaire, Milano: Adelphi,
2008.
R. Pignoni, Benoit B. Mandelbrot Glioggetti fracttali,
Forma Caso e dimensione, Torino: Einaudi, 2000.

73

74

CRITIQUE IN CODE

COLLATERAL INTRICACY
Fleet Hower, RPI [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute]
Collateral Intricacy is a proposition for a new Gothic
architecture that combines the logic of traditional
Gothic geometric operations with the abilities
and precision of contemporary computation. By
encoding specific, quantifiable operations such as
conditional subdivision and proliferation of detail
that are present in Gothic form, a radically new
architecture emerges. Qualitative conditions such
as light and the relationship between structure and
form also find their way into the code, resulting in
conditional formal manipulation, ensuring that such
hallmarks of Gothicism are present and integral to
the projects development from the very first step
onwards.
Collateral Intricacy began by questioning the
possibility of contextualizing generative design
research by using its encoded impetus as an
established architectural lineage. The pursuit
of this answer led to a series of research
investigations into the formative process of
Gothic geometry while a parallel development of
computational studies encoded said operations.
As pure research objects the generative studies,

using Gothic pattern logic, revealed a potential to


meet and push beyond the formative threshold of
existing formations in Gothic architecture. In order
to understand geometric formations, investigations
were conducted on a cross-scale basis: from that of
planar organization to the development of detail on
a local level around entryways and apertures. This
small scale Gothic formation can be seen as an
inflated solid that produces fractal-like subdivisions
when sufficient levels of curvature are reached.
Such operations occur most commonly around
significant topological variation in a cathedral, such
as an opening or the introduction of a significant
structural member. The relationship between
existing Gothic form on this scale and the generative
studies is evident. An understanding of conditional
formal proliferation served as the basis for the
quantifiable research that became embedded
into the project. Straightforward understandings
of geometric expansion, degree of curvature,
and subdivision are numerically translated into
programming language. Qualitative conditions are
more difficult to identify. Encoding Gothic qualities

Collateral Intricacy
is a proposition
for a new Gothic
architecture that
combines the logic
of traditional Gothic
geometric operations
with the abilities
and precision of
contemporary
computation.

Encoding Gothic
qualities of relative
height, light, and the
relationship between
structure and ornament presented the
challenge of quantifying phenomena
that are experienced
qualitatively.

75

By encoding Gothic
characteristics,
both quantitative
and qualitative,
potential is present
from the outset of
the design process,
conditionally
put into action
according to
environmental
conditions.

The encoded
residues source
of influence is
often unclear, it is
Collateral Intricacy.

76

of relative height, light, and the relationship


between structure and ornament presented the
challenge of quantifying phenomena that are
experienced qualitatively. Many errors were made
in developing the language of phenomenal effects;
hence a strategy that involved an extended period
of evaluation and adjustment was of great help
for developing knowledge about the implications
of how seemingly abstract inputs can impact on
the result of nonlinear generative processes. This
workflow also revealed the necessity for significant
reciprocity between the generative process and
explicit design decisions and evaluations. When
considering the phenomenal effects above, the
desired result was architecture that operated
sensually and functionally as it does in Gothic
architecture, not as formal representation. Coding
became a more abstract exercise tied closely to
human evaluative decisions, necessitating and
producing a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship
between the designer and generative computation.
The fusion of coding with underlying Gothic pattern
logic led to more than simply expanded capabilities
in the realm of computerization and production.
What has been discussed thus far is a translation
of research into encoded language, capable of
linear simulation but not yet taking advantage of
a non-linear formative process that computation
offers. In Collateral Intricacy the Gothic was
chosen because of its specific traits discussed
above and an interest on the part of the designer,

but also because of a belief that a contemporary


non-linear design process has a contribution to
make. First among these is the realization of a
more synthetic design product. By encoding Gothic
characteristics, both quantitative and qualitative,
potential is present from the outset of the design
process, conditionally put into action according to
environmental conditions. These characteristics
demand myriad of behaviors including growth,
subdivision, height, space-finding, bundling, and
others. They emerge, disappear, and influence
each other, as the system grows larger. Depending
on environmental conditions each agent is capable
of being influenced by any, all, or none of the
encoded characteristics, or a division of several at
once. Time is eliminated as a hierarchical organizer
as decisions are made conditionally by the system
understanding itself, not temporally with a past and
present. It is a multi-agent system where there is no
inherent premium on size or cleanliness but on the
inter-relationship and negotiation between multiple
Gothic characteristics. The resulting project is the
product of these characteristics and the residue
produced by their interactions. The encoded
residues source of influence is often unclear, it is
Collateral Intricacy.
An important lesson to learn from Collateral
Intricacy is that the creation of an encoded system
with autonomous intent requires a great degree
of design in itself. The project is not an objective
translation but an interpretation of established

CRITIQUE IN CODE

archetypes for suitable use with contemporary


methodologies. This is especially the case in
dealing with qualitative characteristics that must
be evaluated by sensorial understanding rather
that numeric logic. Design is also present in the
behavior of the systems influence by different
functions, pushing them to adopt or reject certain
characteristics. There is subjectivity here, and
room for an individuals aesthetic nature to present
itself. The system proliferates quickly and functions
blur into one another, becoming ambiguous. This
growth is complex in its many conditions, at times

redundant, unclear, or fully vacant. Such a profusion


of material is a break from pre-packaged linear
parametrics, rejecting preconceived neatness
for an emergent possibility with the potential to
produce results that have yet to be imagined. But
the looseness allowed does not mean that result is
coincidental or that precision has been sacrificed.
Collateral Intricacy is deliberate, an orchestration of
code encompassing Gothic language and personal
preference, a reading of something established
through fresh lenses and therefore producing
something new.

77

78

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.54: Nave Elevation


p.56: Fractal Study
p.57 top: illustration of west front study
p.57 bottom: illustration of nave study
pp.60-61: Longitudinal section

79

80

CRITIQUE IN CODE

MASTERY AND APPRENTICESHIP


IN THE DIGITAL DIVIDE:
De-Mystifying Code Through Craft
Zack Jacobson-Weaver, Carnegie Mellon University
Definition 1: Creative Computation: In the arts, the
creation and application of computer programs as
a component of designed artifacts or as artifacts
in themselves.
Definition 2: Pre-Digital: belonging to the knowledge
base preexisting the re-examination of all human
affairs through computation, i.e. non-digital-native.
The role of master and apprentice in creative
computation is becoming inverted over the largely
generational line of pre-digital masters and digital-
native apprentices. Open-
source programming
environments, accessibility of code languages,
concepts and applications (via Coursera, Open
Processing, M.I.T. Open Courseware) enable
young coders to quickly surpass the skill of
their teachers at time when we need to create a
robust foundation under a rapidly evolving media
field. Where creative computation students are
skilled beyond the master, who reasserts the
fundamentals of becoming an amazing artist,
architect or designer? Who is the master? Must
students only rely on the pedagogy of computer
science and be left to reconcile concepts? Or will
artists, designers, and architects actually shape
the future of computation and how it is taught?
How can we proceed at a time when the masters
of the arts are largely unfamiliar with the process
and material of computation? While computer
science, as a discipline, has long established a
method for creating more computer scientists,
that methodology does not necessarily suit the
sensibility of instructors or students in the arts.
Moreover, teaching artists as computer scientists
counters early potential for computation to be
reinterpreted through the arts. The obvious answer
to a shortage of masters is to quickly promote or
augment instructors with computationally savvy
proxies. But there remains a potential schism in the
proxys sense of design and the pre-digital masters
sense of integral computation. Nevertheless, in
the scramble to remain competitive, the code-

savvy apprentice is being entirely overindulged.


These computer whizzes may mistake the design
masters ignorance as apathy or worse, as
incompetence. This raises doubt in the mind of
the apprentice, perhaps, rightfully so. How can we
approach the real need: first that master designers
must understand and incorporate code-
level
computation, and second that code writers are not
exempt from long venerated principles of cohesive
design? Without both, the evolution of creative
computation is stymied. How do we reconcile
these areas of expertise? The philosopher Michael
Polanyi asserted, To become an expert, you must
go through a long course of experience under the
guidance of a master. 1
This is the method for synthesizing objective and
subjective knowledge. Polanyi did not have, nor
could he have truly anticipated the Internet, a world
of instant, free information. Malcolm Gladwell went
on to refine this notion replacing a masters guidance
with a time frame within which one may achieve
mastery independently: 10,000 hours of dedicated
practice.2 Indeed, as a new type of master one must
create the knowledge and understanding of ones
craft. If the master/ apprentice dynamic shifts as
presumed above, however, what becomes of the
knowledge of pre-digital design experience? How
and where do we pass on heuristics and create
opportunities for tacit learning? How do we convince
the new practitioners not to reinvent the wheel, as
it were? To quote Malcolm McCullough, Despite
the benevolence with which we bestow the next
generation of designers with digital competence,
are we missing the end game of creating an ever
evolving design?3 Who shall bestow what upon
whom as this relationship continues to shift?
Right now, in higher education one finds plenty
of creative computation justified by the use of
bewildering digital textures and geometries rather
than cohesive design. This flourishes as the critics
lack the ability to evaluate this new media, or so
they think. They are reluctant to learn coding as
if they lack the wit or will or are resigned that the

Where creative
computation
students are skilled
beyond the master,
who reasserts
the fundamentals
of becoming an
amazing artist,
architect or
designer?

Moreover, teaching
artists as computer
scientists counters
early potential for
computation to be
reinterpreted through
the arts.

Right now, in
higher education
one finds plenty of
creative computation
justified by the use
of bewildering
digital textures and
geometries rather
than cohesive
design.

81

Soon the same


people will be
talking about the
post-computation-
next-big-thing like
biologic-neuro-
genetic design
having never
learned to code.

Only through
the possibility
and limitation of
structured substance
does expression
come into being.
Otherwise it
remains only
inspiration..

Master designers
must understand
that creative
computation is not
so different from
paper, pencil, steel
or clay.
Even then, a bug
may not appear
until a program
has cycled several
times. This is a hell
of a splinter, but a
splinter nonetheless.

Does code, like


wood, have
particular behaviors
specific to its
material? Yes. Code
is the material of
computation.

82

pervasiveness of computation has replaced them


too, now. Worse, they parrot the necessity of code
without criticism, particularly when they are too old
to have grown up with it and too young to ignore
it. Soon the same people will be talking about
the post-computation-next-big-thing like biologic-
neuro-genetic design having never learned to code.
These imaginations are critical to the evolution of
design thinking but only require so many thinkers.
Are we suggesting artists, architects and designers
must also be computer scientists, geneticists and
neuroscientists?
No. This is inspiring, fantastic design but a further
mystifying distraction when what is also needed

is for young apprentices entering a hybrid pre-


digital/digital age to have direction. The arts cannot
afford to produce philosophers alone. Practitioners
are needed. From this practice, a philosophy will
emerge with more deliberate selection, toward
truth. But how?
I would suggest that pre-digital thinking of creative
processes such as casting, carpentry and metal
fabrication appropriately temper the unnecessary
deification of computation. Through material
constraints and affordances we can more readily
invite heuristic and tacit knowledge and a less
corruptible system of evaluation for creative
computation. Again McCullough, Only through the
possibility and limitation of structured substance
does expression come into being. Otherwise it
remains only inspiration.4 Expressive creative
computation alone removes what David Pye
referred to as the workmanship of risk: creations
at risk of quantitative and qualitative failure at every
touch of the craftspersons hand.5 This is a robust
theory of evaluation in the material arts. Through
years as an art and design maker Im assured
that in many cases myself, and my students
grasped certain concepts of craft best, through
quantitative failure. Only by making things that can
truly break can we learn to appreciate the craft
involved in creating something that didnt. A digital
object or computer interaction can be evaluated
qualitatively and quantitatively. This appreciation is
crucial to the master / apprentice dynamic. Code,
however, operates on a more abstract level. As
does appreciation of whether it is truly good or
not in the masters eye. Creative computation,
therefore, must find another way to describe, as
well as manifest, the medium of computation.
Master designers must understand that creative
computation is not so different from paper, pencil,
steel or clay. This perspective allows the pre-digital
generation not only to describe computation as
another color on the palette but also to confront it
as such, personally. Yes, code is like paint. This
is the conceptual equivalent of the master painter
permitting the student to explore beyond shades,
tints and mixtures of primary colors. Nothing more.
It demystifies the code of computer code. The

processes of coding and traditional making arent


so dissimilar. With physical materials one works
basically like so:
Problem - Material - Test - Tool/Jig - Execute Rough - Evaluation - Finish. Writing code has one
important distinction: a lack of apparent material.
This poses an interesting problem in that the
material of computation is exceedingly difficult
to extract tacit knowledge from, particularly as
complexity can increase rapidly, with just one line
of code.
How might one simply recast this in terms a predigital master could appreciate? More importantly,
how can these masters present code in a way
that allows both master and student to establish a
critical discourse?
What, for example, can we learn from a splinter? A
wood splinter is the result of any number of things
in the process of working wood. The wrong tool,
the wrong amount of pressure or speed with that
tool can make a splinter. The wrong type of wood
for a given performance can render a splinter.
Wrong grain, wrong hardness: a splinter. Like a
splinter, a bug in a computer program can be
embedded and very irritating. In addition to this,
a bug isnt necessarily visible until you make it so
with debugging tools like print-lines. Even then, a
bug may not present itself until certain conditions
are met within a program. Locating it may require
the monitoring of multiple variables in particular
order. Even then, a bug may not appear until a
program has cycled several times. This is a hell of
a splinter, but a splinter nonetheless. Now, do pre-
digital masters and creative computation students
need to get a splinter to understand how to debug
a program? No. Does the metaphor imply that the
failure should be assessed in a measured way?
Yes! That is surely understandable across the arts.
Does code, like wood, have particular behaviors
specific to its material? Yes. Code is the material
of computation. A bug is where the material of code
numerically begins to disconnect from the whole, for
a multitude of reasons. with Gill Wildman To think of
it another way wood, clay, metal and plastics and the
processes by which they are shaped are a code. In
programming, a function is a point within a process
when it is necessary and appropriate to perform a
specific task. In woodworking, steam bending is a
function that must be performed at a moment both
necessary and appropriate to an overall process:
a program. A program operator may call for an
addition, subtraction other comparison to reconcile
a current state with an emergent state. Forms and
fasteners are the operators of the steam bending
process reconciling the current structure of the
material with the desired structure of the material.
Yes, code is like wood. Only through mastery, in
any medium, do craftspeople understand a code
simultaneously as the constraints and affordances
of the material itself and those of the act of working

and design. Fundamentally, creative computation


should be learned as integral to craft. It is not a skill
of coding alone, but in coding with the sensitivity
and workmanship of masterful, material craftsperson. Fantasy beyond evaluation is the reward of established masters. Perhaps, through this lens, pre-
digital craftspeople can rejoin the shaping of the
near future of creative computation. The evolution
of the arts would be better for it. Perhaps the results
will afford a new sensibility of creative computation
if not a new computation altogether.

CRITIQUE IN CODE

it. The conscious act of breaking those is the


evolution of art and design. If youre going to teach
creative computation, you should be able to do
it. There are dwindling reasons not to. But, why
should designers be taught to think like computer
scientists? Programming environments have
become increasingly designer-
friendly creating
the possibility to invent custom tools tailored to
ones craft (a.k.a. tooling/jigging). That is to say,
it no longer needs to be the computer scientists
role to describe wood for a woodworkers computer
tool, nor clay for a sculptors computer tool. While
the physics of that material can be codified, the
computer scientist cannot anticipate what the artist
will do with it. It is the role of art, architecture and
masters to understand how computation affects
their medium and vice versa: how ones medium
could affect computation. Without the sensitivity
of pre-
digital mastery embedded in creative
computation the next generation of designers
is doomed to toil with recreating what is already
known, in ones and zeros.
Understanding traditional materials whether wood
or concrete significantly increases ones success
in hybrid and digital fabrication processes relevant to the arts. Like strategically adding colors
to the palette, this is building upon a strong foundation. Digital fabrication, if one is dedicated and
has had enough of GUI software, inevitably leads
to custom computational design tools including
simulation built upon material knowledge. With an
understanding of material and advanced fabrication techniques, one may tailor code to account
for the meeting of real materials with real process
producing designedobjects wholly subject to a
predigital masters nuanced evaluation perhaps
with never-
before-
seen results. Suggesting the
use of high-
level, designer-
friendly programming
environments predictably leads to skepticism over
the merits of approach. While I cannot criticize
pedagogy of computer science, I do know that traditionally trained computer scientists do not wholly
consider the tools of creative computation as valid.
For example, tools like Processing and Arduino
are somehow playing at computation. These tools
are often, but not exclusively, used for prototyping:
sketching with software and, in the case of Arduino,
sketching with computer hardware. It is the artists,
designers and architects province to sketch and to
iterate and, indeed, to play! They are accustomed
to working with feedback on multiple levels: tactility,
contour, color, scale and so on. It stands to reason
visual and interactive physical computing are the
entry point to computation versus console command and print lines. This, again, recasts code as
medium designers can manipulate with pre-digital
mastery and skepticism should be ignored.
No matter how quickly creative computation tools
change, its products will never be exempt from
evaluations of good and bad art, architecture

[...] it no longer
needs to be the
computer scientists
role to describe
wood for a
woodworkers [...]
computer tool

Without the
sensitivity of
pre-digital mastery
embedded in
creative computation
the next generation
of designers is
doomed to toil with
recreating what is
already known.

It is the artists,
designers and
architects province
to sketch and to
iterate and, indeed,
to play!

Fundamentally,
creative computation
should be learned as
integral to craft.

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards


a Post-Critical Philosophy, Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1974, p.54.
2. Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success, New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011,
p.40.
3. Malcom McCullough, Abstracting Craft: The
Practiced Digital Hand, Cambridge: MIT Press,
1996, p.21.
4. ibid., p. 202.
5. David Pye, The Nature and Art of Workmanship,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978,
p.20.

83

84

MATERIAL
Sean Ahlquist

Exploration and Fidelity in Material Computation:


Evolutionary Means for the Articulation of Textile
Morphologies

Dale Clifford

Material EnCoding

Nicole Koltick

Interior Prosthetics

Robert Trumbour and Aaron Willette

Jose Luis Garcia Del Castillo,


Christian Ervin, Krista Palen
Jenny Sabin

Social Gravity: Where Analog Means Intersect


With Digital Intent
WX

myThread Pavilion
commissioned by NYC Nike FlyKnit Collective

85

86

MATERIAL

EXPLORATION AND FIDELITY IN


MATERIAL COMPUTATION:
Evolutionary Means for the
Articulation of Textile Morphologies
Sean Ahlquist, Taubman College University of Michigan

The distinction,
within the matrices
of formation/
operation and

Material computation, in exploring differentiated


textile morphologies, posits the fidelity of
process as the degree by which the matrices
of formation:operation and material:behavior
are negotiated. In this case, negotiation is of a
materials fibrous organization to the imposition
of structural forces. While a state of structural
equilibrium is the desired homeostatic condition,
the defining performance is the articulation of
spatially differentiated architectures. Prototyping,
as an agent of process and material form via

means both virtual and real, provides a construct


by which the computation of fundamental behaviors
can be transferred into instrumentalized specific
material operators. The computation of material
morphologies assumes inclusive processes of
formation and operation and their inexorable
feedback. Both conditions perform as a repercussion
of computation, a collection of generative and
comparative mechanisms. Such is a condition, of
both, the virtual and the real where architectures
are formed of specific material-inherent logics.

virtual/real,
exists where the
virtual computes
fundamental
principles of
relational logics and
the real executes
resulting reciprocities
through highly
specific material
and contextual
constructs.

87

The distinction, within the matrices of formation/


operation and virtual/real, exists where the virtual
computes fundamental principles of relational logics
and the real executes resulting reciprocities through
highly specific material and contextual constructs. A
translational synchronicity binds the fundamental to
the specific. The virtual does not simulate the real,
rather the translation of the relative serves to define
the absolute. Fidelity is evaluated by the granularity
of which translation can resolve and predict the
materialization of the systems behavior. Granularity
in computation arises through prototyping as an
iterative exploratory process. In simple terms, the
prototype is an exemplar, a sample from a particular
configuration of constraints encoded in specific
parameters. As an encapsulation of knowledge, the
prototype is not the physical entity but rather the

processes shaping the generative constraint space.


Prototyping serves as an active evolving agent
in accumulating procedures and methodologies
towards systems of increasing relational complexity.
Prototyping serves the expansion of embedded
knowledge where relations are evolved across
differentiated prototype scenarios. In this sense,
the virtual space is charged through the evertransforming and expanding fitness of the real,
where the prototypical morphologies span varied
constraint configurations.
As such, prototyping defines the movement from

88

MATERIAL
As an
encapsulation of
knowledge, the
prototype is not
the physical entity
but rather the
processes shaping
the generative
constraint space.

fundamental to specific as cyclical and interleaving,


a constant expansion of the real condition to
validate or invalidate the advancing virtual
proposition. The exploration of force-active textile
morphologies, by necessity, implements such a
progressively cyclical framework. In particular,
prototyping serves to unravel the intimate relation
of textile structure, in the minute description of
fiber organization, and force implementation,
in the differentiation of tensile and compressive
magnitudes and vectors.
In a series of sequential yet overlapping studies, the

matrices of structure/behavior and force/material are


unfolded to explore the means in which the virtual
behaviors project real materializations. Virtual
behavior is generated via components of tensile and
compressive force. Varied amalgamations of such
components define increasingly complex behaviors
from pure tensile surfaces to elastically deforming
elements. Instrumentalization of complexity mirrors
that granularity of the process. Unitizing the relative
is a consequence of prototyping, where controlling
the scale of the unit is synonymous with controlling
the morphological nature of the material system.

In a series of
sequential yet
overlapping studies,
the matrices of
structure/behavior
and force/material
are unfolded to
explore the means
in which the
virtual behaviors
project real
materializations.

89

90

ILLUSTRATIONS
pp.86, 88 centre: Hyper-Toroidal Deep Surface Prototype. Boyan Mihaylov, Viktoriya Nikolova, Institute
for Computational Design (Sean Ahlquist, Prof.
Achim Menges), University of Stuttgart, 2011.
p.88 top: M1 Textile Hybrid at La Tour de
LArchitecte in Monthoiron, Merkus Bernhard, David Cappo, Celeste Clayton, Oliver Kaertkemeyer,
Hannah Kramer, Andreas Schoenbrunner, Institute
for Computational Design (Sean Ahlquist, Prof.
Achim Menges), Institute for Building Structures
and Structural Design (Julian Lienhard, Prof. Jan
Knippers), University of Stuttgart, 2012.
p.89: Cylindrical Deep Surface Prototype. Peter
Pelzer, Christine Rosemann, Institute for Computational Design (Sean Ahlquist, Prof. Achim Menges),
University of Stuttgart, 2012.
p.88 bottom, pp. 90-91: Semi-toroidal textile hybrid.
Doctoral research by Sean Ahlquist. Institute for
Computational Design (Sean Ahlquist, Bum Suk
Ko, Prof. Achim Menges), University of Stuttgart
2012.

91

92

MATERIAL

MATERIAL [EN]CODING
Dale Clifford, Carnegie Mellon University
Encoding is the rule-based process of converting
information for the purpose of communication.
[En]coding Architecture, implies that architecture
itself can be more responsive and communicative.
The title infers that architecture will increasingly
embody energy and information flows to become
more communicative, and perhaps more adaptive.
A shift towards responsiveness is emerging as
architects, designers and engineers develop
technologies and design strategies that are
environmentally sensitive. One of the pathways
towards this goal is the design application of
the energy harvesting and storage capacity of
responsive materials to enable architecture to
interact with environmental change. All materials
have the ability to store electrical, mechanical or
thermal energy. Responsive materials - those that
change their properties significantly in response to
external stimulus - are of particular interest due to
their degree of formal change during the storage
and release of energy. The Bio_Logic Design
Group at Carnegie Mellon University is directed
toward understanding the porous boundaries
between living and non-living systems through
the lens of responsive materials. Predicated on
the exchange information between the natural
and the artificial, the group develops building
technologies that operate in accordance with the
biologic condition of homeostasis (the ability for
an organism to maintain equilibrium in response
to fluctuating environmental conditions). Much of
the work is located at the building envelope, the
interface between interior and exterior. The intent is

to design the building envelope as a selective filter


that, through passive means, registers fluctuations
in heat and light, to advance the prospect of selfregulation. The group is composed of faculty, recent
architecture graduates and students founded to
advance the discourse between academia and
practice. The group is sponsored by architecture
and development firms that are interested in the
early adoption of emerging material technologies
and the creative rethinking of traditional materials.1
Rethinking the role materials play in the conception
and advancement of architectural thinking is
reshaping the built environment and giving
architecture the agency of responsiveness. Until
recently, materials were specified for their ability
to maintain a stable state. They were intended
to maintain their appearance, dimensions and
mechanical properties within a range of thermal
tolerances, structural loading and exposure.
Today, materials scientists, technologists and
designers, are inventing and applying materials
that change their properties in response to external
stimuli. The beginning stages of a paradigm
shift are evident in the design and operation of
architecture as materials emerge that serve as
non-mechanical actuators, lessening reliance on
mechanics and enabling devices to be made of
fewer parts and processes. The work described
below applies the properties of responsive material
as solid-state analogue switching devices that are
triggered by environmental conditions. There is no
central processing, but a distributed network of
autonomous devices that read local environmental

The Bio_Logic
Design Group at
Carnegie Mellon
University is
directed toward
understanding the
porous boundaries
between living and
non-living systems...

Rethinking the role


materials play in
the conception and
advancement of
architectural thinking
is reshaping the built
environment and
giving architecture
the agency of
responsiveness.

93

NOTES

1. Current project research is sponsored by


Swire Development Group for application in a
new building complex in Miami, FL, designed by
Architectonica.
2. The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.
U.S. EPA/Office of Air and Radiation. Office of
Radiation and Indoor Air (6609J) Cosponsored
with the Consumer Product Safety Commission,
EPA 402-K-93-007.
3. Conversations with Professor Richard Kroeker,
Dalhousie University
4. Conversations with PhD candidate Madeline
Gannon, Carnegie Mellon University

94

BIMETALS AND BIPOLYMERS

Project one is a translation of existing material


technology of thermal bimetals to polymers. Wayne
Jenski, a graduate of the Emerging Materials
Technology Program at the University of Arizona
(Advisors - Malo, Clifford, Vollen) developed this
project based in the material properties of bimetals
used in thermostats and temperature activated
switches. Bimetals are a composite material
composed of two metals with differing thermal
coefficients laminated together that translate
temperature change to mechanical movement.
The physical principles of metals are the same for
polymers and studies were begun to search for a
composite polymer with a high degree of thermal
sensitivity. The polymers specified are inexpensive,
durable and recyclable. Composite polymers were
designed to develop a thermal valve to passively
regulate building temperature.
The study evolved through physical model
construction and design engineering in thermal
simulation software to determine material thickness,
patterning and the resultant range of motion per
temperature fluctuation. As temperature rises,
the valve stores thermal energy and opens. Upon
cooling, the valve releases thermal energy and is
restored to the closed position. In this instance, the
material itself assumes the properties of an energy
absorbing capacitor, as the material harvests,
stores and distributes thermal energy. The profile
was designed to induce airflow, correlating form
and performance through the medium of material
properties.

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS

The second project is built upon the responsive


properties of shape memory alloys, a class of
alloys that have two stable phases and can
recover from large deformations when heated.
Shape memory alloys are most available in the
form of wires and can serve as non-mechanical
actuators by contracting when heated to a
target temperature. Percentage of contraction
is approximately 6% of overall length; greater
percentages can be obtained at the expense of
lower lifetime material cycling. This alloy is applied
to actuate the polyurethane petal with embedded
photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells harvest
solar energy and trigger the alloy actuator to vary

the shape of the petal. In an array, the petals are


designed to form a dynamic surface that passively
regulates light and glare. Each petal is designed
to be autonomous as embedded photovoltaic cells
trickle charge an electrical capacitor housed in the
petal body. The capacitor is an electrical energy
storage system that releases electrical current to
the shape memory alloy to actuate the petal. The
petal body is designed as a spring to apply force
to the alloy and reset it to the original length once
cooled.

MATERIAL

changes in heat flux and light intensity. The gain is


a less complex system that is durable and reliable
at the expense of control. The materials and
products developed focus on energy harvesting as
opposed to powering and involve storing energy
in capacitors. In some projects the material itself
serves as a capacitor, storing and releasing energy
at targetable quantities. Of particular interest are
the correlation of form and performance achieved
during the storage and release of energy.

CONCLUSION

The work of the Bio_Logic Design Group makes


an argument for encoding architecture with solidstate responsive materials and for the prospect
of architecture to read and convey environmental
information. The premise is that an architecture
encoded with material agency is a highly sensorial
operation that forms the data of perception, as
we spend up to 90% of our time in building on
average.2 An encoded architecture is the primary
cultural entity that can translate information into
experience and address human desensitization
to environmental stimulus as the world we inhabit
becomes increasingly artificial. This transgression
is often motivated by the perceived incongruity
between nature and technology. Professor
Richard Kroeker observed our culture has
tended to create a separation between what we
understand as the milieu of nature and the milieu
of technology or artifice. Similarly, we struggle to
maintain the empirical and the intuitive in their
separate categories.3 An encoded architecture that
translates information to experience will reconnect
these milieus.4

The premise is that


an architecture
encoded with
material agency is
a highly sensorial
operation that
forms the data of
perception [...]

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.92: Project two, Autonomous Devices:


schematic of an autonomous solar petal actuated
by shape memory alloys. Onboard photovoltaic
arrays absorb solar energy to trickle chargew a
capacitor that periodically feeds the shape memory
alloy to drive the petal.
p.94 top: Computational/Thermal Form Generation: computational models aided the visualization
of thermal convective cycles based on mass placement, building form and solar exposure.
p.94 centre: Project two, Autonomous Devices:
schematic of an autonomous solar petal actuated
by shape memory alloys. Onboard photovoltaic arrays absorb solar energy to trickle chargew a capacitor that periodically feeds the shape memory
alloy to drive the petal.
p.94 bottom: Project one, Reactive Composite
Materials: study in developing reactive composite
polymers with different coefficients of thermal expansion. The intent is to correlate material properties, material deposition and form to develop selfregulating building envelopes.

95

96

MATERIAL

INTERIOR PROSTHETICS
Nicole Koltick, Drexel University
Interior Prosthetics resulted from a special topics
digital fabrication seminar run in fall 2012, led by
Professor Nicole Koltick at the Westphal College
of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University.
Students were challenged to develop a series
of prosthetic design interventions to the newly
renovated URBN Center.
Based on a narrative methodology, the seminar
explored design speciation through developing and
prototyping a variety of additive and subtractive
design species. Moving beyond formal mimesis, we
set out to induce a series of procedural operations,
which could yield novel outcomes of design

speciation. Students were particularly interested


in the potential of synthetic relationships that might
arise from interactions between varied species and
their prosthetic interactions with their immediate
environment, the building. Through a series of
investigations into biological precedents that
exhibit a highly discrete set of material, temporal
and spatial relations, the Interior Prosthetics
approximated some of these seemingly messy and
unorganized adjacencies.
In Philosophy and Simulation: The Emergence
of Synthetic Reason, M. DeLanda addresses
mechanisms and relationships that exist at various

We were
particularly
interested in the
potential of synthetic
relationships that
might arise from
interactions between
varied species
and their prosthetic
interaction with the
building.

97

as when neurons
manipulate
concentrations of
metallic ions, or
a psychological
entity interact with a
chemical one

the logic of
speciation - the
evolutionary process
by which new
biological species
arise

If there is anything
monstrous in
evolution, its the
uncertainty in the
system at any and
every point.

98

scales. In all of those systems he locates their


presence, []of a contingent accumulation of
layers or strata that may differ in complexity but
that coexist and interact with each other in no
particular order: a biological entity may interact
with a subatomic one, as when neurons manipulate
concentrations of metallic ions, or a psychological
entity interact with a chemical one, as when a
subjective experience is modified by a drug.1
The nested and heterogeneous nature of these
relationships allowed for results of emergent
nature. Therefore synthetic material relations
were induced through the logic of speciation, the
evolutionary process by which new biological
species arise. In addition to analog procedures like
experimental casting techniques, digital fabrication
were explored in the generation of species. Additive
Speciation was explored through cellular based
modeling, 3D Printing and casting. Subtractive
Speciation was explored through CNC milling
and casting. Hybrid Speciation emerged through
trajectories of interactions between additive and
subtractive methods. In The Ecological Thought,
T. Morton points out that, If there is anything
monstrous in evolution, its the uncertainty in
the system at any and every point. Amazingly,
the contamination of variation, speciation and
so on is the reason why evolution works at all.
Contamination is functional...Its like language.
For meaning to happen, language must be noisy,
messy, fuzzy, grainy, vague and slippery.2 This

definition of contamination was pursued through


experimental material approaches, where the
uncertainty in outcome and effect provided an
additional opportunity and dimension for novel
synthetic discoveries. Materials such as clay,
resin, rubber and felt provided a tactile dimension
to the work. As prosthetic interventions these
hybrid species then adapted to their given location.
Forcing the species to contend with relations at
multiple scales induced varying degrees of drift
in the resultant systems. Even with the precise
information and rules encoded within a given
system, the evolutionary mechanisms inherent
to biological systems will entail a certain amount
of drift.3 This drift may manifest as subtle or more
pronounced shifts in behavior or appearance at
one or multiple levels, and may affect the features,
behavior or appearance of a given system. The

approach of the seminar was unique in its attempt


to seed potential conditions that allow for drift and
contamination to emerge simultaneously. Pursuit of
evolving species in both genotypic and phenotypic
expression, as well as the recombination of
these across species would yield additional novel
discoveries. The primary findings of this research
indicate that the inducement of hybridity through
material synthesis is a viable approach to design
speciation, and lends itself to further study.

drift may manifest


as subtle or more
pronounced shifts
in behavior or
appearance at one
or multiple levels

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES


1. Manuel DeLanda, Philosophy and Simulation:
The Emergence of Synthetic Reason (Kindle),
New York: Continuum, 2011, Intro chapter, par. 9.
2. Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought,
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010, p.66.
3. Pablo Schyfter, Technological biology?
Things and Kinds in Synthetic Biology, Biology
Philosophy, 2011, doi: 10.1007/s10539-0119288-9, pp.27, 29-48.

ILLUSTRATIONS
pp.96, 98-99: Special Topics Seminar: Interior
Prosthetics, material prototype (silicone, resin)
assembly by Kathryn Pellegrino.
p.99 bottom: Special Topics Seminar: Interior
Prosthetics, research.

99

100

MATERIAL

SOCIAL GRAVITY: Where Analog


Means Intersect with Digital Intent
Aaron Willette, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Khora
Robert Trumbour, Taubman College University of Michigan, Khora
The integration of digital fabrication tools and
computation methods into academic and
professional practice is becoming increasingly
commonplace. Despite their growing popularity
these technologies are often beyond the reach
of many, which is due to issues of accessibility,
economics, or pretermitted contiguity to the
architectural profession; regardless of the specific
conditions, there is a very real and acute risk of
creating a condition of technological haves and
have-nots within the design community. This
dilemma points at the need for establishing a
conceptual middle ground, an area seemingly
absent from the current pedagogical discourse in
which emerging methodologies can be engaged
by a larger public. Can design approaches be
developed that facilitate the engagement of these
methodologies through limited means? How can
institutions without the means to afford formal
training in rising methods and new technologies
avoid the misfortune of their students being left
behind in an area of the discipline that changes
exponentially with each new development?
Social Gravity, a large-scale installation, sought
to explore this middle ground, not under the false
pretense of providing answers to the questions it

provokes but rather as an attempt to engage the


domain of design possibilities it facilitates. The
centerpiece to a gala event for the Moon Capital
design competition organized by the non-profit
SHIFTboston, the installation was comprised of
two elements. The formal fabric pieces that were
suspended from an overhead space frame and
a series of sensor-embedded tables that altered
a video projection on the fabric, reflecting the
current state of the gala.1 Each of these elements
demanded a unique design approach involving a
bespoke computational solution combined with
readily at-hand physical process. The coupling
between digital generation and analog production
resulted in an inquiry into how parties interested
in exploring emerging digital techniques are able
to engage with the topic in a meaningful way with
lacking access to the equipment generally required
for its proper execution.
The heart of the installation was a series of
custom-fabricated illuminated tables, each outfitted
with a proximity sensor on three of its sides. The
stream of sensor data from each table was fed
into a control computer that manipulated the RGB
values of pre-recorded video via a lightweight
processing program. As an individual approached

Coupling between
digital generation
and analog
production resulted
in an inquiry
into how parties
interested in
exploring emerging
digital techniques
are able to engage
with the topic in a
meaningful way with
lacking access to the
equipment generally
required for its
proper execution.

101

since an automated
means of cutting
and assembly was
not available to the
fabrication team,
the labeling and
organization of the
resulting panels
became paramount

102

one of these tables the corresponding color value


increased, reaching its highest saturation only
when the individual stood directly at the table.
The manipulated video was projected onto a
suspended fabric geometry overhead, signifying
the amount of social activity occurring at the table.
For the video to be shown in full color a minimum
of three individuals needed to be gathered around
the table; seven of these tables were employed in
Social Gravity, each with their own corresponding
video. Throughout the gala event the engagement
of the attendees could be evaluated: early in the
evening people loosely stood around away from
the tables, resulting in projections largely devoid of
color. As the evening progressed people gathered
around the tables for more involved conversations
which enlivened the projections surrounding them.
With the atmosphere of the installation deriving
from the levels of social engagement taking place,
the fabric geometries were generated by the
programmatic demands placed upon the space.
The area underneath the space frame was equally
divided using a simple Voronoi diagram. DJ booth,
exhibits, aforementioned tables, and other objects
of prescribed activities, positioned in the individual

Voronoi cells, acted as seed points.2 Explicit social


volumes emerged around those seed points
underneath the space frame, which generated
tubular geometries in each cell.
While the computational design process to arrive
at this gestational form was minimal, substantial
attention was given to how the geometries could
be reconstructed based upon the size limitation
inherent to the bolts of fabric it would be produced
with. Since an automated means of cutting and
assembly was not available to the fabrication
team, the labeling and organization of the resulting
panels became paramount. While the design team
used advanced computational tools to create a
participatory, immersive atmosphere, Social Gravity
was fabricated using exclusively analog methods
over a period of three months by a team of unskilled
volunteers from surrounding design schools.3
Without access to the speed and inherent efficiency
of computed-aided machinery the fabrication
process required tightly coordinated production
methods to compensate for the time requirements
of manual labor. Due to the sheer size of the
fabric pieces necessary to construct the hanging
geometries, tasks were organized in a manner

that kept their groupings repetitive and largely


interchangeable to avoid training volunteers on a
large variety of specialized task. Low tolerances
were incorporated early in the design process
as inaccuracies and imprecision were expected;
materials such as fabric and conventional framing
lumber were selected for their forgiving qualities.
Throughout the project we used computational
tools that were advanced enough to drive the
design and production into new territory, and at the
same time elementary enough to be self-taught
by primary team members. The strengths of the
parametric model coupled with the looseness of the
handmade resulted in an ephemeral atmosphere
driven by the engagement of its participants. While
easily possible with more advanced tools and
techniques, the process employed allowed for the
creation of a project with a moderate degree of
complexity while still advancing the knowledge of all
participants. The success of Social Gravity begins
to point towards a middle ground for emerging
methodologies, one in which emphasis is placed on
manipulating spatial logics and understanding the
necessary steps for their translation to a physical
medium. In many ways it isolates the key values

found in more computationally complex projects


that employ novel means of industrial automation.
The middle ground employed by Social Gravity
acts as a transitional territory, on in which
participants garner a hands-on experience with
the relationships between design, computation,
and fabrication, rather than a deep understanding
of the tools used to leverage those relationships.

The strengths of the


parametric model
couple d with the
looseness of the
handmade resulted
in an ephemeral
atmosphere driven by
the engagement of its
participants..

NOTES

1. It was rumored that the space frame was


designed by Massachusettss own Buckminster
Fuller. No effort was taken to substantiate these
claims for fear of ruining an inconsequential detail
that was a point of pride for the design team.
2. Admitting to the use of a Voronoi pattern is
considered a faux pas within certain computation
circles, but they are incredibly useful for dividing a
fixed region based upon an irregularly-spaced field
of activity centers.
3. Those schools included the Boston Architectural
College, Massachusetts College of Art, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

103

104

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.100: by the time the project was completed it had


required over 80 hours of tracing, 300 hours of
sewing, 11,000 square feet of fabric, and 21,000
linear feet of thread.
pp.102-103: with a window of only 8 hours for the
entire installation process prior to the start of the
event, it was necessary to plan out and coordinate
the efforts of every volunteer.
pp.104-105: the finished project created an
environment that responded to the social
engagement of its participants, visually demarking
areas of activity within the larger field of the
experience.

VOLUNTEERS

Jesse Baiat-Nicolai
Sam Buckens
Katie Bujalski
Alex Cabral
Kristen Gainnone
Mary Hale
Chris Harp
Cassandra MassArt
Mike Modoono
Sean Owen
Nick Pappastratis
Frank Pereira
Ryan Philbin
Jason Skibo
Brian Slozak
Jeff Smith
Kate Spalla
Mikkel Stromstad
Dunja Vujinic
Rosie Weinberg
Jason Weldon
Lin Yang
Sue Yoo

CREDITS
Artforming (design and fabrication):
Rob Trumbour
Aaron Willette
Erblin Bucaliu
Stephanie Rogowski
Anthony Sanchez
Jared Steinmark

With support from:

Kim Poliquin, Director of SHIFTboston


Wentworth Institute of Technology
KAN Photography

105

106

MATERIAL

WX
Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo, Universidad de Sevilla, Harvard GSD, ParametricCamp
Christian Ervin, Rice University, Harvard GSD
Krista Palen, Harvard GSD
WX is a numerically-controlled wax sculpture
machine in which form emerges from a materialspecific combinatory fabrication process. This
project investigates the properties that arise in
the dynamic merging of two fluid media: melted
wax and water. The project takes advantage of
the dissipative effects produced when hot wax
and water combine and forms of thin wax-shells
emerge. Exhaustive material research with various
types of wax and water mixtures at controlled
temperatures and rates of mixing gave our team
tremendous insight into the behavioral effects of
these materials as they interact.
In calibrating the discovered parameters and
their related effects, the resulting volume is an
efficient, thin-walled cellular structure; a frozen
animation of the complex fluid dynamics at play

when two materials mix. Rejecting the paradigm of


absolute control afforded by contemporary digital
fabrication techniques, WX embraces the marvel of
stochasticity in these turbulently-mixing materials;
the formal effects of the process are generally
predictable but not explicitly controllable.
Since wax is less dense than water and hydrophobic,
in a liquid state, it rises up to the water surface
when immersed in water. The material behavior is
dependent on the relative temperatures of the wax
and the water. If the water is hot, near the melting
point of the wax, nearly all of the wax will rise to the
surface and disperse. If the water is extremely cold,
the surface of the wax will solidify immediately. By
regulating the relative temperatures of the molten
wax and water, we are able to produce forms
somewhere in between; the wax changes states

the process of
materialization and
rationalization of
a firstly speculative
formal approach
became the actual
challenge

the formal effects of


the process are generally predictable
but not explicitly
controllable

107

While the project


in its current state
produces relatively
small and fragile
wax objects, we
believe that the
approach could
be extended
with significant
architectural
implications.

WX is a project in
which geometries
are derived from
a material-specific
combinatory
fabrication process,
influenced by
real-time human
interaction.

108

in the process of rising to the surface of the water.


Additionally, the rate of descent of the tray lowering
the wax sample into the water affects the resulting
geometry: a slow rate of descent allows for the wax
to disperse along the surface of the water, creating
wider shapes, and a fast rate of descent makes
for more narrow shapes. Going too fast, however,
generates turbulence in the mixing materials,
causing unpredictable, chaotic effects.
While the project in its current state produces
relatively small and fragile wax objects, we believe
that the approach could be extended with significant
architectural implications. The wax could be used
in an investment casting process to produce more
robust and architectural scale metal elements, for
example. Furthermore, this stochastic process
could be adapted to the architectural design
and construction process. Imagine a digitallycontrolled scenario in which target characteristics
were predictable, but the specific execution of
those goals was not. For example, a structure
that meets certain building criteria but does not
align with a specific formal or stylistic reference.
WX is a project in which geometries are derived
from a material-specific combinatory fabrication
process, influenced by real-time human interaction.
It favors a stochastic framework of control,
where three-dimensional forms emerge from the
interaction of these materials. The project offers
a further generation of digital fabrication methods
experimenting with stochastic frameworks of control
including the unpredictable, dynamic effects of real
time human interaction.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.106: Combination of material and process yields


natural tectonics and stochastic form.
p.108-109 top: Wax machine and prototypes
pp.108, 109 bottom: Different layered patterns
emerge under the users choice of color, temperature and tray speed combination.

109

110

MATERIAL

myTHREAD
Jenny E. Sabin, Cornell University, Jenny Sabin Studio
Advancements in weaving, knitting and braiding
technologies have brought to surface high tech
and high performance composite fabrics. These
products have historically infiltrated the aerospace,
automobile, sports and marine industries, but
architecture has not yet fully benefitted from
these lightweight freeform surface structures.
myTHREAD, a commission from the Nike FlyKnit
Collective, is the first architectural project to feature
knitted textile structures at the scale of a pavilion.
The evolution of digital tools in architecture has
prompted new techniques of fabrication alongside
new understandings in the organization of material
through its properties and potential for assemblage.
No longer privileging column, beam and arch, our
definition of architectural tectonics has broadened
in parallel to advancements made in computational
design. Internal geometries inherent to natural
forms, whose complexity could not be computed
with the human mind alone, may now be explored
synthetically through mathematics and generative
systems. Textiles offer architecture a robust design
process whereby computational techniques,

pattern manipulation, material production and


fabrication are explored as an interconnected loop
that may feed back upon itself in no particular linear
fashion. Here, geometry, matter, communication
and form are not separate from each other, but are
inextricably linked as set of design elements that
may be probed individually, but that are collectively
adaptive. The myTHREAD Pavilion situates itself
at the center of this paradigm shift by integrating
emerging technologies in design while pushing the
boundaries even further through the materialization
of dynamic data sets generated by the human body
engaged in sport and movement activities in the
city.

myTHREAD, a
commission from
the Nike FlyKnit
Collective, is the first
architectural project
to feature knitted
textile structures
at the scale of a
pavilion.
The myTHREAD
Pavilion situates itself
at the center of this
paradigm shift by
integrating emerging

KNITTING ARCHITECTURE

How do you knit and braid a building? Could


a building be as lightweight as air? How can
sport influence both design and fabrication and
inspire the next generation of buildings? What if
we could form-fit and enhance architecture with
bio-architecture and performance of our own
bodies? The myTHREAD Pavilion pushes soft
textile-based architectures. myTHREAD integrates

technologies in
design while pushing
the boundaries even
further through the
materialization of
dynamic data sets
generated by the
human body

111

The myTHREAD
Pavilion uses the
flexibility and
sensitivity of the
human body as a
bio-dynamic model
for pioneering
pavilion forms.

112

data from the human body with lightweight, high


performing, formfitting and sustainable materials.
The myTHREAD Pavilion uses the flexibility and
sensitivity of the human body as a bio-dynamic
model for pioneering pavilion forms. Turning
performance into structure for the Nike Flyknit
Collective, the project works at the intersection of
art, architecture, design and science.
The approach shows instant similarities to the work
of Nikes Innovation Kitchen, where disciplines
from different fields are brought together with a
view to re-thinking basic principles and approaches
to design challenges. myTHREAD features novel
formal expressions that adapt to changes in the
environment and increase building performance
through formfitting and lightweight structures.
As a design strategy, myTHREAD also started from
a molecular point-of-view where the singularity of a
single unit such as a zip-tie becomes the building
block for structures of great complexity. Like Nike
Flyknit, which uses simple threads to create a
complex formfitting structure on a performanceenhancing shoe, the fusion of science, architecture,
art and technology open the door to new ways of
thinking about structure and the relationship of the
body to technology. Bio-architecture and digital
architecture deliver solutions, new understandings,
new forms and a way for mathematics and
generative systems to investigate the complexities
of natural form and internal geometries. We are
interested in probing the human body as a biodynamic model that provides new ways of thinking

about issues of performance and adaptation at


an architectural scale. Performance, lightness,
formfitting and sustainability become immediately
relevant architectural criteria. The body, or more
specifically the body in motion, as pure performance
itself, is the starting point of our New York
collaboration for this project. Using Nike+ FuelBand
technology to collect motion data from a community
of runners during an earlier Nike Flyknit workshop,
we transformed the patterns of this biological data
into the geometry and material of knitted structure,
based on prototypes developed during workshop
sessions. The surface patterns are generated by
dynamic body data via 3D-modeling environments
to form a material construct for a unique response
to the formfitting question delivered in the original
Nike Flyknit Collective brief.
This process seeks to understand and intuit spatial
patterns within data sets, patterns that through
study and analysis lead to multi-scalar textile
tectonics. The process gives rise to questions
about visualization of data, technology and how we
as people interface and interact with information.
By investigating loops that filter datasets through
material organizations, myTHREAD also seeks to
empower individuals by unfolding and revealing
matters of information and knowledge through
alternative modes of access. The increased stores
of information available within design technology
are insisting on new models for information
mediation, collaboration and seeing amidst an
ever-increasingly complicated information context.

We are interested
in probing the
human body as a
bio- dynamic model
that provides new
ways of thinking
about issues of
performance and
adaptation at an
architectural scale.

The surface patterns


are generated by
dynamic body data
via 3D modeling
environments to form
a material construct
for a unique
response to the
formfitting question
delivered in the
original Nike Flyknit
Collective brief.

113

114

Here, data is no longer represented as a static


image, but rather in a dynamic knitted model, which
is driven by the code inherent to the archetype of
knitting. The myTHREAD Pavilion is the result of
a collaboration across disciplines and industries
including architecture, textiles, sportswear and
engineering with a harder outside construction and
softer, organic inner material. Composed of adaptive
knitted, solar active, reflective photo luminescent
threads and a steel cable net holding hundreds of
aluminum rings, the simplicity of knitted geometries
meets the complexity of a body in motion. An inner
structure of soft textile based whole garment knit
elements absorbs, collects and delivers light as
the materials react to the presence of people. The
materials response to sunlight as well as physical
participation is an integral part of our exploratory
approach to the subjects of performance and
formfitting. This interaction amplifies the hidden
qualities of the pavilion, embodying the learnings
of each workshop. Linking biology and innovation,
technology and tradition, this is an analog
manifestation of not just the benefits of Nike
Flyknit, but also the activities and performance
of the individuals that went into its making. This
installations adaptable sensitivity and flexibility
mirrors the human form. It is its own environment,
its own community and its own energy.

Here, data is no longer represented as


a static image, but
rather in a dynamic
knitted model, which
is driven by the code
inherent to the archetype of knitting.

The materials
response to sunlight
as well as physical
participation is an
integral part of our
exploratory approach to
the subjects of
performance and
formfitting.

115

CREDITS

my Thread Pavilion by
Jenny Sabin Studio
on view September 15 - November 10, 2012
Nike Stadium NYC, 276 Bowery
The myThread Pavilion was commissioned by Nike
Inc. for the International Nike FlyKnit Collective.
Jenny Sabin was selected as 1 of 6 innovators from
around the globe to contribute an original work for
the Collective inspired by the Nike FlyKnit technology and its core benefits. Sabin led the NYC FlyKnit
Collective.

While the project


in its current state
produces relatively

Architectural Designer and Artist:


Jenny E. Sabin

small and fragile


wax objects, we
believe that the

Design and Production Team:


James Blair, Simin Wang, Martin Miller, Meagan
Whetstone, Brian Heller, Nicola McElroy

approach could
be extended
with significant
architectural

Consulting Engineer:
Daniel Bosia, AKT Engineers
Consulting Textile Designer:
Anne Emlein
Fabricator:
Shima Seiki, Dazian Fabrics, Smucker Laser
Installation Crew:
Leslie Cacciapaglia, Aaron Gensler, Mi Young
Kang, Rachel Kaplan, Jae Won Kim, Zhongtian Lin,
Liangjie Wu, Younjin Yi, Zhenni Zhu
Lighting:
Kayne Live

116

implications.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.110: interior view with photoluminescent threads


activated.
Image credit: courtesy of Nike Inc.
pp.112-113: interior view on opening night.
Image credit: Simin Wang
p.112: axonometric diagrams, Jenny Sabin Studio
p.114 top: view of interior with solar threads
activated.
Image credit: courtesy of Nike Inc.
p.114 bottom: seam diagram for individual
knitted cones. Jenny Sabin Studio
p.115: interior view with Jenny Sabin
Image credit: courtesy of Nike Inc.
pp.116-117: exterior view with ring nets and
entry doors. Image credit: courtesy of Nike Inc.

117

ROBOTS
Wes Mcgee and Brandon Clifford
Alexandre Dubor and Gabriel Bello Diaz

Zuliang Guo, David de Cspedes,


Justin Tingue, and Andrew Wolking
Harold Solie, Bennett Scorcia,
Mark Wright, and Ning Zhou
Michael Jeffers and Jordan Parsons
Andreas Trummer

118

La Voute de Fevre
Magnetic Architecture:
Communicating with Material
Vertical Territories of Recursion

deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS

Recursionism
Mill to Fit

119

120

ROBOTS

DE LE FEVRE
LA VOUTE
Wes Mcgee, Taubman College University of Michigan, Matter Design
Brandon Clifford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Matter Design
La Vote de LeFevre is a mashup of ancient
stereotomic vault construction with contemporary
computation and advanced fabrication. The vault is
a compression-only structure calculated through a
custom particle-spring physics simulation program
to determine how large each units opening should
be in order to adjust its volume, and therefore mass,
in relation to its neighbors. This project exemplifies
Matter Designs dedication to translating past (and
often lost) methods into contemporary culture.
We are truly conflicted. We are pre-occupied with
computational design and digital fabrication commonly assumed to be rapid, fashionable, and
surfacial, though simultaneously pre-occupied with
volume - thick, heavy, ancient, and permanent. We
also maintain an emphasis on speculation, and yet
our dedication to reality resists this claim. We intend
to innovate and transform the future of architecture,
yet we look to history in order to do so. Somewhere
in this milieu of confusion and confliction is the
kernel that defines us. Marc Jarzombek recently
suggested one could determine how well a society

is doing by their ability to precisely carve stone.


We like his metric for its simplicity, but also for
its assumption that we must not be doing so well
today. So much of the discussion surrounding the
digital in design has focused on the surface. We
are not immune. Much of our previous research has
dealt with the economically friendly sheet material,
while maintaining a common thread of a dedication
to volume. This dedication originally manifested in
volumetric occupation through bending from 2D to
3D. More recently this desire has formalized into
stereotomic (the art of cutting solids, most typically
stone) research with such projects as Periscope:
Foam Tower and Temporal Tenancy.
These projects mined the past knowledge of
stereotomy as a way to robotically carve foam for
temporary installations. The irony of these projects
is the transfer of knowledge from heavy stone
construction to an application for light temporary
projects that require tensile cables to stabilize. While
the irony exists, these exercises in carving solids
could also be applied to materials with significant

We also maintain
an emphasis on
speculation, and
yet our dedication
to reality resists this
claim.

These projects
mined the past
knowledge of
stereotomy as a
way to robotically
carve foam.

121

The purpose of
this research
is not to revert
to antiquated
architecture. It
is intended to
re-engage in a
problem unfamiliar
to our contemporary
culture.

122

mass as a way to re-engage the thick, heavy,


and permanent compression-only architecture of
the past. La Vote de LeFevre is the result of a
proposal dedicated to constructing a contemporary
compression-only structure. This proposal is
intended to rarify some of the claims surrounding
re-inserting mass and volume back into our
discourse. When posited the task of building a fullscale project with heavy and volumetric process,
two obstacles emergedassurance and ambition.
How can we guarantee a vault with significant mass
will stand, and how can we build a project of such
volumetric scale on budget and schedule? The
answers existed in these two words - computation
and fabrication. The vault is computed with a
solver-based model that elicits a compression-only
structure, from a non-ideal geometry. The model
requires a fixed geometry as input, and opens
apertures in order to vary the weight of each unit.
This dynamic system re-configures the weight of
the units based on a volumetric calculation. If unit
A contains twice the volume of unit B, then unit
A weights twice as much. The computed result
produces a project that will stand forever as there is
zero tension in the system precisely because of the
weight and volume of the project, and not in spite
of it. The vault is composed of Baltic Birch plywood
sourced in three quarter inch thick sheets.
Each custom voussoir is sliced and cut from the

sheets, and then physically re-constituted into


a rough volumetric form of their final geometry.
These roughs are indexed onto a full sheet and
glued, vacuum pressed, and re-placed onto the
5-axis CNC router. The tool-paths (swarfs) used
are dedicated to removing the most material with
the least effort. Instead of requiring the end of the
bit to do the work, this path uses the edge of the
bit to remove much more material. Because this
method traces the geometry with a line as opposed
to point, it requires the units be constituted of ruled
surfaces, hence the conical-boolean geometry. As
these units transition down to the column (below
the calculation as the columns contain only vertical
thrust vectors) the rhetoric of the units continue as if
to say the weight is increasing. The purpose of this
research is not to revert to antiquated architecture.
It is intended to re-engage in a problem unfamiliar
to our contemporary culture. This unfamiliar terrain
produces a new monster. An architecture that is
somehow ancient yet contemporary, heavy yet light,
familiar yet alien.

123

124

ROBOTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Project funding by the Howard E. LeFevre 29


Emerging Practitioner Fellowship
Fabrication support by the University of Michigan
TCAUP FABLab
Nesting Software provided by TDM Solutions

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.120: View of the installation


pp.122-123 top: Elevation view of the installation,
La Vote de LeFevre 2012
p.123 bottom left and right: Column Details
p.124 top: 5-Axis Swarf Milling
p.124 centre: Tools in sequence
p.124 bottom: Array of unique construction units
p.125 top: Rough Approximation of Units in 5-Axis
Mill
p.125 bottom: Assembly Process

CREDITS

Matter Design - Brandon Clifford, Wes Mcgee

PROJECT TEAM
Jake Haggmark, Maciej Kaczynski, Aaron Willette

BUILD TEAM

Edgar Ascao, Kristy Balliet, Katherine Bennette,


Beth Blostein, Jenna Bolino, Chris Carbone, Tim
Cousino, Anthony Gagliardi, Brian Koehler, Darwin
Menjivar, Paul Miller, Tony Nguyen, Bart Overly,
Aaron Powers, Steve Sarver, Katy Viccellio, Sean
Zielinski

125

126

ROBOTS

MAGNETIC ARCHITECTURE:
Communicating with Material
Alexandre Dubor and Gabriel Bello Diaz,
IAAC - Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunya
Magnetic Architecture is a research child of
materiality, code, tectonics and robotics that
stretches into the architectural design process.
Research within the field of Magnetic Architecture
triggers the visibility of new data through observing
affects between a controlled magnetic field, and
responding geometric formations of a magnetic
material subjected to the field. Hence the project
encouraged us to implement sensor technology
and mapping software in order to record, visualize
and be able to analyze how the magnetic material
responses and behaves when manipulated within
the magnetic field. Using magnetic energy to explore
a freeform approach suggests an alternative to 3D
printing at building scale. Magnetic Architecture
aims at the development of a new building process
that focuses on an iron based material controlled
with magnets. One future goal of the project is
to set up this process in the building scale using
recycled and granular material.

COMPOSING MAGNETIC MATERIAL

Our first approach into this research was to


investigate how our raw ingredient iron with
its magnetic property changed its behavior
once mixed with different materials, in different

quantitative amounts. This set of experiments was


accompanied by the search for locations where
the resource magnetic material naturally exists;
mapping junk-yards and black sand beaches, which
contain large amounts of magnetite, became more
relevant throughout the mapping process.
During the first material tests we primarily aimed at
an optimization of structural soundness. We tried
to establish which material mixes well with the
main ingredient iron, solidified and strengthened
our prototypes. After thirty-two different material
combinations in 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 plastic boxes,
sixteen proved to be fit for further steps. A material
combination of liquid latex, concrete, water, yellow
acrylic paint and iron fillings proofed to be the
strongest combination. This formation was also
used to explore the nature of material-specific
connections. Understanding the construction and
tectonics meant getting closer to establish what
exactly was relevant to consider, when coding the
magnets movement and positions to each others
for additive process at later stages.
The selection and manipulation of material
continued as a feedback reaction while working
with and controlling in controlled bigger magnetic
fields.

Research within the


field of Magnetic
Architecture triggers
the visibility of
new data through
observing affects
between a controlled
magnetic field,
and responding
geometric formations
of a magnetic
material subjected to
the field.

127

128

ROBOTS

CONTROLLING CONTROL

Through intense tests with our base material,


raw iron filings, and using various methods in
controlling magnetic fields we finally approached
a stage where we were able to manipulate
magnetic material for an investigation into
additive manufacturing. However, from a digital
perspective, simulation of material positioned
in the magnetic field, and bahaving accordingly,
was close to impossible. Since our mixtures were
constantly upgraded, had different viscosities and
variables of iron aggregate, simulation was always
just a rough estimate. Through manipulating
material ingredients and scale the finalization of
location and simulation was never static and the
question of sustainability in material and process
at an architectural scale remained unanswered
at this stage. The introduction of electromagnets
increased the amount of control over the magnetic
field on one hand and over material in difficult
positions on the other.
After several tests using neodymium magnets we
realized that is was crucial to turn off the magnetic
field when maneuvering the fields in different
positions in order to avoid dragging the exquisitely
placed material along with the movement of the
magnets and the morphing geometry of the field.
Despite seeing potential for several applications for
the electromagnets we focused on manipulating
the magnetic field only and pushing the options
for designing the actual construction tool. During
the design development stages we considered
countless ways of how the magnets could move
and position themselves, the most complex cones
featuring six magnets on one tool a the same time.
Changing scales during the prototyping phase
provided the biggest challenge, since materials
behave differently in different scales, and therefore
control of the magnetic field was challenging.
Increasing complexity drove the design decisionmaking process for Magnetic Architecture.

CONTROLLING LOGIC

The true relevance of our research into architecture


can be described as introducing design knowledge
as logic into scripting. Some of our sketches and
models began to suggest what the final outcome
could be, how it could look like and how it could
perform. At the same time they raised basic
questions regarding the design process, such as:
What is the logic behind positioning the magnetic
field? We were looking at this question from a
different point of view by asking: What separates
the electromagnet from the material? From this
question onwards, prototypes were defined as
molds that can provide us with in insight into the
materials connection, and overall end result in
logic and aesthetic. Through the different types
of simulations designed for a magnetic material
entering the magnetic field, none provided what
actually happens once the material enters the
field. Using artificial vision allowed us to see the
mixtures formation. Thus the material could inform
the system through a set of boundaries on how and
where to establish the next position of aggregation.
This incremental building method was our first step
to incorporating sensors into robotics. Our current
approach was pulling in environmental data to set
up some of these boundaries that translates into
code for building. Aim was to regulate the density of
material through a surface and to still adhere to the
incremental building rules generated through the
artificial vision data collection on how and where
to establish the next position of aggregation. This
incremental building method was our first step to
incorporating sensors into robotics.
Our current approach is pulling in environmental
data to set up some of these boundaries that
translates into code for building. It would essentially
regulate the density of material through a surface
and would still adhere to the incremental building
rules generated through the artificial vision data
collection.

Increasing
complexity drove
the design decisionmaking process
for Magnetic
Architecture.

The true relevance


of our research into
architecture can
be described as
introducing design
knowledge as logic
into scripting.

129

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.126: blue model 20cm long structural formulation


p.128 top: MA Tool on 6axis moving and controlling
positions of electromagnet using 6 axis and a robot.
p.128 bottom: material samples as result of
continuing selection and manipulation of material,
exposed in bigger magnetic fields
p.129: generative rules, incremental building
method showing first steps to equip the robot
with sensors. Using environmental data to set up
boundaries that translate into code for fabrication
p.130: final model, one of the final results
p.131: yellow formation, one of of the strongest
combinations during the first project stages: liquid
latex, concrete, water, yellow acrylic paint and iron
fillings

130

ROBOTS

CONTROLLING RESEARCH

At this stage we can successfully create magnetic


formations of approximately 20cm length. With
specific coding, they could be used to build a wall
and theoretically a complete structure. However,
since our current design of electromagnets is
nowhere near the size necessary for a project
on an architectural scale, we are envisioning
the use of junkyard size electromagnets. Yet, as
we continue to change the parameters of each
element affecting the other, it is possible that upscaling in size might not be necessary. The way the
research is set up it has a tremendous potential to
unleash an innovative way of understanding what it
means to build with robots. Additive manufacturing
could receive a great push in architecture once
our research obtains more momentum. Due to
financial constraints in prototyping, equipment,
and space to test, this process is slow. Magnetic
Architecture is not just architecture, but a
platform in which we overlap many disciplines
and technologies. Communicating with magnetic
material gives direction to embrace technologies
for future investigation and can shed light on ways
to program intuition for robotic systems, not just in
architecture.

REFERENCES

Sigrid Brell-Cokcan, Johannes Braumann, RobArch 2012: Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art
and Design, Vienna: Springer, 2013.
Neri Oxman, Digital Craft: Fabrication Based Design in the Age of Digital Production, 2007.
Lisa Iwamoto, Digital Fabrications: Architectural
and Material Techniques, 2009.
Sistemay Consultores S.A., Sustainable Design
Analysis and Building Information Modeling, 2010.
Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, Digital
Materiality in Architecture, Zurich: Lars Mller
Publishers, 2008.
Manuel De Landa, Material Complexity, presented
at Digital Tectonics Bath, UK, 2002.
Jerome Frumar, Code to Craft: Beyond the Voxel,
2007.
Jaspar Morrison, Everything but the Walls, Zurich:
Lars Mller Verlag, 2006.
B.D. Cullity, C.D. Graham, Introduction to Magnetic
Materials, London: Wiley, 2008.
William Gilbert, De Magnete, NY: Dover Publications, 1991.

131

132

ROBOTS

VERTICAL TERRITORIES OF RECURSION


David M. de Cespedes, Justin Tingue, Zullang Guo, and Andrew Wolking,
Taubman College University of Michigan
Vertical Territories of Recursion was a designfabrication exploration at Taubman College
during Fall 2012. The studio worked through the
lens of apophenia, meaning the perceiving of
patterns in otherwise random or meaningless
data. In contemporary architectural research
the complementary nature of robotic fabrication
and non-Euclidean spatial constructs reveals
a shift in the role of the architect: from a precise
designer of space to the indirect administrator of
autonomous construction protocols. Space is no
longer determined through the standard plan,
section and elevation. Instead the construction
process has shifted to one that relies on toolpaths,
speeds, and flows of material. Thus, space is
formed through the playing-out of a set of abstract

data sets, or protocols. These protocols may not


necessarily be static, and rather, they work in
a feedback loop, which negotiates the schism
between an ideal geometry of the toolpath and the
final spatial construct. This schism is defined by all
of the external forces that act on the material being
worked, in this case deposited plastic.

The studio worked


through the lens of
apophenia, or the
seeing of patterns in
otherwise meaningless data.

FABRICATING VERTICAL TERRITORIES

Deposition techniques in most cases depend on


an external support apparatus; they are infinitely
moldable, yet unable to hold a form on their
own. Using the unique properties and behavioral
characteristics of plastic, robotic thermaldeposition, serves as the methodology to replace
an external support structure, transitioning from

Space is formed
through the playingout of a set of
abstract data sets, or
protocols.

133

134

infinitely moldable geometries to fully structural


artefacts in an instant. Thermal-deposition as
used in Vertical Territories of Recursion features
two construction protocols: stretch and flow.
Aggregations of stretched deposits create the
formerly called support apparatus, a frame-like
three-dimensional lattice, which designates microspatial compartments. Upon this lattice the flow
protocol of continuous deposition is administered as
needed. The lattice is draped with liquidized plastic,
which, during the solidification process, merges
with, structures and encapsulates the macro-space
set up through the stretching protocol. It is upon
this solidified, mono-material spatial construct that
successive sets of spaces are built. Recursion
occurs after each cycle of deposition. A robotically
controlled lens captures and analyzes the recently
deposited aggregation and determines the most
appropriate locations to serve as the datum points
for the next aggregation. The relationship set up
between the depositing robot and the analysis
robot sets an evolutionary process into motion.
Simple rules associated with the tasks of each
robot allow for a precise unpredictability within the

The lattice is draped


with liquidized
plastic, which, during the solidification
process, merges
with, structures and
encapsulates the
macro-space.

Resulting territories
exhibit vast spatial
differentiation, ranging from moments of
porosity to moments
of extreme density.

135

136

ROBOTS

system, derived from the specific properties of the


plastic and the forces acting upon it at the moment
of deposition. This relationship between materiality
and external forces allows for extreme formal
deviation within a set of simple linear toolpaths.

SPATIAL VERTICAL GEOLOGY

Resulting spaces exhibit and suggest vast territorial


differentiation, ranging from moments of porosity to
moments of extreme density. The shifting nature of
the spatial configuration allows for a dynamic feed
back loop between the spatial properties and future
stages of deposition. As the system aggregates,
continuously shifting gradients of space occur as a
vertical territory without the hierarchy and repetition,
typically associated in current vertical structures.
Construction sites within the aggregated fantastical
vertical territory of recursion are unrecognizable;
they are uninhabited to the naive eye, at least.
The near silent efficiency of thermo-depositers
moving in choreographed precision construct new
spaces in perpetuity; each level indifferent to the
last, save for datum points. The sudden and covert
appearance of the vertical territories has more in
common with the geologic than the architectonic.
They appear as though they are natural and have
always been there, certainly not the result of a
precise robotic construction process. Spatially,
however it behaves in a way that would be familiar
to any occupant, with one key difference. The
intense variation denies traditional habitation of
the vertical. Instead, the structure offers spaces
of varying porosity, density, size and form. The
vertical territory has a multiplicity of centers and
peripheries, renegotiating the politics and agency
of vertical aggregations and the space formed.

The vertical territory


has a multiplicity of
centers and peripheries, renegotiating the
politics and agency
of vertical aggregations and the space
formed.

ILLUSTRATION

p.132: juxtaposition of the density of space with


moments of porosity suggests the variations of
spatial typologies achieved through the fabrication
process.
pp.134-135: Vertical aggregations consolidate a
vast horizontal territory
p.134 bottom: The robotic plastic extruder executes
a stretch protocol
p.135: A completed aggregation of stretch
protocols
p.136: deposition protocols and the camera eye,
overlaid.
p.137: occupied vertical territory under construction

137

138

ROBOTS

deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS
Harold Sprague Solie, Mark Wright, Ning Zhou, and Bennett Scorcia,
Taubman College University of Michigan
deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS also takes its
cue from a phenomenon known as Apophenia,
perceiving of patterns in otherwise random or
meaningless data. If used advantageously,
Apophenia can allow for multiple readings within
a single spatial environment. The project attempts
to leverage a basic architectural proto-condition to
test out the implications and possibilities inherent
within this phenomenon. The goal is to create a
system, which by oscillating between complete
control and a total absence of control allows its
users to interpret their environment in a variety of
ways. The architectural proto-condition describes
the aperture, the physical ly constructed typology
tak the panelized wall system. Main goals of the
project were
a) to create systems of control that maximize output

while minimizing input, using parametric design


software and large-scale fabrication technologies
in parallel
b) to develop simple design methodologies able to
generate complex outcomes.
Embedded within this logic is the notion that the
designer is removed from the final representation,
and replaced by the user during the final design
stages. By eliminating control from the initial
designer, the user becomes part of the design
process and is free to create his or her own realities
and fictions through an apophenic response to an
amorphous environment. To accomplish our set
goals the work has utilized a variety of parametric
design software in combination with emerging
fabrication technologies, such as a 5-axis robotic
milling.

The project attempts


to leverage a basic
architectural protocondition to test
out the implications
and possibilities
inherent within this
phenomenon.

Embedded within
this logic is the
notion that the
designer is removed
from the final
representation.

139

140

ROBOTICS

GEOMETRY LOGIC TO
ROBOTIC FABRICATION

In an attempt to filter the project from highly


controlled condition through levels of unbridled
form generation, the starting point for
deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS was a basic grid
logic. Hence the project had a solid foundation
to build on while allowing for future processes to
alter, manipulate and corrupt the system. Through
rigorous geometric and patterning studies, a Cairo
Tessellation grid pattern was finally chosen, mainly
due to its ability to elicit multiple readings of form
and the opportunity to apply a variety of logical
protocols.
The embedded flexibility of the Cairo Tessellation
was used to formulate the basis for the panelization
necessary and to create a pattern of apertures
that could repeat infinitely in the context of any
size and shape required. Within the digital model
we extruded the tessellation pattern to give more
depth to the system; restraints began to vanish and

allowances were made for lesser control over the


design process, since it was desired to increase
the influence of logic integrated in the chosen
fabrication system at play. In order to generate
apertures within a solid mass, the 5-axis robot
uses the so-called swarf cut. The swarf cut was
appropriate for its Boolean logic that informed
the parametric design approach. Its cut operation
simply requires the diameters of a top and bottom
curve to generate a Boolean operation. Apertures
in the Cairo Tessellation panels were created
through a computational design strategy that
randomly generated the necessary top and bottom
curves. Acquired data was subsequently fed into
the fabrication software in order to physically
formulate Boolean operations within the physical
object of the wall. This strategy required a minimum
amount of parametric modeling in order to generate
aperture rich architectural prototypes.

The project had a


solid foundation
to build on while
allowing for future
processes to alter,
manipulate and
corrupt the system.

The swarf cut was


appropriate for
its Boolean logic
that informed the
parametric design
approach.

141

142

CONCLUSIONS ON CONTROL

To allow for randomized and control free panel


aggregation a second level of control feed back into
the system was desired. Since the edge condition
proved to be different than the field condition,
all Boolean operations located on the edges of
each panel received a universal apertures. We
developed a catalogue of panels, each with varied
degrees of opening. This act of control within the
system allowed for a complete relaxation of control
in within the panels. By leveraging emerging
technologies the final construction achieves
its goal of developing a design strategy that
oscillates between top down and bottom up design
process. First, the system is controlled through
the implementation of a base grid for penalization;
next, system control is relaxed through randomized
Boolean curve generation and aperture creation.
Finally, control is fed back into the system through
the manipulation of panel edge conditions to allow
for an aggregation that is completely independent
of control. Through a seemingly randomized
association of apertures and panels, the user is left
to draw their own readings and conclusions from
the project.

By leveraging
emerging
technologies the
final construction
achieves its goal
of developing a
design strategy that
oscillates between
top down and
bottom up design
process.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.138: Close up of large scale aggregation


p.140 top: Image of entire wall prototype
p.140 bottom: Shadows cast by aperture rich
faade
p.141 top: Diagram showing the fabrication logics
for a single panel
p.141 bottom left: Diagram showing the front and
back aggregation scheme for each panel
p.141 bottom right: One of (4) unique panels which
comprise the wall system
pp.142-143: Rendering showing aggregation on a
large scale

CREDITS

Professors:
Matias del Campo
Adam Fure

143

144

ROBOTS

RECURSIONISM

Recursionism was

Jordan C. Parsons and Michael S. Jeffers, Carnegie Mellon University

developed as
an exploratory,
research-based,

Recursionism was developed as an exploratory,


research-based, critique and self-critique of
computation in a design environment. The
argument itself became a methodology of systemic
computation, born from our combined interests,
skills, and thoughts. This methodology was
predicated on an interest in pairing the physical
and digital realms. In order to explore where
computation and fabrication meet, we needed to
establish a fluid relationship between code and
physical material. This relationship was established
through the creation of a computational toolkit,
which allowed us to experiment, design, and test.

The computational toolkit presents a collection of


means and is a method for computational design.
The tools contained within are custom pieces
of software, written by us with the design goal of
testing, shaping and collecting data. They are
arguments we are making. At each step in their
design we inserted assumptions as variables,
constants, which amplified their status as highlevel abstractions of more complex behaviors and
systems. Their standalone value was minimal.
Each was a part of a larger system, through which
these tools leveraged. The whole system with
implementation and coordination of data through

critique and
self-critique of computation in a design
environment.

In order to explore
where computation
and fabrication
meet, we needed
to establish a
fluid relationship
between code and
material.

145

146

ROBOTS

our tools, was flow of logical secision making. A


tool accepted to categories of input.
a) the information that would then lead to the
generation of an architectural form
b) environmental data, constraints, tolerances, and
constants.
A tool would took one variable from the
environment, solar exposure, wind or circulation,
and then performed a series of functions on the
seeded data, transforming it accordinfly. This
transformation could be spatial movement,
increasing the order of pieces of information,
simulation, merely parsing the seed data and
providing feedback or export readable data to
move between tools, or any combination thereof.

MACHINING DATA

All tools designed incorporated data from the


physical world. It was our choice to include
material data, construction processes, machining,
and assembly constraints as part of this data to
be managed through a number of tools. Research
of contemporary work in computation revealed a
disconnect between code and physical material.
Architecture generated in a decidedly a-material
world ot bits brings problems, with even more
advanced computational solutions. Despite the

complex geometric conditions, our material choices


favored economical and standardized materials.
Instead of opting for the more expensive but less
conflicting geometries, the use of the rectangular
dimensional lumber, and sheet materials forced
their strengths and weaknesses onto the
system, and heavily determined joinery detail
resolution. These constraints, while frustrating in
their relentlessness, served as a way to clearly
define problems solved through computation.
ConnectionMatrix and WeightingSystem were
developed in parallel to the joinery tool. It became
a balancing act of system-level goals versus the
local joinery constraints and capabilities. While the
final tools and resultant forms communicated their
current logic, the feedback of these through digital
simulation and physical testing and prototyping
further emphasized the recursive nature of, not
just the system itself, but of its development as
its own design process. The physics tool gave us
an abstract simulation of system scale issues,
showing the connectivity diagram sag and flex
where connections were too thin. The joinery tool
and prototyping joints firstly gave us feedback on
local scale issues and later on tolerances for the
WeightingSystem and ConnectionMatrix to implicit
in the calculations.

A tool accepts a
series of inputs,
one being the
information that
would then lead to
the generation of an
architectural form,
the others being
environmental
data, constraints,
tolerances, and
constants.

Architecture
generated in a
decidedly a-material
world brings
problems, with even
more advanced
computational
solutions.

147

Architect

pt Program

pt Wind

srf Population

pt Circulation

cm Structure

cmPhysics

srf Solar

cs Joinery

cs 2DPacker

Site
Wind

csRobCVLabel
Solar

World

148

Material

Fabrication and assembly also served as another


data stream, influencing tolerance and material
manipulation techniques. While material more dramatically affected the resultant geometries, it is the
nature of the computer numerically controlled machine that our output was to be paired with. The
connections, 1x2 pine members, were arranged
via BinPack, a simple binpacking algorithm, but
with the additional task of following each unique
member through the sorting so each unique connection could be found for assembly. Creating a
nomenclature to track and assist in assembly processes was crucial, and involved an understanding
of the data structure of the nodes, and connections
in the output data, not spatially, but topologically.
The final assembly being a massive web of nodes
selectively connecting to neighbors also demanded very particular construction logic. By using
machines that could track and mark these pieces
with all of the local scale information with relevant
associations, it ensured that no piece could be misplaced.

connection, its respective nodes, with fingers


assembled. This feature allowed those assembling
teh structure to confirm and physically debug any
anomalies that may have occurred due to human
error.
The final assembly itself became an event on its
own. Selfless individuals volunteered and built with
us after all the pieces were fabricated. Many cycled
in and out, some for only minutes. The logic and
clear nomenclature allowed for anyone to quickly
understand, and know exactly what piece to put
with another. The QR code feature, despite its
extra level of information, became a rarely used
contingency, as the logic of the assembly was
successful in its attempts to clarify the execution of
a complex geometry.

ROBOTS

TOOLING RECURSIONISM

While the final tools


and resultant forms
communicate their
current logic, the
feedback of these
through digital
simulation and
physical testing
and prototyping
further emphasizes
the recursive nature
of, not just the
system itself, but
of its development
as its own design
process.

ID

The assembly logic is simple. Each node would


be given a unique identifying number. Each
connection would too be given a number. The joint
design consists of a plywood plate, oriented in
the XY plane of the final assembly. Bent plasma
cut fingers would then be placed on the positive
or negative face of this plate, and registered into
a bolt-hole pattern at the fingers location, locking
the XY angle and the negative or positive direction
of the attaching connection. The plate was marked
with local finger identifying letters, starting at A
on each node plate. Each plasma-cut finger was
marked with its parent node ID number, and its
finger ID letter and sign. The shape of the finger
was designed to be folded and bolted to an end
of a connecting member, registering the Z angle
off of a given node plate. Each connection was
milled with a standardized hole pattern at a
registered distance off each end. The only unique
dimensional aspect of a connection was its exact
length. They were labeled with the connections
ID number, along with the pair of node IDs it was
connecting, including each nodes respective finger
ID letter it was to be bolted to.
This nomenclature limited set of object types,
and simple connection methods made the entire
assembly drawing free. Construction could be
entirely self-organized, little prior instruction and
no supplementary documents were needed. Since
the etch-cut time was too long to include all of the
label information, connection pieces were marked
with their ID number and labeled with a printed
sticker at a later stage. The sticker featured a
QR code linking to a website that hosted a unique
.gif animation of the 3D-mesh geometry of each

Each plasma-cut
finger was marked
with its parent node
ID number, and its
finger ID letter and
sign.

This nomenclature,
limited set of object
types, and simple
connection methods
made the entire
assembly drawing
free.

The logic and


clear nomenclature
allowed for
anyone to quickly
understand, and
know exactly what
piece to put with
another.

149

150

ILLUSTRATION
p.144: Detail of the assembly of plate #86 in the
final instantiation. The assembly, relationships of
parts, and identifying nomenclature makes physical
what was only understood in an abstract virtual
realm.
p.146 top: The plywood plates, serving as the
node of the joinery strategy, are seen here each
with their registered hole pattern locking the XY
angle of each finger. Etched with the plate ID, the
local-finger ID letter and sign, the local and global
assembly nomenclature is present.
p.146 bottom: Plasma cutting fingers - The capability and universal adaptability of tool-end of a robotic
arm allowed us to more fully control processes,
tooling, and tolerances of our operations. Seen
here is one such arm equipped with a plasma torch.
p.147: Prog script capture - The program manipulates the point cloud data through an attractionrepulsion relationship of spatial information. This
local system reaches a dynamic equilibrium at the

intersection of the attraction and repulsion forces


where the two become equal in their influence.
p.148 top: Diagram of the flow of data, input
sources, destinations, demonstrating the hierarchy
of tools, associations, local and global feedback
loops of information. We as architects of the
system included ourselves as agents, evaluating
qualitative feedback and parsing input data like any
other tool in the toolkit.
p.148 bottom: WeightingSystem and ConnectionMatrix algorithms are seen here evaluating local
scale tolerances, negatively scoring, versus system scale connectivity maintenance and simple
structural logics, positively scoring particular connections to be removed and then re-evaluated in
the recursive solver.
p.150-151: Entire final instantiation. Perception of
the instantiation revealed the relationship between
low-level logics to a higher level perception and
understanding on the part of the observer.

151

152

ROBOTS

MILL TO FIT
Andreas Trummer, Felix Amtsberg, and Stefan Peters, Technical University Graz
A significant increase of industrial robots used
in architectural workshops not only mirrors a
new approach in tooling and processing but also
influences the discussion about material and
making in general. After years of researching
and prototyping the academic community gives
feedback to a high efficient building industry. This
article features two prototypes that investigate the
use of an industrial robot as a milling machine. Both
projects were developed at Technical University
Graz. Architectural innovation is often inspired
and driven by technological developments; most
notable are material innovations like steel, concrete
or float glass. In the past decade the computational
influence on architectural design and building
processes is widely discussed and provides a kind
of playground for young academics and industrial
manufacturers at the same time. As one result
architectural projects characterized by highly

expressive, smooth, double curved geometries


emerge.1 However, in many cases the structural
elements provided by the building industry are
hardly compatible with the architectural design
intention. Given that design tools and ideas change
rapidly and the development of building products in
comparison follows with moderate speed, it is not
surprising that a rather large gap between design
and production had occured. Researching at the
edge means that digital tooling and processing
enhance the design process as well as the
industrial process. Knowledge about digital tooling
can bring these two positions closer together. From
this point of view architectural design requirements
and research cause industrial transformations.
Besides these new digital methods for plastic
deformation of steel-, and glass-sheets, milling and
grinding set new standards in prefabrication of high
precise assembly sets.

After years of
researching
and prototyping
the academic
community gives
feedback to a high
efficient building
industry.

153

MILLING

Attaching the
spindle as an end
effector to the head
plate of an industrial
robot transforms the
robot into a precise
milling machine,
which can be
especially useful
for load-bearing
elements.

Milling is defined as a tooling process using a


high speed-rotating spindle with an attached tool
that grinds a fixed work-piece. It is one method
of tooling used in the building industry everyday.
Although milling is a highly flexible kind of tooling,
the process is time consuming and compared to
other tooling methods such as cutting it produces
large amounts of waste. Besides the properties
of the chosen material, taking into account that a
material with higher stiffness also owns a higher
grade of hardness, which may result in a longer and
less economical production process, the way workpiece and tool are fixed and clamped influences
the strategy of each individual tooling process.
Attaching the spindle as an end effector to the head
plate of an industrial robot transforms the robot into
a precise milling machine, which can be especially
useful for load-bearing elements, designed to
pass on compression forces from one surface to
the next. The large double curved roof structure
of the Centre Pompidou in Metz, France, where
timber was chosen for its material properties, and
the Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago
is designed as a steel grid shell show the direct
influence and impact of material properties on
the milling process. In the case of steel the goal
of milling was to achieve a precise geometry
for jointing while timber allows milling an overall
double curved shape. In both cases the correlation
between hardness, machinability of the material
and the amount of waste material was taken into
account, and the strategy of handling digital data
within the manufacturing process from design to
fabricating numerous non-uniform elements was
optimized.

ROBOT MILLED PROTOTYPES


The ABB IRB 6660
is sits on a high
precise traversing
rail to reach a
range of operation
of 6.0m x 1.2m x
1.2m.

154

Rethinking design and research at Technical


University Graz, required a recontextualization of
all existing facilities of model building and structural
testing equipment in the architectural workshops
and mechanical labs. The faculty of architecture
and civil engineering established the Roboter
Design Labor focusing on Resource-efficient
nonstandard Structures2 and installed the industrial

robot ABB IRB 6660, whose specification targets


high precision milling. A characteristic that the Lab
wants to use for producing high performance dry
joints to connect prefabricated elements made
form ultra-high performance concrete (uhpc). One
of the Labs research goals is to proof the usability
of this flexible milling facility in a quasi-industrial
environment. Robot based milling, as a low cost
alternative may be the key to return knowledge on
using industrial robots from architectural research
to the building industry. The two case studies
featured here describe the on-going approach at
the Roboter Design Labor at Technical University
Graz, where prototypes are used for testing the
machining facility as a milling machine.
The ABB IRB 6660 sits on a high precise traversing
rail to reach a range of operation of 6.0m x 1.2m x
1.2m, which is part of the customized machinery.
Beside the stiffness of the machine and the working
table, orientation of the tool-center-point has to be
taken in consideration. All boundary conditions
clearly influence the milling process and the final
result. In order to minimize possible failure and to
predict the result of best fitting and milled surfaces
we developed a measuring and compensating
procedure. Nevertheless the process is controlled
and driven by an engineer and the result depends
strongly on the experience and knowledge of the
design team.

ROBOTS

L-PANTHER

L-Panther3 designed by groszstadt is a series of


versatile objects to be used as furniture. L-Panther
is based on the idea to remove material in the
volume of an animal from a 3-dimensional Lshaped letter. This prize winning project acted as
foundation for a research project investigating a
complex 5-axis milling task done in plywood. The
complexity of deep undercuts gave an idea of the
limits of tooling.
Firstly we developed a production strategy, that
separated the solid in several layers of plywood.
Secondly one layer was milled to set the first step
for proof of feasibility. It was desired and predicted
that after reassembling no further manual craft
and finishing would be necessary. To minimize the
influencing parameter of clamping, we positioned
the work-piece vertically, avoiding repositioning
during the milling process. Hence the toolorientation had to change in an extreme range.
Using a lollypop milling tool the final surface quality
strongly depended on the resolution of the tool
path and duration of the milling process. To reach
all areas of tooling the tool as well the geometry
of the work piece were reviewed and if necessary
redesigned after each milling loop. This process
can be described as highly complex, digitally
supported hand crafting.

It was desired and


predicted that after
reassembling no
further manual craft
and finishing would
be necessary.

155

ROB-ARCH

This project
revealed the
importance of
precise milling in
consideration of
geometry and flow
of force, whereas
the parametric
model considered
boundary conditions
of geometry, force
and material.

Depending on
material and time
resources we can
differ in processes
that change the
overall shape of
structural elements

The second prototype, the Rob-Arch4 was the


product of a RobIArch 2012 workshop, based
at Technical University Graz. Rob-Arch is a
parametrically designed parabolic arch made
from high porous glass foam, commonly used
as insulation material. Fifteen individually milled
stones were put together using dry joints. The
area of the contact faces depended on the flow
of forces. This project revealed the importance of
precise milling in consideration of geometry and
flow of force, and the parametric model considered
boundary conditions of geometry, force and
material. Proof of ability concerning the milling path
and collisions and effects of material and tooling
affecting the global model, had to be looked at
separately. The milling tool was the initial point for
the CAM process. We developed the geometry in
Rhinoceros transferred it to the milling software
hypermill. The milling process was separated
in a rough and a fine cut, using the same tool.
Subsequently Pi-path generated the CNC-file for
the ABB IRB 6660 robot. The final pieces were
transported to Vienna, assembled and exhibited at
RobIArch 2012.

and in processes
that finish joints
to get a precise
prefabricated assembly set.

156

OUTLOOK

Robot based milling is one part of the dynamic


research activities taking place in the field of digital
tooling, fabrication and robots in architecture, art

and design. Schools of architecture continuously


increase their robotic facilities, which allows
research to move of from a model scale to almost
full building or building component scale. A variety
of very different examples show the skill of the
building industry to successfully providing milling
for specific tasks. Depending on material and
time resources we differentiate in processes that
change the overall shape of structural elements
and in processes that finish joints to get a precise
prefabricated assembly set. However, we should
keep in mind, that no structure can be assembled
without tolerances. An increasing knowledge
of milling arising in the field of architecture also
triggers the question of how to develop strategies
to integrate tooling in the design process at an
early stage. As an example the Framed Pavilion4
focuses on parametric jointing. The project proved
that profound knowledge about milling is absolutely
necessary to arrive at a successful result. In the
age of digital manufacturing, it is crucial to integrate
as many parameters as possible along the chain
from design to production. While the consistent
integration of milling data in a parametric design
environment is just a question of the complexity of
the task, the feedback of milling experience into a
design process is still a question of interpersonal
communication. It is one goal of architectural
education to provide adequate tools to distribute
this knowledge to the next generation of architects.

ROBOTS

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. Examples for glass bending are


a) the glass and faade manufacturer seele who
designed, built and uses the biggest tempering furnace (3.2mx14m) featuring uniaxial glass-bending.
www.seele.com/news/neuer-vorspann-ofen-beider-sedak
b) BEMO Systems developed an in-situ robot
based metal sheet bending facility for cutting,
rolling and bending, since glass forming requires
large amounts of energy and specific indoor
conditions. BEMOs individually formed cladding
panels are used to cover double curved faade and
roof structures. www.bemo.com
2. www.ite.tugraz.at
3. www.groszstadt.eu/production/l-panther
4. A. Trummer, F. Amtsberg, St. Peters, Mill to Fit,
RobIArch, Vienna, 2012.
5. R. Dank, Ch. Freissling, The Framed Pavilion,
Rob Arch, Vienna, 2012, see feature image chapter building.

ILLUSTRATIONS

pp.152, 154 top: Roboter Design Labor, Technical


University Graz Calibrating of the tool center point
p.154 bottom: L-Panther, 5 axis milling of plywood
p.155: L-Panther, Production strategy
p.156: The Rob-arch, Semperdepot, Vienna, 2012
p.157 top: milling of joints for Framed Pavilion,
copyright: Institut fr Architektur und Medien der
TU Graz, IAM, Richard Dank, Christian Freisling
p.157 center, bottom: Rob-arch milling and testing
at Technical University, Graz.

157

INTERFACE
Benjamin Rice
Madeline Gannon

Panagiatos Michalatos

Guvenc Ozel

158

Vivarium
Reverberations Across the Divide:
Connecting Digital and Physical Contexts
The Environment as a Signal:
The Architect as a User
Cerebral Hut

159

160

INTERFACE

VIVARIUM
Benjamin Rice, University of California Berkeley, Matter Management

Instigating a spatio-temporal bridge between


biology, cybernetics, media, and architecture,
Vivarium fused organic, inorganic, robotic
and virtual life-forms in an attempt to create a
differential alien ecology. Key to achieving this
condition was an open feedback loop that existed
within the project. The system was developed
through the integration and interaction of hardware
data collection devices, custom software suites,
natural and artificial organisms, as well as human
participants. This direct, reciprocal involvement
of interactive technologies with a variety of other
agents and bodies caused the project, at the
metalevel, to act as an exchange terminal that
evolved and self-stabilized over a period of three
months. Vivarium was built in the Los Angeles
gallery of SCI-Arc following notable exhibitions

by Eric Owen Moss, Xefirotarch, Zaha Hadid,


Eisenman Architects, PATTERNS, and Atelier
Manferdini. Occupying the main floor of the gallery
is a monolithic sunken pyramid that contains a
vivarium, an indoor enclosure consisting of a
collection of organisms that, in this case, are real,
robotic and/or simulated. As a collective, these
organisms generate energy capable of transforming
a freshwater ecosystem into a brackish one, a
process made possible by the permeability controls
that the skin of the pyramid containing the system
produces, and the behavior that the machine
generates.
Digital organisms mimic the behavior of both the
living and robotic microorganisms to intensify
and ease the process. Investigating the physical
and metaphoric space between biology and

Instigating a spatiotemporal bridge


between biology,
cybernetics, media,
and architecture,
Vivarium fused
organic, inorganic,
robotic and virtual
life-forms.

161

Digital organisms
mimic the behavior
of both the living
and robotic
microorganisms
to intensify and
ease the process.
Investigating the
physical and
metaphoric space
between biology
and architecture,
the installation fuses
these organisms
within the vivarium.

Organic material
provided the
origin point for the
process, producing
the initial condition
from which data
could be harvested.

162

architecture, the installation fuses these organisms


within the vivarium, creating a new hybrid ecology
that grows and self-stabilizes []. The exhibition
reflects a shift from the direct experience of life to
the experience of media-augmented environment,
in which flows of energy regulate processes and
generate culture.1
Understanding the potential of architecture and
installation as something that has the capacity to
look beyond issues of figure, material, and program
was central to Vivarium. It synthesized full-spectrum
sensory scapes (visual, audible, tactile) that were
constructed and mediated through a series of
feedback loops interacting with, and generating,
a wide range of natural and artificial organisms.
Organic material provided the origin point for the
process, producing the initial condition from which
data could be harvested. Multiple agents, such as
insects hatching, algae growing, and water turning
brackish, worked at different scales in different
modes of time and space to produce a balanced
field that was seemingly stable at the global level,
while remaining constantly variable locally. While
these global conditions were changing slowly and
the local conditions changing rapidly, information
was being collected through sensors (temperature,
humidity, motion, proximity, salinity) including
microphones on a micro and macro level, and
cameras (motion, still), producing an extensive
and complex set of data. Collected data was fed
and interpreted through a digital brain in order

to produce ever-evolving environments of sight,


sound, smell, taste, and touch. The digital brain
itself consisted of a custom designed Max/MSP
workflow that converted environmental readings
to actionable code that was then used to control
environmental conditions. Different environmental
samples were programmed to alter various aspects
of that environment, triggering changes in humidity,
water salinity or the soundscape of the project. As
these environments developed over time, resulting
iterations were sampled, merged, and structured
in order to continually progress their growth and
to evolve in line with the changing environmental
conditions. This created an open loop that allowed
the project to change constantly and work towards
self-stabilization. The environmental sampling was
continuous throughout the life of the project. As a
system Vivarium presents two distinct modes of
operation working inevitably together; that of an
object oriented organism as exclusively existing,
creating and evolving outside the realm of human
influence and interaction paired with that of an
anthropocentric kineticism, reading and reacting to
the involvement of human participants; changing,
physically and environmentally. This allowed for
additional variation throughout the evolution and
life cycle of the Vivarium, while pushing towards a
type of planetary self-stabilization. The homeostatic
behavior showed a whole that was always read
clearly, even while the constituent parts were in
constant flux.

The data being


collected was fed
and interpreted
through a digital
brain in order
to produce
ever-evolving
environments of
sight, sound, smell.
taste, and touch.
Vivarium therefore
presents two
distinct modes of
operation working
inevitably together;
that of an object
oriented organism
as exclusively
existing, creating
and evolving
outside the realm
of human influence
and interaction
paired with that of
an anthropocentric
kineticism.

163

ILLUSTRATIONS

pp.160 top, 163 bottom left, 164-165: Sensors and


microphones collecting data within the sunken
pyramid. Vacuum-formed trays contain a variety of
biological matter that underwent various stages of
evolutionary change.
pp.162-163: algea growing within the system
p.163 top left: brackish water that emerged during
the duration of the installation.
p.163 right: Vivariums digital brain consisting of
hardware and custom software. This is where the
data being collected within the sunken pyramid is
stored, sorted, interpreted, and then redeployed.
This is also where visitors to the SCI-Arc gallery
could witness the mediated video feed of the
interior of the Vivarium.

CITATIONS

1.http://www.designboom.com/art/juan-azulaymatter-management-vivarium/
designboom [accessed August 2013]

164

165

166

INTERFACE

REVERBERATIONS ACROSS THE DIVIDE:


Connecting digital and physical Contexts
Madeline Gannon, Computational Design Lab, Carnegie Mellon University
There is a palpable disconnect between how
one designs in the digital realm, and how one
realizes a design in the physical realm. A number
of factors contribute to this gap, including a virtual
environments infinite scale, its autonomy from a
tangible context, and its lack of physical materiality.
Reverberating Across the Divide addresses such
issues through a custom computer vision-based
modeling software that merges digital processes
in design with physical processes in fabrication.
This digital-physical workflow takes place in three
cyclical phases: scanning, modeling, and printing.
The process begins in the scanning phase,
which imports a physical context into the virtual
environment. A depth camera translates a physical
space or object into a three-dimensional point cloud.
The point cloud is used as a persistent reference

on which to base a digital design; it gives a sense of


scale and materiality to an otherwise empty virtual
space. The modeling phase creates an expressive
digital form around the previously scanned context.
The same depth camera is used to continuously
capture a designers real-time hand gestures.
These gestures then manipulate an animate digital
geometry within a chronomorphologic modeling
environment. The designer aggregates the animate
3D-model to create complex geometries around
the 3D-scanned context. The printing phase
then translates the digital geometry into physical
matter. Once the geometry is 3D-printed, the
digitally fabricated artifact can then be immediately
embedded into the physical environment. While
the scanning phase imports a physical context
into the virtual environment, the printing phase

167

is the reciprocal: it exports a virtual context to


a physical environment. These complimentary
behaviors [transcribing bits into atoms, and atoms
into bits ] create a closed loop in which a designer
can recursively generate imaginative digital forms
to integrate back into the built environment.

FAB MODELING ENVIRONMENT

The chronomorphologic modeling


environment is
derived from a
nineteenth century photography
technique called
chronophotography.
In chronophotography, sequential
photographs are
captured from an
object in motion.

Therefore, no matter
how intricate or
complex, the digital
geometry will
always be exported
as a valid, 3D
printable mesh.

168

The chronomorphologic modeling environment


is derived from a nineteenth century photography
technique called chronophotography.
In chronophotography, sequential photographs are
captured from an object in motion. These stills are
then separated into individual frames or collapsed
into a single composite image. tienne-Jules Marey
and Edward Muybridge popularized this technique
with their studies on human and animal movement.
Their photographs revealed the true dynamism in
which animate creatures carve through space and
time. Chronomorphology, like chronophotography,
is a composite recording of an objects movement.
Instead of a photograph, however, the recording
medium is a full three-dimensional model of the
object - a virtual creature simulated within a digital
environment.
This simulated creature is encoded with structural
and behavioral logic. Its form is built around a

soft-body spring model: an elastic skeleton that


keeps the object inflated while facilitating fluid
motion. It can also navigate the virtual environment
semi-autonomously: swarm behaviors, such as
steering, seeking, and avoiding, enable the digital
object to wander without any external guidance.
The virtual environment has its own encoded
behaviors. Gravity and drag affect the virtual
creatures movements in space. Adjusting these
variables alters the environments viscosity and
fluidity, which in turn alters the formal and spatial
qualities of the recorded motion. In addition, the
digital environment is able to capture a 3D-scan
of a physical environment. The scans point cloud
acts as a virtualized landscape for contextualizing
the creatures behaviors. The point cloud is
programmed to slightly repel the simulated creature.
This repulsion force prevents the creature from
intersecting or penetrating the scanned physical
context. The designer uses their real-world hand
movements to interact with the virtual creature.
The depth camera used to capture a static 3D-scan
of a physical environment is then used to sense
the designers three-dimensional hand position
in real-time. The hand acts as a 3D-mouse for
attracting or repelling the virtual creature in space.
As the designers gestures guide the creature
around the virtualized landscape, the soft-body
spring model dynamically updates the digital
form. As the creature is dragged around the point
cloud, the designer can turn on motion capturing
to build the chronomorphologic model. Once a
model is generated, the designer can export the
complex geometry from virtual environment, and
send it for 3D-printing. The chronomorphologic
model is automatically optimized for 3D-printing.
Optimization is handled by the internal structure
of the simulated creature: it is a closed mesh, with
a spring skeleton that prevents self-intersections.
The composite model retains these printable
properties at each time-step. Therefore, no matter
how intricate or complex, the digital geometry will
always be exported as a valid, 3D-printable mesh.
Resolving this optimization problem within the
virtual environment alleviates some of the technical
tasks usually assigned to the designer. Moreover, it
eliminates a time consuming step between design
and fabrication, and facilitates a smoother transition
from digital bytes to physical matter.

IMPLICATIONS

The chronomorphologic modeling environment


enables a designer to quickly generate baroque
and expressive spatial forms that both respond
and expand on existing physical contexts. By
mediating 3D-scanning and 3D-printing through
the modeling environment, the designer has a
streamlined workflow for oscillating between virtual
and analog environments. This ease between
digital design and physical production provides a
framework for rapidly exploring subtle changes in
the virtual environment, physical environment, or
designers gestures can create dynamic variation
in the formal, material, and spatial qualities of a
generated design. While the application of this
kind of interactive 3D-modeling is not as robust as
traditional Computer-Aided Design software, it does
begin to imagine a future for digital environments
that can actually participate in the process of
design. Within the chronomorphologic modeler, the
designer is not able to give explicit commands to the
modeling environment. Instead, there is a constant
negotiation between the encoded behaviors of
the virtual creature, the scanned physical context,
and the designers hand gestures. Each of these
entities [virtual environment, physical environment,
and designer]have a certain influence, or agency,

over the final formal outcome. Although this means


the designer is giving up a certain amount of
control over the end product, they gain the capacity
to find inspirations and serendipitous discoveries
throughout the design process.

169

ILLUSTRATIONS

pp.166, 169 top: A number of human scale artifacts


were designed to validate the workflow between
the digital and physical environments: Bust studies
testing the complex curvature around the neck,
shoulder, and chest. The digital designs engage
the body as exoskeletal extensions of the clavicle
or sternum.
p.168 top: Cyclical workflow of 3D scanning, 3D
modeling, and 3D printing.
p.168 bottom: Chronophotographic studies from
Marey (top) and Muybridge (bottom).
p.169 bottom right: Screenshot of virtual environment.
pp.169 bottom right, 170-171: physical prototype
pronted from ABS plastic as a result of a series of
wrist studies were created to test symmetrical and
asymmetrical configurations around a freestanding
physical context.

170

171

172

INTERFACE

THE ENVIRONMENT AS A SIGNAL:


The Designer as a User
Panagiotis Michalatos, Harvard GSD

Design and computation is often an uncomfortable


combination. In many cases a pseudo science is
proposed as the outcome based on excessive use
of simulation and claims to predictability. Design
as a cultural practice poses social and political
problems of meaning and aesthetics that, since
these aspects are not readily quantifiable, are often
ignored in the computational design literature. In a
sense we end up with an impoverished version of
design and unchallenged computational models.
However the architectural object is a contested and
dynamic one. Many of its aspects are undecidable
and fuzzy at all stages of its life, from conception,
to demolition and its afterlife in archives and
databases.

SIGNALS AND USER

In the past few years we have witnessed a


proliferation of commercial and custom digital and
computational design tools. The focus until now
has been largely on geometry and the description

of the immediately sensible formal aspects of


designed objects. These descriptions can be
procedural or parametric, static or dynamic but
conceptually they are conceived and discussed
in the context of classical Euclidian and more
recently differential geometry [with the use of so
called free form modeling software]. The fact that
we attempt to describe, manipulate, manage and
archive architectural objects using digital media,
converts the architectural object to a signal to
be appropriated through digital interfaces and
analyzed using the techniques of information
theory and signal analysis. In addition the existence
of such objects in a network necessitates the use
of interfaces and turns participants into users.
Interfaces for accessing and developing design are
not simple extensions or reincarnations of drafting
tools.
They manipulate the perception of designers and
modify the architecture of the communication itself
within which design develops.

Design as a cultural
practice poses social and political
problems of meaning and aesthetics
that, since these
aspects are not
readily quantifiable,
are often ignored in
the computational
design literature.

173

Interfaces for
accessing and
developing design
are not simple
extensions or
reincarnations of
drafting tools.

THE ENVIRONMENT AS A SIGNAL

[you can nowadays


hear students
in architecture
using terms such
as tangent planes,
Gaussian and mean
curvatures, torsion,
normals etc]

A very different language is required in


order to talk about
form, a language
far removed from
axes and surfaces,
and curvatures,
a language of
superpositions and
distributions.

174

Beatriz Colomina in Privacy and Publicity: Modern


Architecture as Mass Media demonstrated the
transformative effect of the modes of appropriation
of architecture that emerged in the early 20th
century especially with the advent of photography
as a medium. The architectural object must
be seen not as an isolated entity but together
with the totality of its descriptions and traces.
Similarly now, new modes of appropriation exist;
some as extensions of old ones [photographic
associative repositories with metadata like flickr
and instagram] and others still newer [repositories
of three dimensional models and annotated and
augmented spaces]. Signal analysis techniques
offer novel ways of approaching questions of form,
geometry and even style.
If the so called free form modeling environments
introduced concepts from differential geometry
and made them mainstream casual descriptors of
architectural form [you can nowadays hear students
in architecture using terms such as tangent planes,
Gaussian and mean curvatures, torsion, normals
etc] signal analysis offers an even more radical
way of looking at geometry as information. For
example spectral analysis methods are widely
researched at the moment. Such methods spawn
new ways of dissecting, constructing, manipulating,
storing and comparing geometric objects seen as
superpositions of more fundamental forms. Intuitive
concepts such as structure and texture, which
are scale dependent, acquire a precise meaning
within this framework. A very different language is

required in order to talk about form, a language far


removed from axes and surfaces, and curvatures,
a language of superpositions and distributions.
Analytical techniques also deal with objects that
become increasingly fuzzy up to the point of
fabrication. Topology optimization for example is
a form finding method, which treats a structural
problem as one of material distribution, departing
from the discrete node and stick, assembly inspired
model of the past. Additive Fabrication techniques
reinforce this idea of an object as a material
distribution in a continuum.
Quantum theory appropriated by computer
scientists increasingly is treated not just as
a physical theory but more like a new kind of
probability theory as Scott Aaronson argues in
Quantum Computing since Democritus, one that
can better handle certain dynamic phenomena
and framing the limits of the knowable in each
problem. Such an approach might be useful in
design problems, which contain many stochastic
variables, rather than the overly deterministic
approaches weve seen in computational design
till now. Such an approach would enable a richer
description of the architectural object and the
events that take place within it; one that contains
the individual and the crowd, the instant and the
duration the synchronic and the diachronic.
Signal analysis has a big impact in the construction
of the visual field and a new observer. Computer
vision and image analysis techniques coupled
with perceptual models allow the quantitative
analysis of formal aspects of visual objects. A sort

INTERFACE

USER INTERFACES FOR DESIGN PROBLEMS

of quantitative aesthetics can emerge which can


help us make tangible the Jacques Rancieres
Distribution of the Sensible.
The sensible continuously captured and recorded
in databases for better or worse can be dissected
and analyzed and its components rearranged. Its
statistical properties reveal modes of inhabiting
and use of space, distribution of wealth and
power. In effect we can start asking questions
on the not so immediately perceived information
in our environment, information that is hidden not
because it is concealed but because it is habitually
ignored.

We inhabit a world of increasing layers of mediation


that intervene between our senses and the
environment. This constant filtering that expands
or contracts the limits of perception is realized
through user interfaces, themselves objects of
design. The ability to design interfaces goes
hand in hand with the possibility of manipulating
user intuition and framing design problems as
communication problems. If we limit ourselves
to purely visual aspects of design, designers
nowadays come with two kinds of intuition. One is
the intuition that derives from their experience of
the world through their senses and a second is an
intuition that derives from the modes of description
and manipulation of representations of this world
through digital interfaces. The second type of
intuition for a long time has been a derivative or
a simulation of the first but now it has gained an
autonomy of its own. For example Lev Manovich
in the 90s argued that the camera has become
the universal metaphor through which all digital
information is accessed. However we could
argue that now these interactions have become
autonomous and that the physical cameras are
the ones that have to resemble more and more
the interfaces they inspired. There is an interesting
interplay between representation conventions
here. Linear perspective was a way of simulating
visual perception but it got codified and became
universal through the use of matrix transformations
that became the dominant mode of visualization in
both games, science and design software. A whole

[...]one that contains the individual


and the crowd, the
instant and the duration the synchronic
and the diachronic.

In effect we can
start asking questions on the not so
immediately perceived information
in our environment,
information that is
hidden not because
it is concealed but
because it is habitually ignored.

175

Lev Manovich in
the 90s argued
that the camera
has become the
universal metaphor
through which all
digital information is
accessed.

Linear perspective
was a way of
simulating visual
perception but it
got codified and
became universal
through the use of
matrix transformations that became
the dominant mode
of visualization
in both games,
science and design
software.

176

generation of people has been raised to perceive


three-dimensional information through this very
un-eye like apparatus [monocular, continuous, and
perfectly linear], which distorts proportions and
scale. We can make interfaces that toy with intuition
if we consider the designer as a user among others
in a complex communication problem that is the
design process. Architecture schools have been
rather slow in responding to this development and
the opportunities and challenges therein, leaving
the design thought process and the interfaces that
formalize it in digital media to be solely determined
by the software industry. The focus has been too
much in students as users at most generating
their own geometry generation tools rather than
questioning the digital environments within which
they develop their ideas. Such environments
are designed spaces that already make many
assumptions about what design is, and how is
appropriated; from the use of a particular type
of perspective and the positioning of the viewer
relative to the object, to the false pretence of
neutrality, generality and freedom.
At this moment when monolithic centrally produced
software is in crisis, and tries to find its place in
an ecosystem of applets and online distribution
systems, designers could seize the opportunity to
question the premises of these design environments
that dominated production for the past 20 to 30

years. For that to happen, perhaps it would be useful


for the nascent field of computational design to shift
the debate on the relationship of digital media and
architecture beyond the effort to convert design into
a pseudo science where the veracity of simulations
is taken for granted and unquantifiable aspects are
ignored. Instead design should be seen as that
which takes place at the confluence of information
and culture and by necessity can only be intuitively
evaluated. Where computational media come into
play is not in order to render this procedure more
scientific but in order to enable us to approach the
environment as a signal, to expand our intuition and
modes of communication. Computational design
could be more than computational geometry. It
needs to reconnect with questions of design and
evaluate what it has to offer as a quasi discipline in
a practice, which is culturally preconditioned. In that
light we can approach architecture as a symptom of
processes that are stochastic, culturally meaningfull
and inherently undecidable.

INTERFACE
For that to happen,
perhaps it would
be useful for the
nascent field of
computational
design to shift the
debate on the
relationship of
digital media and
architecture beyond
the effort to convert
design into a
pseudo science.

177

178

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

p.172: Cut outs and Trees. Dance performance


by Stockholm based choreographer Cristina
Caprioli [CCAP]. In this performance we sought
to dissolve the stage by using dynamic high
frequency spatio-temporal elements in order to
achieve an interference effect with the dancers and
the audience. photography: Natasha Stragalinou,
2010, London, Riverside Studios, Dance Umbrella
Festival.
p.174: all images, Eigenshells: Research on shell
optimization in collaboration with Sawako Kaijima.
The optimal form is found as a superposition of
Eigenfunctions.
p.175 top left: Topology optimization application to
the design of a new type of fuzzy reinforcement.
Images generated by software topostruct and
millipede, Michalatos, Kaijima.
p.175 bottom left: Topology optimization materialized results using multi material 3d-printing,
research project with Andrew Payne and Objet/
Stratasys. The models are made of transparent
soft rubber and hard white plastic in a continuous
distribution.
p.175 top right: Hinterland. Landscape sculpting
interface by GSD students 2011, Jose Luis Garcia
del Castillo Lopez, Stefano Andreani, Aurgho Jyoti.
The viewer is embedded in the landscape and can
only move at walking or running speed. Application
of sculpting modifiers is restricted to first person
view too. The user sees the terraforming problem
from within developing a vocabulary of near and far
field, proximity and horizons instead of treating the
land as an object seen from afar.
p.176 top: Dynamic visualization of a quantum
particle in U shaped box. Position Space,
Momentum Space and potential Field.
p.176 bottom: Alberto frigo, 2004-2040, art project
in progress. Frigo photographs all objects that he
interacts with; creating an extensive archive that allows him to generates different cross-sections of
his everyday life.
p.177 top: Interfacade: Experimental whimsical
interface by GSD students 2011, Christian Ervin,
Tim Sullivan. The user is restricted to use his or
her face to manipulate the object. The software is
using face detection and then metric analysis of
the face to determine the shape of the small doll
house. Users can only change their face so much
[through grimaces], which acts as a metaphor of
the inherent constraints in any design problem.
p.177 bottom: Antilabyrinth, Panagiotis Michalatos,
2004, experimental game based on the C64 game
Drelbs. Two users are trying to claim wspace by
rotating panels as they move. Intricate floor plans
emerge as a side effect.

1.Laplace-Beltrami Eigenfunctions, towards an


algorithm that understands geometry, Bruno Levy,
INRIA-ALICE.
2.Salient Spectral geometric features for shape
matching and retrieval, Jiaxi Hu, Jing Hua
3. Scott Aaronson, Quantum Computing since
Democritus, 2013.
4. Beatriz Colomina, Privacy and Publicity: Modern
Architecture as Mass Media, Cambridge, MA: The
MIT Press, 1996.
5. Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception, Attention spectacle and Modern Culture, Cambridge,
MA: The MIT Press, 2001.
6. Jacques Ranciere, Gabriel Rockhill, The Politics
of Aesthetics, Bloomsbury Academic, 2006.
7. Lev Manovich, The Camera and the World--New
Works by Tams Waliczky, Munich - NY: Continental Drift, Prestel,1998.

INTERFACE

ILLUSTRATIONS

179

180

INTERFACE

CEREBRAL HUT
Gven zel, UCLA [IDEAS PLATFORM], OzelOffice
In neuroscience, an evoked potential is the
electrical response detected from the brain as
a result of a sensory stimulus. Architecture has
the potential to become a form of technology that
triggers a discernable cue through a feedback loop
between a spatial configuration and the human
senses, directly.
An android is a robot that resembles a human.
The architecture of the twenty-first century is an
android. It is the real-time spatial reflection of the
human mind in constructed matter.

ON FORM AND COMPLEXITY

In its essence, the role of the architect is organizing


and composing the material world. The principles
of this organization rely heavily on social behavior
and the changing paradigms of human interaction.
As a composer of materiality, the twenty-first
century architect needs to re-prioritize the concerns
of design, as the exactitude of geometry no longer
stands as a true reflection of human intellect. Rather,
architects need to find methods to organize material

behavior transformatively and reactively. Many


contemporary practices of our generation are using
coding, robotic fabrication and other digital/physical
translation tools to infinitesimally vary methods of
material organization and complexity. But how do
we define the behavioral aspects of architectural
form? The static nature of form encodes movement
in itself but is incapable of rearranging its material
constitution due to environmental factors. As we
attempt to translate the animate into the material
and vice versa, we submit to the twentieth century
notion of modernism where the designer organizes
material conclusively, which in return is expected
to have definitive phenomenological outputs. This
form of determinism is no longer an accurate
reflection of contemporary society. The only
constant of architecture is its vis-a-vis relationship
to culture, not its permanence. In fact, theres no
potential of form, affect, and materiality, unless form
is liberated from Form to create an architecture,
which becomes an interface itself that fuses the
human mind with space.

As we attempt
to translate the
animate into the
material and vice
versa, we submit to
the twentieth century
notion of modernism
where the designer
organizes material
conclusively, which
in return is expected
to have definitive
phenomenological
outputs.

181

ON FORM WITHOUT FORM

Liberation of form from Form is the liberation of


architecture from its physical context and the
outside forces that determine its boundaries;
a space that has a silhouette but no figure. A
kinetic architecture, by its ephemeral, seemingly
amorphous yet programmed behavioral iterations
is bound to travel between a multiplicity of contexts.
An architecture with a transforming design
boundary with its outside world continuously
contextualizes its context and content meanwhile
disperses it. By allowing itself to be shaped by
multiplicity of external forces, it gives form to its user
and his/her environment. Form without form is not
form without context, content or intent. It is designspace that temporally re-calibrates its relationship
with the outside world, repeatedly and through
time, by actively transforming its physical and
conceptual boundaries, meanwhile simultaneously
translating its phenomenological perception by the
user. That is precisely why Cerebral Hut is content
without context par excellence, as context is not a
paradigmatic constant.

ON SPACE AS AUTONOMOUS INTELLECT, OR


ARCHITECTURE AS ANDROID

Looking at the historic evolution, technology


reveals an aspiration to place consciousness into
matter in order to create tools that are subservient
yet autonomous from humans. Architecture as a
form of technology does not exist outside of this

182

cultural aspiration. Our scientific exploration of


nature through physics, mathematics and material
sciences lead to the formation of quasi-intelligent
abstract systems in the realm of simulation and
computation. These scientific paradigms have had
a tremendous influence on contemporary design
methodology, theory and critique. Current interest
in robotics and sensing technology is an extension
of this desire to transform architecture into an
intelligent form of technology that can autonomously
negotiate between the body, human psyche,
the environment and other organisms. These
contemporary influences of technological thinking
affect both the software [as in design intent] and the
hardware [as in formal, organizational and structural
logic] of design.
Can Artificial Intelligence be a field of study that
extends into the built environment? Is there a way to
fuse architecture with technology so that space itself
becomes the medium that interfaces between social
and material worlds, real time? Can architecture
itself become the AI that understands and responds
to us? The answers to these questions carry the
vital link currently absent between the material and
the virtual worlds, required for creating the construct
of reality for the upcoming cycle of intellectual
evolution. Through exploring the intersection of
technology and space, we can achieve an Android
Architecture that has an intelligent software and
a responsive hardware in synchronization and
dialogue with the human mind.

INTERFACE

CEREBRAL HUT: A PRIMITIVE CYBORG

A cyborg is a robot that constitutes of both human


and artificial parts. Cerebral Hut is a robot built as
space. It is an environment that is calibrated and
synchronized with intangible phenomena such as
thoughts. It is dependent on human mental input
to come to life. Formally, the overall geometric
construct of Cerebral Hut is based on the rejection
of simulated complexity that we are so fond of
in the contemporary design world. Instead of
attempting yet another representational recurrence
of complexity, it uses, or borrows anonymous form,
such as an Archimedean solid. The input from
user participation becomes the primary agent that
determines formal iteration, richness and variation.
In order to create a space that is reactive to brain
activity, a commercially available EEG device
[Electroencephalography helmet] was hacked so
that it can detect and measure concentration levels
and blinking, communicating wirelessly with a

computer.
This computer decodes the data sets from the
users brain waves, and activates scripts to control
an electromechanical system that achieves a
volumetric transformation. As a result, Cerebral Hut
becomes a game-space where the user controls
the physical boundaries of the environment by his/
her thoughts. As the user engages in activities that
increase concentration levels, the environment
responds real time and changes its formal
configuration.
Cerebral Hut is an exploration on building the
foundation of a reactive architecture that directly
responds to the human psyche. It creates
a collective architectural form in constant
transformation, composed of the mental traces of
its users embedded in its physicality. As a form of
kinetic architecture, it has no final, or ideal form, its
interior and exterior is in constant transformation,
triggered by user participation. The project
suggests one way of intelligent comminication that
embodies space, human and robot simultaneously.

EEG helmet

Processing

Arduino

Stepper Motors

In order to create a space that is


reactive to brain activity, a
commercially available EEG
(Electroencephalography)
device was hacked, which can
measure concentration levels
and blinking. The helmet is
wirelessly connected to a com-

Through Processing, the computer interprets the data from


the EEG helmet and runs an
algoritm that translates these
data thresholds into a sequence
of motion. Once the concentration threshold passes 65%, the

The Arduino microcontroller


splits the signal from Processing
into seven stepper motors,
controlling their range and
speed. The interface translates
code into linear motion.

The seven stepper motors move


steel pistons through the help
of a custom made gear mechanism. The pistons are linked to
folded paper panels on one end,
and a stretch fabric panel on the
other.

183

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Designed and Conceived by
Gven zel

Fabrication and Design Development


Gven zel
Alexander Karaivanov
Philipp Reinsberg

Electromechanic Design, Fabrication and Coding


Jona Hoier, Istanbul
Peter Innerhofer, Istanbul
Jaak Kaevats, London
Onur Sonmez, London

Installation Team

Gven zel
Philipp Reinsberg (London)
Lena Krevanek (Istanbul)

Cerebral Hut was made possible through support


from

Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts


University of Applied Arts in Vienna- Institute of Architecture
Hugo by Hugo Boss
Saatchi Gallery in London

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.180: Interior panels made of folded panels that go


through a volumetric transformation once activated,
changing the physical boundaries of the space continuously.
p.182: Top view of the Cerebral Hut, Vienna, Austria,
September 2012. Exterior panels made of flexible fabric
that transform the exterior boundaries of the installation.
Vienna, Austria, September 2012.
p.183 top: Cerebral Hut was part of the group show
Red NEver Follows. Sponsored by Hugo Boss. The
exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, London, August 2013
gathered 20 artists under the theme of urban creativity.
p.183 bottom: Communication diagram between EEG
device and Cerebral Huts mechanic device.

ABOUT
Cerebral Hut is an interactive large-scale architectural

installation that explores the relationship between


architecture, interactivity, movement and human
thought. It debuted at the Istanbul Design Biennial 2012
and was most recently exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery,
London in Summer 2013.

Assembly and Movement

Cerebral Hut is formed by a section of a truncated


icosahedron built with a timber board frame and steel
angle connections. The envelope comprises a stretchy
fabric on the outside and a folding paper pattern
on the inside. Stepper motors that activate plastic
pistons are attached to tertiary timber pieces. The
overall omnidirectional movement deforms the folded
paper panels as well as the fabric panels, therefore
transforming the interior and the exterior simultaneously.

184

185

BUILDING
Stefano Arrighi and Pierpaolo Ruttico
Hironori Yoshida
Jacob Douenias
Bence Pap and Andrei Gheorghe

186

Responsive Patterns on Double-Curved Surfaces


Scan to Production
Algal Architecture:
Integrating Biological Symbiosis
Die Angewandte [The Architecture Challenge]

187

188

BUILDING

RESPONSIVE PATTERNS ON
DOUBLE-CURVED SURFACES
Pierpaolo Ruttico, Indexlab, Politecnico di Milano
Stefano Arrighi, Politecnico di Milano

This paper proposes a model for generating and


controlling responsive patterns on double-curved
surfaces. The model demonstrates the possibility
of making a responsive building envelope
considering practical, functional and costeffective factors. Here we describe the workflow
of the digital design and fabrication processes and
illustrates the kinetic faade system. The proposed
envelope is a faceted metallic surface that has
the potential to deform physically in response to
environmental conditions that surround it; such
as movement, sound, light, wind or temperature.
Although the system is completely programmable
and measurable, it reveals an imponderable and
partially unexpected result. In addition to the search
for new forms and geometries, the relevance of
adaptive systems has been increasing enormously
over the last years. Auto-adjusting technology
to maintain distance between cars by now is
a common feature in automotive technology.
Adaptive frameworks with embedded piezoceramic elements for achieving precision and
controlling vibration, is currently being researched

in the aeronautical field. Since the architectural


application differs from the just mentioned target
industries in terms of scale, statics or aesthetics,
etc., the investigation regarding how the design of
a building system can be augmented, by adopting
responsive systems is now a dominant trend within
architectural research.

Although the system


is completely
programmable
and measurable,
it reveals an
imponderable and

RELATED WORK

The project finds its foundations in early studies of


capturing performance driven movement such as
E.J. Mareys Geometric Chronophotograph of The
Man in the black Suit [1883] or Enzo Maris prominent
figure of Programmed and Kinetic Art [1950s-60s].
In the middle of 1950s the idea of shape in motion
resulted in programmed experimentations carried
out by a great number of artists and researchers.
Programmed art was the piloting of the effect. As
Umberto Eco stated in 1962, the result was not a
form, but the film of a form in movement. Within
the field of installation Gordon Pask made progress
towards identifying the field of what was to become
interactive architecture in the 1960s. The realm of

partially unexpected
result.

Programmed art
was the piloting
of the effect. As
Umberto Eco stated
in 1962, the result
was not a form, but
the film of a form in
movement.

189

the 1990s, as a result of the available technological


advancements and numerous academic smart
home projects were initiated. Recent projects by
Patrick Teuffel and Tristan dEstre Sterk include
structures that can monitor their shape and rigidity
through the selective placements of sensors and
actuators. Nowadays the Adaptive Building Initiative
(ABI) is dedicated to designing a new generation
of buildings that optimize their configuration in real
time by responding to environmental changes.
This design approach was previously pioneered
by Jean Nouvel in his Institute du Monde Arabe,
Paris, 1987, featuring an automated faade
shading system or Jean Prouvs Square Mozart
apartment building, Paris, 1953, with a manually
controlled faade ventilation and shading system.
Both undertook extensive architectural research on
the uses of movable panels and endorsed the link
between art and industry. A more recent example
is the City of Justice by Foster + Partners and ABI,
Madrid, 2011.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

such proof-of-concept prototypes was driven by the


development of the digital computer. In the 1970s,
a number of people, such as John Frazer, further
developed the theoretical ideas of interactive
architecture. The Architecture Machine, published
in 1973, and the following books written by Nicholas
Negroponte represent first significant attempts to
define and produce responsive building systems. In

190

The purpose of this study is to experiment the use


of responsive systems within the building construction industry and explore their potential. This paper proposes an adaptable pattern over a doublecurved surface that would have been very hard to
produce in any way other than through the combination of computer-controlled fabrication and algorithmic modeling.
The larger perspective of the research approach
is the question of how to design complex systems
that help promoting innovative aesthetic qualities of
buildings, whilst improving building performances.
The project is a proposal for an affordable and functional responsive envelope, that adapts to the local
surface properties. The faade design approach is
two-fold. It is designed to respond to changing environmental impacts, whilst adapting to users behav-

a
A

u1

P(u1,v2)

u
P(u2,v1)

u2
B

P(u2,v2)

b v1

v2

BUILDING

P(u1,v1)

c
A

tu (A)

P(u1,v1)

P(u1,v2)

u1
P(u2,v1)
B

P(u2,v2)
u2

v1

v2

v
v
A

B
C

Pv1u1

D
F

Pv1u2
v1

P(u1,v2)
u1

P(u2,v2)
u2
v2

This paper proposes


an adaptable
pattern over a
double-curved
surface that would
have been very
hard to produce
in any way other
than through the
combination of
computer-controlled
fabrication and
algorithmic

iors. It automatically controls its permeability, varying smoothly between a completely covered and
an open state. It controls inner light and heat by
reconfiguring movable panels. The system can be
configured to match double-curved surfaces and to
create a seal to protect against dust and rain .

PARAMETRIC ENVIRONMENT

Due to its flexible open structure, we selected the


Grasshopper [GH] plug-in for Rhinoceros together
with FireFly as algorithm editor to support the
digital workflow. The GH definition was developed
in order to allow the user to simulate and visualize
- in real-time - both the design and the production
processes.
The adopted parametric approach, compared to
traditional CAD-CAM processes, is more flexible
and adaptive. The designer can manipulate the
initial CAD surface and simultaneously check
for fabrication constraints. The digital workflow
is consequently fast and reliable. Moreover, the
system allows full control of interactive design
processes.
Sensors gather information about the state of
the physical world, and the actuators react to the
information by performing appropriate actions. The
entire process is performed within the same digital
environment.

modeling.

SURFACE DISCRETIZATION

The algorithm cuts parallel sections through the


double-curved surface at designated intervals and
angles. The sectioning method generates both
structure and paneling. The intersecting curves
[contour lines] correspond to the stack joints of
the panel components. According to the surface
curvature, the system performs with the appropriate
typology of the panel, with related requirements
and details for digital production. The system
allows two different typologies of panel to emerge,
based on conditional checks of the local curvature
values. With numerically controlled cutting and
folding there is no need to keep the joint detail
related to manually achievable forms or to apply
a standardized dimension. Depending on local
context the panels topology changes for negative
and positive Gaussian curvature. Screws as means
of attachment provide maximum flexibility for future
dismantling, access and adjustments. Sequential
assembly requires larger fitting tolerance to cater
for tolerances the pieces to move into place.
Challenge is to find the right balance between a
tight fit that would cause problems in the mounting
and dismounting of the panels, and a looser fit that
might cause aesthetic factors to fail. The diagrams
illustrate the generation of the pattern starting from
contour lines and related UV grid of points.

The system allows


two different
typologies of panel
to emerge, based
on conditional
checks of the local
curvature values.
With numerically
controlled cutting
and folding there is
no need to keep the
joint detail related to
manually achievable
forms or to apply
a standardized
dimension.

191

PERFORMANCE-BASED DESIGN

Real-time data is
analyzed and represented through the
parametric model,
which reacts to the
new set of inputs
and configures new
geometries.

192

The system measures environmental conditions


to enable the building to adapt its surface
configuration. Movable panels respond to light
and air, opening and closing to provide the
best lighting and heating conditions inside the
building. In order to optimize the building system
performances, it is possible to directly manipulate
the geometric properties of the digital model based
on performance analysis. Specifically, daylight
analysis, thermoacoustic simulations, curvature
analysis and air-flow simulations can be interpreted

by transforming patterns with zoned porosity. The


envelope system regulates internal conditions by
responding to external environmental factors.
Movable panels adjust accordingly, e.g. reacting
to the angle of the sun and therefore reducing the
need for using artificial light and air-condition. Realtime data is analyzed and represented through the
parametric model, which reacts to the new set of
inputs and configures new geometries. Air-flow
simulations / control system. Where required, panels
open allowing the air to pass through. Energyreducing sunscreen. Conceptually, the extended

BUILDING

model illustrates how the responsive system


can affect a building envelope on larger scales.
Rotation angles of the panels are automatically
calculated according to environmental constraints
or users behaviors. All actuators have the same
type of communication and acting hardware,
they also have the same maximum acting range.
The sensors and related algorithm measure
the distance between the user and the movable
panels. Further the micro-controller sends a signal
to the actuator that results in the panel rotating a
specified angle. Speed and direction parameters of

the stepper motors are automatically generated for


each individual panel. Each actuator can act on the
event within its acting range. The rotations of the
panels are automatically calculated according to
the environmental constraints or users behaviors.
Hardware used: Kinect, Arduino micro-controller,
stepper motor allowing the integration of both
speed and position control at the same time.
The transformable envelope adapts to the users
movements. Driven by a bed of 16 stepper motors,
the dynamic configurations are generated as realtime calculations.

Each actuator can


act on the event
within its acting
range.

193

194

DIGITAL FABRICATION
PROCESS AND STRUCTURE

In order to validate the basic functions of the proposed adaptive skin and the associated sensor /
actuator network system a prototype was created.
The three-dimensional surfaces of the digital model
were unfolded to two-dimensional templates for laser cutting. We developed an algorithm that takes
material thickness into account and labels the panels with pertinent information, such as location and
bending angle. The algorithm turns three-dimensional surfaces into a collection of flat pieces. The
panel profiles are laid out on 60cm x 90cm templates for cutting and folding. The primary structure
of the prototype consists of a waffle-grid made out
5mm thick laser-cut sheet metal, arranged as parallel-sectioned ribs. The steel plates are manually assembled and welded together. Computer-controlled
folding becomes a method of making: it turns the
flat aluminum surface into a three-dimensional one.
When folds are introduced, the panels gain stiffness and rigidity, hence become self-supporting.
The final faade mock-up presents the doublecurved responsive skin, equipped with sensors,
micro-controllers and actuators; a proposal for a
building system that is able to alter its porosity in
response to changing weather conditions or the
movement of passers-by.

CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH

The technology to support responsive buildings


is available and dependable. New logic and

organizational systems could allow the building


industry to mass produce adaptive building systems
and lower the cost of these systems to competitive
levels. The methodology presented in this paper
describes one possible approach towards mass
customization of responsive building envelopes
and components. The dynamic envelope adapts
due to the presence of actuators, which regulate
ventilation and airflow, light and solar gain, privacy
and views. Although motors are the most common
actuators, other options, such as hydraulic and
pneumatic mechanisms are being currently tested.
Besides the investigation regarding mechanical
actuators, research in the field of shape memory
alloy and smart thermo-bimetal materials has
been initiated. By adopting materials that require
no energy to be operated, the adaptive building
system could require a low level of maintenance.
Future research will most certainly lead towards
designing system using and applying solar film
to adjustable panels that orient themselves to
track the sun; they could enable greater shading
or sunlight penetration while also transforming
energy. Further investigation could also lead to the
designing of a human-computer interface allowing
the user to directly interact with the sensor network
system, e.g. via tablet computer or smart phone.
The principle of adaptation pushed the apparent
paradigm shift in the building construction industry.
By challenging responsive strategies, the building
industry could open up to emerging markets by
entering a new era of innovation.

Computer-controlled
folding becomes a
method of making:
it turns the flat aluminum surface into
a three-dimensional
one.

Besides the
investigation regarding mechanical
actuators, research
in the field of shape
memory alloy and
smart thermo-bimetal
materials has been
initiated.

195

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.188: Detail view of structure


p.190 top: Air-flow simulations / control system.
Where required, panels open allowing the air to
pass through.
p.190 bottom: The computational design approach
allows infinite variation on a single theme.
p.191: The rotations of the panels are automatically calculated according to the environmental
constraints or users behaviors. Hardware used:
Kinect, Arduino micro-controller, stepper motor allowing the integration of both speed and position
control at the same time.
p.192: The envelope system regulates internal
conditions by responding to external environmental conditions. The panels move accordingly to the
angle of the sun, reducing the need for artificial
lighting and air-conditioning.
p.193 top and bottom: The transformable envelope
adapts to the users movements. Driven by a bed of
16 stepper motors, the dynamic configurations are
generated as real-time calculations.
pp.194-195 top: The algorithm turns three-dimensional surfaces into a collection of flat pieces. The
panel profiles are laid out on 60-by-90-cm templates for cutting and folding.
p.194 bottom: Faade assembly, stepper motor circuit wiring up and testing.
pp.196-197: Prototype

196

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank the sponsors


Nieder, Ever Elettronica, Della Cagnoletta. This
work has been promoted by the Politecnico di
Milano School of Architectural Engineering. A
special thank you to Professor Emilio Pizzi for his
ongoing support. A combined thank you to Nick
Novelli, Kat Park and Kyle Steinfeld for sharing their
great sources of inspiration. This project utilizes
Firefly, a Grasshopper set of tools developed by
Andy Payne and Jason Kelly Johnson.

197

198

BUILDING

SCAN TO PRODUCTION:
Heterogeneous Material features for
digital Fabrication
Hironori Yoshida, ETH Zurich
ScanToProduction [STP] is a material oriented
design/production process, integrating digital
scanning, computer aided design and digital
fabrication in a one-shot digital chain. This process
is a modern translation of how craftsman reads
characteristics of natural materials and dynamically
reflects on fabrication processes. Thanks to the
recent inexpensive sensing devices and the
exponential rise of computing power, tools are
finally able to adapt their machining processes to
the heterogeneous nature of materials. The article
examines how digital scanning techniques can be
utilized in the digital fabrication of hybrid materials.
It explores how imperfections discovered in natural
materials can inform unique design solutions. In the
first part, the technical scan-to-production process
is explained. Secondly, this novel production
model is discussed against current standardized
production processes. The final part of the article
introduces ways in which the proposed research
method can be incorporated into emerging design
practices through four realized projects, Digitized
Grain [Yoshida, 2010], Digitized Grain Planks

exhibited at Milano Design Week [Yoshida et.


al 2013] and Materializing Exhibition at Tokyo
University of Arts [2013], Timber X-Ray Scanning
[Yoshida, In with EMPA, currently in development}
and Project Yew at CAAD, ETH Zurich, 2013.
Material production reflects the technology of
the times. An important motivation in material
design and construction within architecture is to
establish relationships and elicit response through
the use of materials. Modern material production
places relevance on efficiently producing uniform,
homogeneous artefacts from natural, irregular
materials.
With the aid of contemporary design techniques it
is now possible to have material design make use
of, and even feature explicitly, the imperfections
of natural materials with minimal impact on
production efficiency. The Scan-To-Production
process, through the use of digital scanning and
robotic fabrication, proposes to take material
irregularities as design input, to distinguish and
create meaningful order from material noise or
imperfection.

It explores how
imperfections
discovered in
natural materials
can inform unique
design solutions.

...feature explicitly,
the imperfections
of natural materials
with minimal impact
on production
efficiency.

199

SCAN-TO-PRODUCTION

What if fabrication machines could flexibly adapt


to irregular, heterogeneous material properties? It
is now possible for designers to make use of realtime sensing and complex modeling algorithms
through inexpensive devices and computing power.
Willis et al combine these algorithms with CNC
machines, resulting in interactive fabrication.1 The
aim of STP is not necessarily to perform real-time,
interactive fabrication, but instead prioritizes in
capturing higher resolution of scanning data over
real-time interaction. Moreover, STP focuses on the
post processing of scanned data and its translation
into fabrication processes, using this data as crucial design attributes instead of dismissing these
characteristics as material defects. STP considers
these as attributes that can intelligently inform the
design process; material uniqueness exploited to
its full design potential.

TECHNICAL PROCESSES

Features recorded
with devices
include such visual
properties as
grain-stratification,
knots, aggregates
and defects such as
fungal stains and
cracks [...]

The technical process of STP is as follows: a natural material with heterogeneous characteristics
such as timber or stone is scanned, and information about the geometry of its physical structure
are recorded and analyzed. Scanning devices
used include a Kinect camera, Xray-CT scanners.
Features recorded with such devices include visual properties like grain-stratification, knots, aggregates and defects such as fungal stains and
cracks, as well as internal structures not able to be
detected by the human eye. A design decision is
then made as to which feature to utilize as a design
input in the next step. The input is then fed into an
algorithm developed within the coding environment
Processing, which translates this input into machine code to create a unique cutting path for each
material piece. The piece is then fabricated using
its custom tooling path, using digital fabrication machines such as a 3-axis CNC milling machine, or a
6-axis KUKA robotic arm.

STP CONSIDERED AGAINST CURRENT PRODUCTION PROCESSES

Tools are the result


of successive
improvement, and
the effort of all
generations.

200

From the stones of the Egyptian pyramids to the


modern brick, from the hand-worked logs of a
log cabin to industrially manufactured dressed
timber, we have continuously developed new
ways of flattening and standardizing irregular
materials from natural environments into regular,
uniform, repeatable and measurable units. Our
living environment today consists mostly of massproduced artefacts, which is typically considered
to be the consequence of industrialization and
subsequent mass-production.2 Our tools of
production mark out the stages of civilization [the
Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the
Industrial Age]. Tools are the result of successive
improvement, and the effort of all generations
embodied in them is the direct and immediate

expression of progress.3 Likewise the perceived


merit of standardization throughout history has
changed from the Arts and Crafts rhetoric of the
dehumanizing effects of industrialization, to the
Modernists sleek promise of the machine. Fast
forward then to the age of digital fabrication and
distributed design process, the Third Industrial
Revolution. The STP process is no different to
historical tools in that it is a mark of its age. However
this is the age of web-based collaboration, and small
batch technology that has the potential to transform
manufacturing. The STP process then, differs from
traditional manufacturing processes in that it uses
readily available technology: Kinect scanners, the
open source coding environment Processing, and
fabrication machines that could be readily hired
(KUKA robotic arm) or built at home [3-axis CNC,
RepRap]. The use of this technology is what allows
the STP process to deal with material irregularity
and natural complexity creatively as direct design
input.

PROJECTS

The following design projects are examples of how


the STP process was successfully employed as a
design and fabrication process.

1. Digitized Grain Prototype

Digitized Grain is a study of gradient material


transitions for interior, furniture and product design
applications.
The specific property wood grain was chosen to
inform the transition of one material to the other,
in contrast to conventional joining seams usually
employed when transitioning from different product
surfaces. The two materials used are a plywood
panel and polyester resin. The algorithm empolyed
in this project transforms the scanned 2D-data
to a 3D-model by converting the color values to
depths of each pixel and connecting them with
vector lines, which is used for CNC tooling. In this
project the cutting path was utilized to reproduce
the grain pattern as similarly as possible, to explore
how the material could directly inform the tooling
process. Thus the material behaves as if it defines
the tooling processes. As a prototype interior wall
panel, a 1200mm x 2400mm x 12mm board was
fabricated. The outcome was a hybridization of
materials enabled by a vivid, superimposed material
texture on both materials. The resulting contrasting
material combination between wood and polyester
resin highlights their physical properties [opaque/
transparent, elastic/ rigid] and emotional materiality
[natural/synthetic].4

2. Digitized Grain:

The Digitized Grain Planks exhibited at Milano


Design Week, were also shipped to Tokyo and
shown at the Materializing Exhibition in June

BUILDING
The STP process
is no different to
historical tools in
that it is a mark of
its age.

The algorithm
used in this project
transforms the
scanned 2D data
to a 3D model by
converting the color
values to depths
of each pixel and
connecting them with
vector lines.

201

2013. Moving up from a single plywood panel to


16 three-meter long timber planks, allowed for
the STP artefacts to be tested at an architectural
scale. The former product design application now
became a fragmented wall. In contrast to the earlier
Digitized Grain prototype, the cutting paths used in
the fabrication of these planks was further refined
and abstracted. Thus the grain pattern was less
literal, while still hinting at the original structure.
The scale of the installation highlighted the physical
properties of the hybrid material to another level of
experience from product to spatial element.

3. Timber X-Ray Scanning

The scale of
the installation
highlighted the
physical properties
of the hybrid
material to another
level of experience
from product to
spatial element.

202

With support from EMPA


[Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science
and Technology], aged lumber material is scanned
with an industrial CT scanner to extract data about
inner material structures. The project is currently
investigating the development of a scanning system
that uses a mobile x-ray source and a line detector
attached to two robotic arms, to develop a system
that can overcome the static size limitation of
conventional CT scanners. This potentially allows
for more flexibility of the material scanning process,
with further application to the on-site scanning of
buildings. The non-destructive analysis procedure
could be particularly beneficial to analysis of
existing buildings.

4. Project Yew

European yew is a long-lasting material but


slow growth timber with a long-standing cultural
relevance; hence it is protected throughout Europe.
Young small yews are collected and maintained by
a forestry station at Uetliberg, a small mountain
near Zurich. Taking advantage of digital processes
from scanning to image processing to robotic
fabrication, Project Yew was launched to explore an
intelligent and economic use of yews. Initiated as
an educational program for postgraduate students
[MAS] at the chair of CAAD, ETH in Zurich, the
project focuses on the locally grown yew and a
possible application of the techniques discussed in
this article. In summer 2013, Fahrlnder Scherrer
Architects realized a new building for the Forestry
of Zurich. As the building will be covered with a
faade of yew shingles, the architects invited the
chair of CAAD to contribute to their project. In
collaboration with the architects and the forester,
several architectural elements were selected to
work on through the program.

THE MATERIAL

Yew is a locally vernacular timber. The forestry


station in Uetliberg next to Zurich, is protecting
the last great refuge of 80.000 European yews,
equivalent to the amount of yew trees throughout
Germany. In most areas in Europe, yew is almost

extinct or strictly protected, thus commercial


use of the timber is not common or illegitimate.
In the meanwhile in Zurich, the felled yews for
maintaining the forest can be purchased with
relatively large amounts at the forestry station.
In spite of its highly capable properties, yews at
the forestry station are only used for securing
the Uetliberg infrastructure ,e.g. poles, stairs,
timbering, but not in construction or carpentry.
Zurich faces the situation to offer in comparatively
large amounts of a kind of wood that cannot be
found anywhere else.

The Balustrade

One design proposal looks at designing balcony


balustrades, lining up small tree branches with
minimum fabrication processes. The project takes
advantage of the raw shape of branches for its
design quality. Firstly, using 123D provided by
Autodesk, the branches are 3D scanned from
several different perspectives, allowing users
to obtain 3D-mesh models relatively fast with
minimal preparation. Based on the acquired
3D-model of the branch, cutting paths for the
jigsaw attached to a 6-axis robotic arm are created
and translated into motion plan for the robot by
KUKA|prc. The scanned and fabricated branches
are sorted based on bounding box into gradient
order regarding its dimensions.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
Scanning:

The current system adopts a slit scanning method


to achieve uniform brightness values as well as
to avoid lens distortion. Since both aspects can
be computationally solved [i.e. through image
reconstruction calculating lens distortion, sampling
multiple RGB value on a same position and
normalizing them], it is more recommended to take
several scans from different positions and stitch
the images together respectively. This method
is also relevant to 3D-model reconstruction with
2D-images from different perspectives with 123D
provided by Autodesk. .

Image Processing:

Image segmentation is a key technical process


in the development of STP. The current algorithm
requires users to decide the right threshold value
to segment grain patterns from backgrounds.
Other image processing techniques that could be
implemented include blob detection [OpenCV],
where outlines of grain structures can be detected
and labeled according to an index system. This
would be useful to generate toolpaths to exactly
follow grain patterns instead of generating parallel
paths. Also, the motion paths generation for
jigsaw cutting branches can be automated using
computer vision techniques such as skeleton
generation.

The project
is currently
investigating the
development of a
scanning system that
uses a mobile x-ray
source and a line
detector attached to
two robotic arms...

Image segmentation
is a key technical
process in the
development of STP.

203

The motion paths


generation for
jigsaw cutting
branches (Example
4) can be
automated using

3D Model Reconstruction from scanning Data:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

CONCLUSIONS

Digitized Grain Planks, 2013


Hironori Yoshida with Giacomo Cantoni and Pietro
Pagliaro
Hua Hao, Mathias Bernhard, Jessica In, David
Schildberger, Demetris Shammas, Achilleas Xydis,
Akihiko Tanigaito, Nan Jiang, Alessandro Tellini,
Daniel Bachmann, Alessandro Mason.

Using the depth camera feature of the Kinect


camera, the 7 axes of the KUKA robotic arm can
be used to allow for a greater degree of freedom
in generating and recombining point cloud data
together with 123D. In combination with RGB
camera inputs, this would be a significant technical
development in the scanning process.

computer vision
techniques such as
skeleton generation.

Based on the
acquired 3D model
of the branch,
cutting paths for the
jigsaw attached to
a 6-axis robotic arm
are created.

204

These design and production projects illustrate how


the STP process can provide alternative methods
for design, prototyping and fabrication. The setup
as currently developed provides an alternative
approach to dealing with the complexity of natural
materials, and the illustrated projects demonstrate
the potential for this process to allow for design
engagement to generate artefacts at multiple
scales. The outlined projects further suggest how
the STP approach has applications beyond material
production that could be potentially developed for
new architectural and prototyping means.

Digitized Grain, 2010, Hironori Yoshida

Timber X-Ray Scanning, 2013 - ongoing


Hironori Yoshida and Jessica In, with Philipp
Schuetz and Alexander Flisch [EMPA - Swiss
Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and
Technology].
Project Yew, 2013
Hironori Yoshida [course mentor], Christoph
Schindler [external advisor], Mathias Bernhard
[technical advisor], Akihiko Tanigaito and Achilleas
Xydis [MAS students].

BUILDING

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.198: prototype of the balustrade.


p.201 top: original panel; thresholding; generated
toolpath; milled panel
p.201 center: finished resin-plywood panel.
p.201 bottom: Detail of abstracted grain pattern.
p.202: Digitized Grain installation @Ventura at
Work, Milano Design Week.
p.203 bottom: Digitized Grain Planks shipped to
Tokyo , exhibited at Materializing Exhibition 2013.
p.204: Isosurface output meshes from CT scans.
p.204 bottom: mesh model of the scanned branch.
p.205 top: CT Scans of timber made at EMPA.
p.205 bottom: 3D printed mesh model of CT
scanned wood.

REFERENCES

1. K.D.D. Willis. C., Xu, K.J. Wu, G. Levin and M.D.


Gross, Interactive Fabrication: New Interfaces for
Digital Fabrication in Proc. TEI 11, ACM, 2011,
pp. 69-72.
2. Siegfried Gideon, Mechanization Takes
Commands; Reprint edition. New York, NY: W W
Norton & Co Inc, 1968.
3. Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture, trans
by Goodman, J. Reprint, Miami: BN publisher, 2008
4. Hironori Yoshida, Bridging Synthetic and
Organic Materiality: Gradient Transitions in Material
Connections in Biologically-Inspired Computing
for the Arts: Scientific Data through Graphics, ed.
by A. Ursyn, Hershey, PA: Information Science
Reference, 2012, pp. 81-88.

205

206

BUILDING

ALGAL ARCHITECTURE:
Integrating Biological Symbiosis
Jacob Douenias, Carnegie Mellon University
Our global society is wasteful. Human beings fuel
their expansion on the earth by mining, pumping,
drilling, damming, and other consumptive
behaviors. We waste large proportions of our
resources by pursuing, transforming, and
transporting them. Once we have used up
resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal, we
wont be able to manufacture anymore. If we were
to instead rely upon resources that convert the
suns energy directly into usable fuel and material
by integrating with waste streams, then we can
sustain ourselves. Algal Architecture: Integrating
Biological Symbiosis suggests a low-cost process
that enables to synthesize of what we need with
much lower impact than conventional systems of
consumerism.

CRADLE TO CRADLE

Green algae culture has the innate potential to work


in a symbiotic capacity with human beings. Many
organisms do show some symbiotic relationships
with humans but the relevance of algae lies in its
malleability and extremely high level of biogenic
activity. Microalgae, found in our lakes, rivers,
and oceans have been producing the majority of
the worlds oxygen, oil and coal shale deposits for
the past 3 billion years. They are photosynthetic
organisms, which consume carbon dioxide and
nutrients that we expel from our bodies, such as
nitrogen and phosphorus. If we were to thoroughly
integrate our biology and behavior with these
microscopic organisms, we would be able to clean
our water, sequester the current surplus of carbon,

If we were to
instead rely upon
resources that convert the suns energy
directly into usable
fuel and material
by integrating with
waste streams, then
we can sustain
ourselves.

207

If we were to
instead rely upon
resources that
convert the suns
energy directly
into usable fuel
and material by
integrating with
waste streams, then
we can sustain
ourselves.

In an open loop
the focus is only on
the initial utility and
not on the whole
life cycle, as in a
cradle-to-cradle
approach.

208

produce oxygen, and provide us with clean and


renewable fuel. The lipids manufactured within
each algae cell can be extracted as vegetable
oil and converted into biodiesel. Simultaneously,
the waste biomass can be combined with kitchen
waste and other compostable material to generate

burnable biogas and carbon dioxide, enriching


the algae culture while removing a substantial
amount of organic waste from landfills and sewers.
This method uses algae to create an integrated
system. The systemic way of thinking necessary
for this type of project categorizes the project

BUILDING

Algal Architecture as a closed loop, featuring an


integration of systems. Currently, the status quo
of consumerism and waste management can be
described as open loop system, which means
that non-renewable resources are used and then
eventually exhausted. In an open loop the focus is
only on the initial utility and not on the whole life
cycle, as in a cradle-to-cradle approach. This focus
on initial utility also has the tendency to produce
negative externalities like waste, and emissions.
A closed-loop system on the other hand has no
externalities and no emissions. In such a system,
the waste from consumption is reconstituted as
a valuable input to some other, but nevertheless
specifically defined, process within the system;
waste, as we know it is essentially eliminated. A
closed loop cradle-to-cradle system is necessary,
since relying on biomass to solve our problems
the same way power plants do now, could bear
the risk of remaining in a situation where more
waste is produced than re-, down- or up-cycled;
politically and economically, power and resource
supply would still remain in the hands of distant

and consolidated entities. Instead, using a closed


loop algae system has the distinct possibility to be
integrated into our homes, independently and costefficient. By living within a closed loop algae system
users have the benefit of immediacy, control, and
the ability to take responsibility for their resources.

Politically and
economically,
power and resource
supply would
still remain in the
hands of distant

UP-CYCLING

By increasing proximity to this system architecturally, heat stored in the thermal mass of algae water
can be harnessed to feed gardens with rich biomass
fertilizer, and power homes and vehicles with the
energy embodied within the architecture of homes.
Photo Bioreactors, transparent algae growth vessels, optimized for sunlight and governed by the
laws of fluid mechanics and buildability can replace
more inert traditional rain screens. These Photo
Bioreactors are then fed with the aforementioned
biogas derived from simple backyard food-scrap
composters allowing algae to multiply rapidly and
in doing so sequester large amounts of surplus
carbon dioxide leaving only clean burning methane
gas. Subsequently these hydrocarbons contained

and consolidated
entities...

Photo Bioreactors,
transparent algae
growth vessels,
optimized for
sunlight and
governed by
the laws of fluid
mechanics and
buildability can
replace more inert
traditional rain
screens.

209

The changing
quality of light, from
transparent to light
green, is not just
appealing, also
the technology of
homemade photo

within a rich, mature algae culture is converted into


usable fuel for future use. Much of this process
could occur within ones own walls, extending the
biology of human beings more into the fabric of architecture. The changing quality of light, from transparent to light green, is not just appealing, also the
technology of homemade photo bioreactors is easy
to adopt. These are two parameters, which can encourage the average home-owner to switch and to
change to the way that we conventionally use and
waste energy and material.

bioreactors is easy
to adopt.

210

PROTOTYPING

In order to learn what algae cultivation on a small


scale actually means, and to test the impact and
opportunity for a new typology of faade system,
a series of photo bioreactors and conceptual systems made of recycled water bottles and plastic
materials were produced. This development stage
was critical to establishing a working understanding
of algae and some of its requisite systems. Testing site for a photo bioreactor system was a Southfacing window in one of the studio architecture
spaces at Carnegie Mellon University. Initially the
experiment consisted of a few water bottles filled
with algae and an air pump to provide mixing and
aeration.
Over the course of the project the systems grew in
size and complexity. Processes employed or speculated to design and fabricate more complex but at
the same time clearer systems using CNC molding, vacuum forming, DIY blow-molding, and laser
welding of plastic bags. As the scale of the photobioreactor systems increased, a sustainable solu-

tion for circulation was devised to avoid the need


for larger electric pumps. A turbine made from a
discarded bicycle wheel was fitted with a 3-D printed peristaltic pump and was placed in front of a
building exhaust box. This allowed a larger series
of bioreactors to be operated passively; deriving all
of the metabolic energy needed for photosynthesis
from the sun and the mechanical energy to pump
the water from the building exhaust.

FUTURE THINKING

Through continuous research I have learned that


Algal Architectures speculative systems can be
integrated into a variety of constructible retrofit
systems tailored to a variety of climates and
demographics. The emphasis on Do-It-Yourself
construction ensures that this technology is
not only applicable in the field of high design in
economically well developed countries, but more
importantly it can be introduced to the poorest parts
of the world where the proliferation of closed-loop
living has potentially the largest impact. Sharing
the expertise and infrastructure needed to achieve
an algae based closed-loop house can be equally
important to self-built urbanism and disaster
relief. People living in these conditions may not
have access to resources and infrastructure, but
the entrepreneurial spirit and resourcefulness
cultivated under these conditions would allow for
the rapid implementation of algae photo-bioreactor
powered closed-loop system where they are most
needed.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.206: close-up of algea groiwth in 5 gallon watercooler bottle - bioreactor


p.208 top: Stud-wall water bottle photobioreactor
retrofit prototype.
p.208 bottom: custom vacuum formed stackable
plastic brick to hous standard water bottles
p.209: Studio algae lab.
p.210: Zip tied watter bottle bioreactor assembled
with recycled components.
p.211 top: 5-gallon water-cooler bottle bioreactor.
CO2 bubbles feed algae and are evolved into O2.
p.211 bottom: Bike wheel turbine powered by
building exhaust.

211

212

BUILDING

DIE ANGEWANDTE
[The Architecture Challenge 2012]
Bence Pap and Andrei Gheorghe, University of Applied Arts Vienna
The IOA Architecture Challenge is a series of
international workshops initiated in 2011 by Andrei
Gheorghe [Assistant Professor, IOA] and Bence
Pap [Assistant Professor, IOA, Studio Greg Lynn] at
the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. The focus
and intention behind the series is to challenge
international students in a short period of time to
fulfill a full planning construction cycle starting from
spatial / formal concepts to actual fabrication and
materialization in form of human scale structures.
The challenge remains in this task twofold, both
for students in their ability to process and quickly
utilize new tools and a parametric driven approach
towards design within certain feasible constraints
in order to achieve a build structure in the end.

DESIGN PROCESS

A time constrain applied to the design process


itself as a combination top-down and bottom up
processes. Students were free in the development
of ideas that would lead up to design proposals of
human scale structures and would have intricate
formal articulations. Concepts were stripped of
any functional ideas or rational program; instead

the only criterion for the structure was to use


the opportunity of occupancy within its space
of construction. On the other hand the process
of materialization and rationalization of a firstly
speculative formal approach became the actual
challenge within the second half of the project.
Parametric tools were introduced step by step,
and through a steep learning curve, initial design
ideas could be brought into a realistic fabrication
framework, responding to material constrains, time
and available fabrication processes.

the process of
materialization and
rationalization of
a firstly speculative
formal approach
became the actual
challenge

STRUCTURAL RESPONSIVENESS

The group explored various types of cellular


populations as a rational to construct. The method
of subdivision finally resulted into a funnel shaped
minimal surface, suspended from 3 points. The
initial design started with simple sketches, and
ideas how people would move through the given
warehouse-like space and observe the structure.
The actual formation and modeling was achieved
by Daniel Pikers Kangaroo plugin for Grasshopper.
Cellular tessellation strategies varying continuously
between hexagonal and triangular units were set up

funnel shaped
minimal surface,
suspended from 3
points

213

as a starting point investigating their structural capacities for a suspended structure. Structural forces were mapped out on the funnel with Grasshoppers structural design plugin Karamba, developed
by Bollinger+Grohman engineers in conjunction
with the IOA in Vienna. Tension, compression and
deflection behavior of the initial model were used
to inform the cellular setup and to specify each
opening and gradual densities from hexagons to
triangles in areas of higher stress. The digital setup could be modified in several iterations, always
achieving a responsive state between structural
optimization and form.

FABRICATION

a 6m x 6m x 4m
cellular structure
with embedded
structural optimization strategies

214

Apart from teaching students to setup of cnc/


cam files for the digital fabrication process, it was
an integral part of the workshop to also provide
students with knowledge about the logistics of
fabrication and construction through the necessary
organizational skills Assembly lines and various sub
teams were formed to guide and help the process
of the actual physical fabrication. Everybody
worked together and as a team effort only after 3
days the initial idea; a basic paper prototype had
been turned into a 6m x 6m x 4m cellular structure
with embedded structural optimization strategies.

BUILDING

STUDENTS

CREDITS

Tadeas Klaban, Shota Tsikoliya


Academy of Arts Architecture a. Design, Prague

Host

Djordje Stanojevic, Marco Pizzichemi


IUAV University of Venice
Clemens Conditt, Ceren Ynetim, Maciej Chmara,
Rene Meszarits, Andreas Quast, TU Wien

Instructors

Johanna Jekalda, Artur Stakevit


Estonian Academy of Arts
Bianca Bckle, University of Liechtenstein
Tamara Sumi, Univesity of Ljubljana
Lenka Januskova, University of Arts, Architecture
and Design in Prague
Tugen Kukul, ITU Istanbul
Maria Smigielska, Poznan University of Technology,
Poland
Oana Bogatan, TU of Cluj Napoca
Zhenyu Yan, U.f. Angewandte Kunst
Ji Vtek, Faculty of Architecture Brno
Raouf M. Abdelnabi, UAE
zlem Altun, Yildiz Technical University
Abraham Fung, Carleton University
Benjamin Ennenmoser, TU Innsbruck
Roberto Naboni, Milano University

IOA, University of Applied Arts, Vienna

Bence Pap, IOA, Studio Lynn


Andrei Gheorghe, IOA
Irina Bogdan
Trevor Patt
Clemens Preisinger, Bollinger+Grohmann
Moritz Heimrath, Bollinger+Grohmann
www.i-o-a.at
http://architecturechallenge.wordpress.com

Institute of Architecture
Oskar Kokoschka Platz 2
1010 Vienna
www.i-o-a.at
www.facebook.com/IoA.InstituteofArchitectureVienna
Institute of Architecture
Oskar Kokoschka Platz 2
1010 Vienna
www.i-o-a.at
www.facebook.com/IoA.InstituteofArchitectureVienna

University of Applied Arts Die Angewandte - Institute of Architecture

University of Applied Arts Die Angewandte - Institute of Architecture

Institute of Architecture
Oskar Kokoschka Platz 2
1010 Vienna
www.i-o-a.at
www.facebook.com/IoA.InstituteofArchitectureVienna

DIG ital
DES ign +
FAB rication

ARCHITECTURE

DIG ital
DES ign +
FABofrication
University
Applied Arts Die Angewandte - Institute of Architecture

CHALLENGE
CHALLENGE

ARCHITECTURE

http://architecturechallenge.wordpress.com/

http://architecturechallenge.wordpress.com/

DIG ital
DES ign +
FAB rication

ARCHITECTURE

CHALLENGE
http://architecturechallenge.wordpress.com/

215

216

POLITICS
Ingeborg M. Rocker

[En]coding and [Re]coding Architecture:


From Proto Types and Parametric Types
Revisiting the Building Bulk in Hong Kong

Deren Guler and Xiaowei Wang

FLOAT_Beijing

Andrea Rossi, Lila Panahikazemi

Spatializing the Social

217

218

POLITICS

[EN]CODING AND [RE]CODING


ARCHITECTURE:
From Proto Types and Parametric Types
Revisiting the Building Bulk in Hong Kong
Ingeborg M. Rocker, Harvard GSD, Rocker - Lange Architects

[En]coding Architecture emphasizes the important


role code played and still plays in the formation of
architecture. Today perhaps more than ever before
code, building codes and computational codes
alike, direct architecture designs.
Of course building and computer codes are
not the same, however both have in common
that they are a-formal, abstract and yet literally
inform architecture and the architects choices.
Rocker-Langes work is an inquiry into encoding
architecture; it is a searching for both: the codes
that have traditionally informed architecture and
those codes that currently encode architecture.
For Rocker-Lange the challenge is a strategic

reinterpretation of existing codes, a re-coding of


precedent architectural and urban typologies.
The project Systems of Multiplicity Hong Kong
[2011/2012], is such a strategic re-interpretation
of existing codes: The project rethinks quotidian
architecture and urbanism in Hong Kong, a city
with an average density of over 6,300 people per
square kilometer. As one of the most compact
cities in the world, Hong Kong is a diverse and
complex place where topographical constraints
and unique historical circumstances have created
extreme urban forms for the basic needs of city life
Hong Kongs buildings, residential and commercial
alike, are predominantly based on the typology of

It is a searching for
both: the codes that
have traditionally
informed architecture and those
codes that currently
encode architecture.

219

220

the tower. While this configuration allows for many


different interpretations, the common approach is
based on a repetitive, reductive use of the same
plans and sections and entire towers. The designs
are driven by profit perspectives for the developer
and take neither the everyday life inside nor
outside the towers into consideration. Our project
Systems of Multiplicity Hong Kong is a critique
of this perverted economical driven urbanism that
not only repeats itself but also repeats simplified
urban models that had been envisioned by modern
Architects and city planners. Todays simple
repeat of modern urbanism strategies developed
among others by Le Corbusier1 or Hilberseimer2
in response of the challenges cities faced at
the beginning of the 20th century, seems highly
problematic.3
What could then be potential other models that
would more appropriately respond to the challenges
of the 21st century? How could and should one
react to the neglect of civic space, the increased
privatization of the public domain in the misguided
reinterpretation of modern projects that determine
HKs skyline and more importantly civic space
today? One of the important results of the current
developments in Hong Kong is the increasing
internalization and privatization of the public realm
over the last decade. Hong Kongs inner city ratio
of building mass to open space has been heavily

decreased, while the number of shopping malls


has increased drastically: Shopping malls are
privately owned and fall therefore under a different
jurisdiction than the public space of the street.
Streets become integrated into massive Podiums,
that become the plinth of several interconnected
towers, while former streets are swallowed by the
plinths shopping mall system.
The Podium towers are confused as cities or
city centers that in fact create entire isolated
elevated neighborhoods, while effectively erasing
and obscuring the truly civic realm of the existing
street grid. The public realm is no longer publically
accessible as it is relocated to either the gated
interior of the building or to the gated roof of the
plinth. While Hong Kongs city grid and civic
domain has been dramatically challenged over the
course of the last 10 years through either gigantic
inner city shopping malls, like Pacific Place, or
aggregations of podium tower complexes, such as
Whampoa Garden, other developments in the city
provide spaces that suggest the arrival of a new
typology, which could also suggest a rethinking of
zoning and building codes.
Due to the extreme density and the severe
topographical shifts in the terrain in Hong Kong
a new typology of vertical public streets has
developed; most prominently along the central
elevated walkways, spanning from admiralty to

Our project Systems


of Multiplicity
Hong Kong
is a critique of
this perverted
economical driven
urbanism that not
only repeats itself
but also repeats
simplified urban
models that had
been envisioned by
modern Architects
and city planners.

Streets become
integrated into
massive Podiums,
that become the
plinth of several
interconnected
towers, while
former streets are
swallowed by the
plinths shopping
mall system.

221

They may evoke


public streets but
in fact they are privately owned and
controlled interior
spaces.

222

central, but also within buildings, like the Hopewell


Centre. In contrast to many Western building
typologies, mixed used high rises emerged:
Within these structures shops and restaurants
can be found far beyond the in Western cities
typical 2nd floor level. The internal circulation of
these buildings, horizontally as well as vertically
distributed become public yet interiorized streets,
that link the vertically stacked shops, restaurants

and offices with one and another, or that allow to


enter the building from different elevations. Despite
their complex interwoven public spaces, all of those
have similar fate than those in the platform towers:
they may evoke public streets but in fact they are
privately owned and controlled interior spaces.
Our project consequently tries to rethink these
spaces as truly public spaces. How can the relation
of zoning code and building code be changed in

order to allow for a true rather than a pseudo public


space to occur in both: the traditional urban fabric
and the high-rise buildings of Hong Kong. The loss
of true and the evocation of pseudo public, and
perhaps more importantly, civic space, is rarely
problematized in architecture and urban planning.
Only a few urban planners and architects like Rem
Koolhaas, who analyzed Shibuya Station in Tokyo
as a 24hour vertical urban architecture, drew
attention to this urban phenomenon in hyper dense
cities like Tokyo or Hong Kong.4 This is surprising
given the rapid densifications of Asian cities.
How can one rethink and encode civic space for
cities with a high population density as horizontal
and vertical spaces? How can truly public/civic
exterior space continue to exist in an ever more
compacted and thus sustainable urban landscape?

The building code is conceptually the genetic DNA


for the life and success of cities. If the code is
misused, the vitality of a city can suffer. Hong Kong
is massively shaped by the building code and its
exact interpretation by prot-driven developers.
The call for density is a necessity, however quality
of urban space should not suffer. The question
that strikes us: How can we rethink the zoning and
building code in reflection of public space typologies
/ morphologies? In a city like Hong Kong e.g. the
building envelope, which usually expands to the
maximum boundary of the site denes the void
space or possible exterior public space. It could be
argued that the GFA [gross oor area] for building
plots is responsible for this dilemma. While the GFA
could be theoretically freely interpreted and would
allow for many different versions of integration of

If the code is
misused, the vitality
of a city can suffer.
Hong Kong is
massively shaped
by the building
code and its exact
interpretation
by prot-driven
developers.

223

Rocker-Lange
Architects project
interrogates besides
the codes that
constitute the current
developments

public and open space into the building bulk, the


common practice is to extrude the boundaries of
the plot area to the limit to maximize the GFA. But
how could in Hong Kong, with its limited resource of
land and highly prot-driven urbanization concepts,
an open public/civic space in which society can
develop culturally, politically and socially be
reintroduce?

also the design,


building and living
circumstances.

The rule-based
model can vary and
adapt to different
site, programmatic
and environmental
conditions.

224

EN-CODING TYPOLOGIES

Rocker-Lange Architects project interrogates


besides the codes that constitute the current
developments also the design, building and
living circumstances in order to develop possible
alternative design techniques that can result in
a series of horizontal and vertical civic space
configurations that vary and possibly produce
unique urban and architectural living conditions.
Different existing urban typologies were studied
for their potential to provide public space/civic
space. How could those spaces that typically exist
on the ground be re-thought vertically? How can
they continue form the horizontal into the vertical?
Different typologies and there relationships were
studied, tested and encoded to define a public /
civic ground that could exist as well horizontally
as well as vertically. Rocker-Langes hypothetical
project establishes an alternative system to dene
building bulk: Instead of extruding the maximum
boundary condition of the site, this model

incorporates a ratio of open space. At its core there


is a computational logic that calculates the amount
of open space necessary. The rule-based model
can vary and adapt to different site, programmatic
and environmental conditions. Outcomes never
look identical and result in specic massing
identities. The intention of this set-up is to produce
varying spaces and varying densities and ratios
between solid and void congurations. The spaces
are distributed throughout the building bulk with the
consequence of a continuous vertical organization
that will work as public spaces.
The design focuses on those zones where
two typologies overlap as they provide for the
transitional space necessary to migrate from one
public space typology into the next. Cores follow
the typologies and shift. Transfers between cores
becomes necessary, which will stimulate a public
realm in those areas where one typology transients
into the next.

RE-CODING TYPOLOGIES:
From type to typological seriality

With the introduction of digital media and digital


manufacturing processes, the conception of
modularized architecture constructed out of nearly
identical industrially mass-produced components
has been challenged, along with it the simple
extraction of buildings. Today, with the use of
the computers, architecture and urban designs

225

The here proposed


parametric prototype has a remarkable resemblance
with Quatremre
de Quincys notion
of type, which was
described as a set
of rules.

Essential to the
envisioning of the
future and a rethinking of the present
will be a constant
recalibration of
the relationship
between tradition
and innovation.

226

could instead be realized as varying prototypes


of a series. Rocker-Lange Architects calls this
circumstance: serial multiplicities. Within each
series, that has one and the same set of codes
underlying, a variety of design versions can be
realized. Each of these design versions is unique
and yet also part of the series. Rather than having
a fixed form, this approach offers the ability to
develop models that describe a flexible space
that is based on a set of relationships of discrete
elements. Hence, the designer is able to constantly
redefine and alter the model, capable of producing
many possible versions based on varying input
data. The here proposed parametric prototype has
a remarkable resemblance with Quatremre de
Quincys notion of type, which was described as
a set of rules [categories], which generate a great
variety of forms under the principles those forms
share. Quite similarly the algorithm of parametric
prototypes, is the set of rules that defines the realm
of possibilities with in which design may occur. All
design versions of one algorithm are related and
yet not necessarily uniform. Instead of repeating
the same, as it is characteristic for modernitys
mass-produced and mass-replicated prototypes,
the parametric prototypes of the after-modern era,
repeat the same design protocol in order to set
design versions forth-serial multiplicities. RockerLanges projects are serial multiplicities:

The projects are informed through several


interrelated parameters that generate infinite
urban- and tower-versions within the a priori
defined framework of operation.
The projects are critical of too formal and toolreliant efforts, instead Rocker-Langes projects
are increasingly alert to the opportunities, and to
the deficiencies, engendered by dependency on
the tools and the processes they allow for. This
alertness is paralleled by an increasing interest
in the power of computation for a critical analysis
and synthesis of design. Parametric architecture
has thus recently involved projects centered on
typological redefinition. Parametric types are
developed to revisit and challenge traditional
architectural types. Essential to the envisioning
of the future and a rethinking of the present will
be a constant recalibration of the relationship
between tradition and innovation, knowledge and
imagination, presentation and representation, the
analog and the digital.

POLITICS

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. Le Corbusier, Urbanisme, G. Crs, Paris: 1925.


Le Corbusier exhibited at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts the
Pavilion Esprit Nouveau [1925] in Paris. The Pavilion represented a modular apartment as they were
projected for his urban proposal for Paris: the Plan
Voisin. The plan, which suggested to replace the
traditional urban fabric of central Paris with 200m
high skyscrapers, was exhibited in the pavilion.
See also:
Stanislaus von Moos, From the City for 3 million
inhabitants to the Plan Voisin [1968], in Le Corbusier in Perspective, ed. by Peter Serenyi, 1975,
125-138.
2. Compare with:
Ludwig Hilberseimer, Groszstadt Architektur / von
Hilberseimer, Stuttgart: J. Hoffmann, 1927.
Hilberseimer suggested among the separation of
programs also the separation of cars and pedestrians.
3. Charles Jencks, The Language of Post-Modern
Architecture, New York: Rizzoli, 1984. Source:
Missouri History Museum, U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development.
4. Only a few architects and urban planners engaged in the subject matter: Jerold Kayden for
New York, Rem Koolhaas for Tokyo and a few others for Hong Kong.
Compare with:
Jerold Kayden, Privately Owned Public Space: The
New York City, London, New York: Wiley, 2000.
Adam Frampton, Jonathan D. Salomon and Clara
Wong, Cities without Ground, A Hong Kong Guidebook, Hong Kong: Oro Editions, 2012.
Barrie Shelton, Justyna Karakiewicz, Thomas
Kvan, The Making of Hong Kong: From Vertical to
Volumetric, London: Routledge, 2010.
Rem Koolhaas, SMLXL, New York: Monacelli
Press, 1995.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.218 Matrix of different tower typologies and their


respective versions. Rocker-Lange Architects,
2011, exhibited at the Hong Kong | Shenzhen Biennale 2011/2012.
p.220 top and bottom: Repetition of the same as a
direct reflection of the encoding of building code,
economic code and a reminiscence of a discursive
urban vision into architecture, into the urban.
Image sources: Photography, by Michael Wolf,
Graphic on the right by Rocker-Lange Architects,
2011.
p.221 top: The Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project by Minoru Yamasaki build in the 1955 in St. Louis.
p.221 bottom left: Detail of Plan Voisin, 1925 by Le
Corbusier reflecting the changes in transportation
and building technologies of his era.
p.221 bottom right: The Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project
by Minoru Yamasaki build,1955, St. Louis and its
implosion, 1972.
p.222 top: Hong Kongs Podium Tower typology. Source: Barrie Shelton, Justyna Karakiewicz,
Thomas Kvan, The Making of Hong Kong: From
Vertical to Volumetric, London: Routledge, 2010.
p.222 bottom: Extreme topographical changes and
the population density of HK new opportunities for a
vertical public domain developed.
Source: Ibid.
p.223 All images: Encoded and re-coded: Matrix
of Existing Typologies and their transformations,
Rocker-Lange Architects, 2011/2012.
p.224 Urban morphologies and their potential to
provide public/civic space are defined and encoded.
A verticalization of selected typologies and their hybridization are studied, encoded and re-coded. Image: Rocker-Lane Architects, 2011, exhibited at the
Hong Kong | Shenzhen Biennale 2011/2012.
p.225 top: Matrix of different typological configurations and their potential to create public and private
space. Rocker-Lange Architects 2011, exhibited at
the Hong Kong | Shenzhen Biennale 2011/2012.
p.225 bottom: Elevations of the project. Showcasing irregular and regular distribution of public/civic
space throughout the building. The ratio of open
space to bulk mass remains the same, only the
degree of differentiation and the distribution of the
space in relation to the inhabitable space changes.
Source: Rocker-Lange Architects, 2011, exhibited
at the Hong Kong | Shenzhen Biennale 2011/2012.
p.226 Different public/civic space typologies inscribed in the bulk mass. The ration of public/civic
space to bulk mass is increasingly differentiated,
yet remains in its totality the same. Image: Rocker-Lange Architects, 2011, exhibited at the Hong
Kong, Shenzhen Biennale 2011/2012.

227

228

POLITICS

FLOAT_Beijing
Deren Guler, Carnegie Mellon University
Xiaowei Wang, Harvard GSD
In the spring of 2012, global attention shifted to
an invisible, imperceptible landscape; particulate
matter suspended in the air smaller than 2.5
microns in diameter. The source of all this attention
was the Beijing US Embassys independent
monitoring and subsequent public broadcast via
Twitter of air quality readings, which at one point
was evaluated as crazy bad. The Embassys
data was targeted towards its own population of
US citizens living abroad who are accustomed to
higher standards for air quality. The application of
US standards to Chinese air quality added to an
existing sensitivity of the Chinese government to a
legacy of imported expert knowledge and foreign
science with embedded imperialist tendencies.
Hence the Chinese government regarded the
US Embassy reports to be rather abrasive than
helpful, accusing the US of violating the terms

of diplomatic relations. air quality monitoring


and dissemination of involving the public interest
of society, government-owned public power, the
Consulate of the individual countries to conduct their
own air quality monitoring, and to issue air quality
information from the internet, is not only inconsistent
with the Vienna diplomatic relations, the spirit of the
Convention, the Vienna Convention on Consular
Relations, but also in violation of the relevant
provisions of environmental protection, [Wu
Xiaoqing, Chinas Vice Minister of Environmental
Protection]
FLOAT_Beijing took the issue of monitoring air
pollution/air quality as driving force, and suggests
a possibility of mining relevant data independently
from governmental restrictions, methodologies
and strategies; local, fast and clean, embracing
communities, tradition and available smart

The source of
all this attention
was the Beijing
US Embassys
independent
monitoring and
subsequent public
broadcast via
Twitter
To issue air quality
information from the
internet, is not only
inconsistent with the
Vienna diplomatic
relations...

229

The sensors
themselves were
equipped with
LEDs, which
changed color
according to levels
of sulfur dioxide,
VOCs, ozone and
nitrogen dioxide...

The biopolitical
element of
governmentcontrolled data
was subject to
examination.

230

technology at the same time. Beijings air pollution


issues are multi-scalar, physically in the vertical
and horizontal dimension and economically. The
extent of air pollution relies heavily on where the
boundaries of the system are being drawn. On the
ground, a single 2.5 micron particle is invisible to
the human eye, at a fraction of 2/100ths of a grain
of sand. In high concentrations, it forms dense
smog that seems to shroud Beijing for most of the
year. At the urban scale, air quality is aggravated by
Beijings large network of highly congested streets
and roadways, over capacity in their use by 5 million
cars. In addition 22 million city residents consume
a vast amount of food, water, and material goods,
and output an equally immense amount of waste;
along with the many factories, coal burning power
plants that line the outer edges of the city, and the
trash incinerators in the city that burn 25% of the
citys waste. Further Beijings geography traps air
inside a temperature inversion during the summer
by higher elevations that surround the citys center,
creating a layer of impenetrable dust and smog.
As a participatory design project FLOAT_Beijing
tackled the issue of air quality data availability
through grassroots science and citizen sensing.
Since the traditional practice of kite making is
part of the Beijing community life, FLOAT_Beijing
drew upon the kite hobbyists. From young DIY

enthusiasts to older kite masters, all participants


were highly engaged, and expressed their views on
the design of the module and future improvements
for the project. A series of community workshops
were held where local residents assembled the
modules together including air quality sensors.
The sensors themselves were equipped with
LEDs, which changed color according to levels
of sulfur dioxide, VOCs, ozone and nitrogen
dioxide, creating a spectacle of lights in Beijings
summer night sky above Beijings Dianmen public
plaza. On the whole the project triggered vibrant
conversations on the availability of air quality data
in Beijing, its shaping the environment. Urban
infrastructures have been continuously evolving
under technological advancement, with each
new configuration heralding a death of the city,
to assertions of architectures becoming both
radically homogenous and generic. Picket signs
and protests have been transformed into online
maps drawing from user-generated databases.
If urbanism, as Foucault refers to, was formerly
about the management and control of circulation
and movement, it is now being transformed into an
arbitration of risk and events. For FLOAT_Beijing,
the biopolitical element of government-controlled
data was subject to examination. Kite flying was
critical to transcend the usual group of young

FLOAT Sensing Module

Wiring scheme

gas sensor

- 5v +
220
ohm

10k
ohm

RGB
LED

Attiny85/45

FLOAT Sensing module parts


attiny 45
(micro
controller)

protoboard
5v battery
optional:
sd card
breakout board
optional:
gprs/gsm
sim reader+modem

sensors
mq-7

mq-131

mq-135

CO

ozone

VOCs
NO2

POLITICS

professionals with Weibo [the Chinese version


of Twitter] accounts and VPNs. Having dealt with
designing material infrastructures alongside their
ecological and social intentions for a long time, we
are now in the midst of the information age, where
system thinking offers strategies for designing
unseen landscapes, for good or for worse. Since
feedback loops of information and production of
data from monitoring remain thoroughly intertwined
with social, economic and political dimensions of
the landscape, and ultimately expose how data
continues to augment our physical and capitalist
realms, future plans for FLOAT_Beijing is to
plugging into existing social systems for critical
data infrastructure in Beijing. Although unseen and
invisible, they are a set of networked ecologies
that we must not ignore, when designing systems
that merge material and virtual matter, we must
not ignore, when designing systems that merge
material and virtual matter.

rgb led

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.228: Still from GoPro video.


p.230 top: FLOAT Workshop Flyer.
p.231 top: FLOAT Workshop participant with kite
flying wheel.
p.231 center: Schematic diagram of FLOAT module
and sensor parts.
p.231 bottom: Launching kites during night time kite
flight at Deshengmen Plaza.

We are now in the


midst of the information age, where
system thinking
offers strategies for
designing unseen
landscapes, for
good or for worse.

231

232

POLITICS

SPATIALIZING THE SOCIAL:


Computational Strategies for Integrated
Design in Informal Areas of Istanbul
Lila PanahiKazemi and Andrea Rossi, DIA, Temporary Autonomous Architecture
Contemporary computational design methods are
heavily based on the study of bottom-up processes
of self-organization and evolution, especially in the
natural world. Nevertheless, when we think about
built outcome of these studies, a deep contradiction
emerges. Indeed, the study of bottom-up systems
and processes ends up needing a deep top-down
approach, and the study of the self-organization
of nature totally ignores the study and relationship
with the processes of self-organization that pertain
to the human world, on each the social, economical
and urban level. Our research is based on Istanbul,
a city where this contrast between these icons
of modernization and real self-organized urban
processes is striking.1 Even if these processes

are widespread, especially in the eastern world


metropolis, Istanbul emerges for the fact that the
informal self-built settlements have reached a legal,
and we could also say, fully urban determination.
These settlements, called Gecekondu, are built
over night, recalling a old Ottoman law stating
that a safely built construction created during the
night would be considered legal the day after.2
These settlements have been developing since
the beginning of the 20th century, pushed by the
attractivity of the city due to industrialization.
The absence of funding for social housing
prompted immigrants to Istanbul to self-construct
and self-organize basic housing and infrastructure.
In the 1950s and 60s, the government began to

The products of
computational
architecture tend to
become the new
flagships of the
old corporations,
always hungry for
new icons.

233

Today, with the


development
of neoliberal
policies and the
transformation
of Istanbul into a
global city, these
settlement are
heavily threatened
by eviction and
demolition, in order
to open up new
lands to speculation
and retail areas
development.

introduce state-led housing services and topdown infrastructure. Today, with the development
of neoliberal policies and the transformation of
Istanbul into a global city, these settlement are
heavily threatened by eviction and demolition, in
order to open up new lands to speculation and
retail areas development.3 The creation of TOKI,
the agency for mass housing, a new model of
low income neighborhood have been proposed,
a model that is not contextual, not relational and
not sustainable.4 There is a need to find a common
ground, to use a current definition, between the
two planes of top-down development and bottomup growth, between the city built by planners,
based on statistics and building code, and as the
grown outcome of the needs of inhabitants of
informal areas. We need an interface, a system of
interconnections between the two levels that would
allow for a continuous exchange of informations
and materials, in order to construct coherent
neighborhoods and strong dynamic communities.
We believe that the computational design tools offer
a possibility for the actualization of this strategy.

SIMULATION
The most relevant
step have been
the introduction
of a simple
economic model
in the simulation,
that allowed for
the representation
of the complex
interrelations ...

234

To tackle this issue, our research started from


the basic social and physical mechanisms that
determine the growth of these settlements. The
basic parameters [income, need for productive
gardens, road distance, social groups composition,
topography] have been combined in a series
of algorithms, that allowed to simulate digitally
the growth patterns of these settlements. The
algorithms have been developed additively,
introducing rules one on top of each other,
comparing at every step the resulting formations
with the real neighborhoods and the changes

resulting from each new rule.5 This has given the


great advantage of building a relatively flexible
simulation, where different parameters can
be interpolated according to the need and the
characteristics of the analyzed neighborhood. All
the rules define a spatial relationship between
the elements of the simulation, including the
relationship between roads and building position,
orientation and alignment, between the topography
and the size of the units, between units and their
relative plots. The most relevant step have been
the introduction of a simple economic model in
the simulation, that allowed for the representation
of the complex interrelations that emerge between
built form, garden size, that allows for an increase
of the income through urban farming, and allows for
the composition of the families inhabiting the unit.
After some tests on an existing road network, the
simulation have been expanded by the introduction
of a multi-agents system to define the growth of
a new urban network as the starting point of the
simulation. Two families of autonomous agents
have been distributed on the topographical surface
of the area, one always searching for the highest
slope of the terrain and the second one searching
for the lowest one.
The two groups defined in this way a hierarchical
network of connections, where the high-slope
agents trails created the road armature of
the area, while the low-slope agents defined
the secondary connections between the main
network. The resulting simulation shows a wide
variety of behaviors in response to different
economical parameters and different topographical
determinations. More than that, the additive logic
of the algorithm seems to allow a great adaptability
of the model to other contexts rather than Istanbul.

LAB AT MEDIACITIES 4, BUFFALO

In order to test the possibilities of such a


methodology, we tutored a workshop at the
MediaCites 4 conference at the University at Buffalo
[SUNY], where we introduced students to the
ideas behind this research and to the techniques
used for urban simulation. The student were
introduced to the different topics in an additive way,
testing each rule independently and subsequently
adding it on top of the previous rules. After the
introduction of different topic and techniques
(income-based growth, potentials, segregation...),
each student was challenged to introduce a new
set of rules of his/her own choice, attempting
to use the developed simulation to generate a
different outcome and to test possible scenarios.
Explored topics ranged from the modeling of the
emergence of a central business district, with
variations in density according to the distance from
this centre, to understanding and representing the
influence of topography in the creation of a urban
environment. The results of the workshop showed
the potential for open planning methodologies,
where the process of understanding and design are
kept opened through all the steps of development,
which for interventions and suggestions from a
wider public. In order to further increase the reach
and the possibilities of the method, all the codes
developed during the workshop have been shared
freely under a Creative Commons licence.6

drive and enact urban changes. These behaviors


emerge when digital tools are not simply used
as generators of a novel formal vocabularies,
and start to be understood as powerful systems
of information processing, modelling and, in
many extents, thinking. These tools aim to act as
platforms for cultivating a more integrated and
contextual practice for urban and architectural
design. The data driven nature of the computational
medium is starting point for an open urban planning
procedures, both towards the citizen, who should
become more integrated and be able to actually
interact with the proposed plan, and also between
professionals, where open platform of simulations,
decision-making and discussion would allow for
the emergence of a more integrated and contextual
practice of urban and architectural design.7

In order to test the


possibilities of such
a methodology, we
tutored a workshop
at the MediaCites4
conference at the
University at Buffalo.

CONCLUSION

The overall approach, made possible by the


integration of digital modelling techniques in the
realm of social, economical and urban decision
making, shows the potential that for using
computational tools as a way to understand,

235

First stage Gecekondu


First stage Gecekondu
single storey-owner
occupied
.
single
storey-owner
occupied .

Second stage Gecekondu


Second stage Gecekondu
single storey-owner
single storey-owner
rented out or sold
of. out or sold of.
rented

immigrants from ruralimmigrants from rural law bringing greater law bringing greaterMunicipalities
Municipalities
Land Office to
less than 20% urbanised.
less than 20% urbanised.
Gecekondu fund
part to city for betterpart to city for bettermunicipality and district
Gecekondu
fundland
moderate
municipality and district
Turkish economy wasTurkish economy was
Ministry of Public Ministry
Public
priceofand
provide
based on agriculture.based on agriculture.life, job and social life, job and social together,giving moretogether,giving more
Works and Settlements
upgrading
Works and
andSettlements
for different
power to district
upgrading
power to district
fund for
municipality.
municipality. Gecekondu fund for Gecekondusectors.
addressing problems.addressing problems.
End of worldwarII
Global economy crisisGlobal economy crisis

upper class
residence

1973

1969

1953

1945

1953
1945

emergence of
urban sprawl

emergence of g
communitie

4 to 5 storey walk-ups
starting t
4 to 5 storey walk-ups
transforming former
detachedformermove
to
transforming
detach
housing to apartment
blocks.
Sprawl.
housing
to apartment
block

was Gecekondu was


self organized self organized
land was sold vialand
landwas sold via Gecekondu
land
considered as a considered as a
transportation system
transportationmafia
system
to new comers
mafia to new comers
transitionary
Dolmus operating
as a operating
transitionary
Dolmus
as a
in Gecekondu
toin
build
Gecekondu to build
shared Taxi between
phase for varosphase for varos
shared Taxi between
their own houses.their own houses.
Gecekondu
and
Factories.
Gecekondu and Factories.
lower class

residence
agriculture practiced
in
agriculture
practiced in

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.232: Plan view of the simulation output on the


Derbent neighbourhood.
p.234: Perspective view of the simulation output on
the Derbent neighbourhood.
p.235: Screenshot of the code interface Building
growth simulation.
pp.236-237: Historical timeline of development of
informal housing in Istanbul.

a full version of the project can bw found at


http://issuu.com/andrearoxrossi/docs/130822_
theisbooklet_cc [accessed September 2013]

236

1929

1929

incresing land price


and land price and
incresing
unaffordable rents
made
unaffordable
rents made
housing a major housing
issue a major issue

most Gecekondumost
and Gecekondu and
gives the inhabitants
gives the inhabitants
autonomy in regard
of
autonomy
in regard of
their food production
their food production

PUBLICATION

first Bosporus Brid

End of worldwarII

Henri prost master plan


Gecekondu
Henri Fund
prostfor
master
plan Fund for Gece

emergence of
urban sprawl

upper class
residence

middle class middle class


residence
residence

lower class
residence

1923

1923

1900

1900

declaration of the republic


declaration of the republic

lack of commercial
lack of commercial
facilities lead to facilities
Isch
lead to Isch
Porta self-organized
Porta self-organized
street vendors food
street vendors food
and goods
and goods

further developmfu
Gecekondu alongG

new law regularize new law regularize


add-ones TOKI the add-ones TOKI the
approval
from
80-83
the to
law to
Land
Office
80-83
thehousing
law to
mass
mass housing
federal
government
legalised
illegallylegalised
moderatethe
land
the illegally
administration
administration
to
establish
Sabgazi
built
squatter
housed,
price and provide
built
squatter
dealing
withhoused,
housingdealing with housing
Beledieyeh.
but
the owner
andallowed
for different
but allowed
the owner as
for lower-income
foralower-income
to add
up
to
4
storey.
sectors.
to add up
to 4 storey.
residence.
residence.

POLITICS

Municipalities
Land Office to
Gecekondu
fundland
moderate
Ministry
Public
priceofand
provide
nts
Works and
andSettlements
for different
or Gecekondusectors.
fund for
ms.addressing problems.

Post GecekonduPost
stageGecekondu stage
the constructionthe
became
commercialised
tenants.,increase tenants.
construction
became ,increase
commercialised

POLITICS

ondustage Gecekondu
ond
er
ngle storey-owner
of.
nted out or sold of.

for Protection of law for Protection of


approvallaw
from
Dilapidated HistoricalDilapidated Historical
federal government
and
Cultural
to establish SabgaziReal Estate
and Cultural Real Estate
through protection by
as a Beledieyeh.
through protection by
Renewal
Renewal

first Bosporus Bridgefirst Bosporus Bridge Faith Sultan MehmetFaith


Bridege
earthquake,1700
Sultan Mehmet
Bridege died.
earthquake,1700 died.

2005

2005

2000

first realstate trust

1990
2000
1992

1990
1984
1992

1984

1973

1969

1973

1969

Neoliberalism policies
or Gecekondu
Neoliberalism policies first realstate trust
master
plan Fund for Gecekondu

illegal housing preferred


emergence of gated
emergence of gated illegal housing preferred
also by middleclass
alsoand
by middleclass and
communities communities
upperclass
upperclass

-ups
starting to
to 5 storey walk-ups
etachedformermove
to
forming
detached
ting
blocks.
Sprawl.
to apartment
blocks.

starting to
move to
Sprawl.

du was
ed as a
onary
varos
,
Kurdish
immigrants ,
further development
of development ofKurdish immigrants
further
Gecekondu alongGecekondu
E-5
along E-5 political parties political parties

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. Yasar Adanaly, Casidy Johnson, Forced Evictions in Istanbul: Living in Voluntary and Involuntary
Exclusion.
2. Miranda Iossifidis, A Study of the Gecekondu
in Istanbul, Turkey, Thesis available online at: exchange.drawloop.com/published/download/11576.
3. A. B. Candan, B. Kolluoglu, Emerging Spaces of
Neoliberalism: A Gated Town and Public Housing
Project in Istanbul, in New Perspectives on Turkey,
no. 39, 2008, pp.5-46.
4. Ayse Pamuk, Convergence Trends in Formal
and Informal Housing Markets: The Case of Turkey
in Journal of Planning Education and Research, no.
16, 1996.
5. Michael Batty, Cities and Complexity: Understanding Cities with Cellular Automata, AgentBased Models and Fractals, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2007.
6. Andrea Rossi, InteractivePlanningIstanbul,
GitHub, https://github.com/AndreaRossi1988/InteractivePlanningIstanbul, 2013, [accessed September 2013].
7. Berlage Institute, SpaceFighter. The Evolutionary City (Game). http://web.mit. edu/kkdb/www/
newhome/amachine/sf/readings/RR-1yr-MAAS-A5.
pdf.

237

238

VISIONS
Matteo Taramelli and Nikita Azarkhin
Alex Woodhouse and Leah Zaldumbide
Matteo Maraviglia
Maj Plemenitas
Galileo Morandi and Silvia Bertolotti

Alchemic Psychosis
Desert Driftboat
the allHOLE Project
Cross Scalar ] LINK [ Complex
Heterogeneous Systems
Living Nature

239

240

VISIONS

ALCHEMIC PSYCHOSIS:
Dendritic Network for ritualized
sensoric Trauma
Matteo Taramelli, Nikita Azarkhin , DIA
Alchemic Psychosis: Dendritic Network for
ritualized sensoric Trauma discusses the idea of
psychogeography, defined as the study of the
precise laws and specific effects of the geographical
environment, consciously organized or not, on
the emotions and behavior of individuals.1. It is a
research-based project devoted to the investigation
into the powerful correspondence between selforganized systems in nature and the emergence
of architectural scenarios. The project was carried
out in two phases, phase one, researching and
simulating the adaptive growth behavior of a
particular material; phase two, understanding
the knowledge gained in phase one as systemic
approach to urban intervention. The multilayered
invention was developed through feedback

between different fields of research. Phase one


focused on the analysis of dendritic crystals
growth, a complex nanostructure that has many
peculiarities, such as the ability to provide a natural
framework for the study of disordered systems.
Several experiments with solutions of copper
sulfate salt allowed us to understand the rules of
crystals growth and teh factors that influenced the
geometry, speed and direction of growth. Digital
simulations then translated the principles observed
in our physical experimentations to a controlled
virtual environment. There is a variety of emerging
parameters that have a major influence on the
dendritic growth and affect the type of process;
the presence of impurities in a solution works as
catalyzer for the diffusion of molecular clusters,

Alchemic Psychosis:
Dendritic Network
for ritualized
sensoric Trauma
discusses
the idea of
psychogeography.

241

242

the temperature define the direction of expansion


and the density of saturation is suggesting the
magnitude of the entire phenomenon. The general
process of crystal growth is defined by the Diffusionlimited aggregation [DLA] model. In DLA, external
forces cluster particles into complex aggregates.
During phase two of the research we integrated
our DLA algorithm into a multi-agent system, that
analyzed demographic and geographic data.
The designed form of Alchemic Psychosis therefore
can be regarded as a reaction on its surrounding
envronment. The project reviewed the provocative
agenda of psychogeography, and, as an extension,
suggested an active feedback between users and
architecture;The site chosen was a derelict cargo
train station, the program incorporated workshops,
laboratories, meeting areas and restaurants /
bars for the citizens. Given that the architectural
gestalt is scripted in accordance to the citys
demographic data, tentacles reach out into the
areas with the most attractors. Programmatically
the project envisaged a space, where people
are drawn together to learn with and from each
others. The multi-agent system, that organized the
whole project, allowed us to create a network that
offered an architecture that exisits in a symbiotic
relationship with its users.

The idealistic aim


of the project
envisaged a space,

CITATIONS / REFERENCES / NOTES

1. Guy Debord, Introduction to a Critique of Urban


Geography, (1955, Les Levres Nues, 6), trand. Ken
Knabb

where people
come together to
learn with and
from each others.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.240: Iterations of system behavior combining DLA


algorithm and genealogy of crystal growth using
processing.
pp.242-243: Visions of prototypical architectures
reflecting the design process.
p.242 bottom: Processing sketch showing an
iteration of multi-agent behavior on site.

243

244

VISIONS

DESERT DRIFTBOAT

Alex Woodhouse and Leah Zaldumbide, CalArts


Desert Driftboat investigates the prospect of
an alternative, event-driven, nomadic society,
fleeing the overbearing, cosmopolitan lifestyle of
urbanity in favor of a simplified yet profound way
of living. Seeking respite from a culture of extreme
density, poor air quality, automotive dependence,
materialism and ownership, this nomadic
civilization has emerged in the barren desertscape
of the Salton Sea. Tasked with providing a new
locale for mega-events such as Coachella and
Burning Man, a colony of machines autonomously
roams the desert while mapping the civilizations
migratory patterns, driven strictly by features of the
landscape. Each drone works tirelessly, creating
clusters of living from locally extracted resources
as it traverses the desert terrain. As a prototype,
the Arduino-driven mobile drawing machine senses
and responds to its environment, employing a
webcam to identify a route of travel and tool-paths
to simulate. At build locations, the robot translates
complex linework into coordinated stepper
motor movements made visible in the output of
digitized illustrations. These resultant micro-scale
illustrations are congruent with the projects overall
proposal of landscape intervention. Sited within the
expansive Coachella and Imperial Valley regions,
the scalar magnitude of these aggregations and the
machines that produce them is as monumental as
the ambitious process that resulted in the formation
and failure of the Salton Sea - itself a product of
human ingenuity and catastrophe. Only over
considerable durations in time can the significance
of the machines acts on the landscape and the
nomadic population be fully realized.

245

246

VISIONS

THE allHOLE PROJECT


Matteo Maraviglia, Politecnico di Milano
MEPHISTOPHELES
Sie ist gerichtet
STIMME von oben
ist gerettet
Goethes Faust, vol. 1, 4611 - 4612
The aLLhOLE project was developed as Scenario
Design Research within the Research Group
Design & Innovation for Sustainability, Department
of Design, Politecnico di Milano, and investigates
into a futurist vision for urban development
through the biological process of creation through
destruction. The aim is to carry out a smooth
but violent overturn of the fixed processes that
characterize contemporary cities, which are still
firmly anchored to 20th century notions, suggesting
an alteration to the urban grid of NYC.
At the end of an industrial society and the
emergence of what we might define as a real
digital revolution, above all philosophical and not
technological, it has come to a situation in which
the strong and absorbed modernity of the last

century has given way to an ephemeral, evanescent


and widespread new human condition. The current
society, known as liquid society, carries on in a
constant state of crisis and variation. It is no longer
conceivable in terms of continuity and stability, and
its nature is turbulent and changeable. The city is
replaced by territory of complexity is comprised
of interactions, information, products, services
and connections. Everything is intangible with the
absolute absence of predetermination. Architecture
and Cities, as they used to be, and as they are now,
have no reason to exist as atoms anymore; in the
current reality they are rather a phenomenon, set
of information or event. Space is no longer static,
but alive. Rarefied connective tissue creates a
dense network of interactions and layers of reality
mostly invisible. Space is no longer occupied by
built architecture, but by interaction, people and
streams.
The predominant culture strives to keep alive a
world, which is out of time, inappropriate and nonevolutionary. The new world is anonymous, a body
in state change.

a futurist vision for


urban development through the
biological process
of creation
It is no longer
conceivable in
terms of continuity
and stability, and its
nature is turbulent
and changeable

247

SCENARIO

the virus is
inoculated into the
existing urban body
of NYC

It loses its typological/functional pattern to be replaced


by a topological/
interawwwctive
feature.

248

A method akin to biological viral growth and


mutation in a biological laboratory is used, where
a retrovirus is generated, obtaining its molecular
map and genetic code from the universal database
of the Universal System of Virus Taxonomy [ICTV].
After exported and displayed in its tridimensional
structure, the virus is inoculated into the existing
urban body of NYC. During the incubation period
the city seemingly maintains a semblance of
normality, despite the virus beginning to organize
its parasitic dynamics, processes, which are not
yet visible. In this transitional period, the principles
begin to adjust and the existing urban tissue will
soon be subjected to critical mutation. The entity
infects the urban body and proliferates according
to its own development scheme. Once city cells get
infected, the viruses lose their structural stability.
These new entities interact with the existing; a
process that causes a necrosis of the urban tissue
and the geometric grid, provoking severe spatial
mutation. The city decays and rips itself apart,
loses its physical stiffness and literally opens
itself to complex interactive scenarios. It loses its
typological/functional pattern to be replaced by a
topological/interactive feature.

VISION

Lesions, emerged through the decaying process and


regenerated wounds, transform into underground
galleries, graft with a new territorial tissue, an
intestinal epithelium, villi, generated through
scripted surface tessellation. A phage culture
nurtures the geofront, a natural system based
on underground expansion that traces the same
conditions present in the superficial ecosystem
and that flows out the existing city. A forest and a
river grow among the intestinal villi, and offer an
alternative living space in the new auto-generated
city. The tridimensional structure of the virus map
acts as a binding agent between the different parts,
an interstitial space allowing dynamic interaction of
activities and flows of cultural information, physical
atoms and data. A new model of urban spatiality is
created. Ephemeral and underground; an extension
of the existing, industrial city on the surface, takes
the form of a complex ecosystem, where within the
artificial, human and social spaces nature grows out
of the same genetic material towards a synthesis.
This unitary organism, loses its own boundaries
and limits, and appears as an indefinite entity able
to respond to the stimuli it receives from itself and
the existing city above - a link with the new territory
born from a corruption manifested by the violent
reaction of the virus.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.246: The Geofront


p.248: Infection and Rebirth - the Manhatten Scenario
p.249: The Geofront - Virus Structure and System
of Villi

249

250

VISIONS

CROSS SCALAR ] LINK [


Complex Heterogeneous Systems
Maj Plemenitas, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture
The emerging challenges can and should become
emerging opportunities for positive change.
Our ability to provide the long-term resilience
is critically linked to the ability to fundamentally
rethink evolution of our perception, design and
use of structures as well as systems and spaces
that surround, protect and link us. Heterogeneous,
adaptive, responsive and interconnected systems
and structures can provide the vital resilience in
ever emerging [un]predictable scenarios. Can
something commonly perceived as intrinsically
stabile, rigid and enclosed as architecture
predominately is, act at the same time as a
perceptive, receptive and reactive system and
platform for active and passive exchange that
enables and promotes connectivity? Not only
within itself, but also with the environment and its
users, consequentially providing a vital link for a
truly resilient system? Not one that relies solely
on reinforcing the structural performance but also
on the ability to evolve, adapt and regenerate
through time. The embedded coordinated intrinsic

instability/dynamics provides the potential for


increased responsiveness and reconfiguration of a
system while at the same time acting as a driving
force throughout its lifecycle. The great potential
of this autonomous yet vitally linked architectural
vocabulary is especially powerful when dealing with
projects of great scale and in non-standard building
scenarios. This series of projects investigates
through an array of experimental cross scalar
innovative approaches how the dynamic, and to a
degree unpredictable oceanic environment offers
a unique opportunity and a platform to rethink,
enhance, test and implement the new design,
fabrication and construction processes. These
range from macro scale physical computing based
self assembly process driven by wave motion in
liquid medium, sub surface self repair processes,
multi scale surface patterning and adaptable
variable heterogeneous structure production. By
designing units capable of physical computation,
selective attraction and self assembly, and through
the utilization of Eco[Geo]logical Computation as

251

ILLUSTRATIONS

pp.250, 252: Simple Complexity - an inner view


of a highly structurally and functionally advanced
and differentiated detail, capable of multi tasking,
adaptation, reconfiguration and self repair.
p.253: Structural differentiations in compositions of
homogenous discrete building units can form a wide
range of reconfigurable heterogeneous structures.

252

VISIONS

a self calibrating large scale Relative positioning


system it is possible to construct intricate and
complex multi scale structures passively. With
the expansion of the worlds population coupled
with the fact that a majority of large and densely
populated metropolitan areas are situated on or
near the shorelines it is clear that this emerging
condition is of a great, global importance.
Shoreline is a unique constantly self-renegotiating
condition connecting and at the same time dividing
two mayor systems. Often the link between
anthropocentrically oriented inhabited land and
intrinsically instable fluctuating water environment
is not established in its full potential. This clearly a
vitally important yet missed opportunity. Reliance
on brutal methods by making a hard cuts and
reinforcement of boundaries simply destroys the
qualities and diversity of these places while it is
still unable to compete with the strength of nature
in case of unpredictable events and provide users
with long time resilience. Since the constant and
direct design input of an architect as a designer is
often not possible due to very small or large spatial
scales or time scales or because of other intrinsic
and emerging specifics forming sheer complexity

of the design field, an alternative approach


showing potential for more indirect and at the
same time more profound methofoligies needs to
be established. Hence Cross Scalar Link proposes
an orchestration of components into structures
and further into larger systems that is based on
the embedding of principles into computational
algorithms, material properties and geometry.
A resulting ability to compute and establish relations
with other components within and outside of the
system may construct a diverse and adaptable array
of complex heterogeneous structures and networks
with redundancy. An ability to form complex
heterogeneous structures from homogenous
simple building blocks creates the potential for the
rich spectrum of structural and other functional
differentiations. This translates into controllable
morphology for performance or other specific
adaptation. The right morphology in combination
with the right materials can significantly simplify
control. This enhanced innovative vocabulary of
inclusively strategical possibilities enables vital
future developments, extending and enhancing
and reinforcing the domain of architecture and
redefining its future role.

253

254

VISIONS

LIVING NATURE
Silvia Bertolotti and Galileo Morandi, Politecnico di Milano
Living Nature describes a design strategy for a new
urban settlement in the Italian West countryside
between Milan and Bergamo. The project suggests
a possible solution to the current challenging
conditions through scripting and the theory that
complexity follows cognitivity. A combination that
organizes, and structures the built environment
in a complex and specific way. If thinking means
understanding and interpreting, focusing on and
applying conventional concepts/formulas seems
obsolete. The area in question is characterized
by agriculture, organized in extensive fields with
rivers and canals. Rural buildings, large industrial
districts and smaller towns with little infrastructure
characterize human activity within the area.
Missing physical and social connections between
the different programs is evident. Our research
aims at finding innovative, creative and sustainable
solutions to trigger interaction without relying on
top-down planning regulations that tend to generate
simplification rather than enrichment. Further, the
project acts as critique of the general paradigmatic
view that buildings are mere objects, that cities are
centers of power with high concentration of activity
and that the surrounding territory, as the sum of

fragmented elements, is programmed towards


high productivity, in order to serve city centers.
Rather than organizing interaction in a specialized
and closed architecture, we propose a strong
interchange of indoor/outdoor and natural/manmade public program; the resulting space flows
along the project, promoting human relationships,
interaction of different cultures and moments in
our lives, as well as exchanging ideas, products,
information. The main principle of a general design
method is the redefinition of design process as
generative and creative. Through consideration
of various different parameters apparent in society,
such as economics and physical location, the project
creates synergy, innovation and regeneration for
the territory as dynamic, open and creative process;
a form of living that embraces and considers the
various desires of the inhabitants. To handle the
complexity of the program, we did not merely
simplify the projects existing relationships, which
would consist in unifying their multiple actions and
controlling complexity with a selection of ratifying
rules. Instead we are aiming at metamorphosis that
allows for complexity through dynamic conversation,
and to foster the fluid relationship between design

If thinking means
understanding
and interpreting,
focusing on and
applying conventional concepts and
formulas seems
obsolete.

255

256

CREDITS

The project was developed as part of a Research


Group in Design & Innovation for Sustainability,
Department of Design of Politecnico di Milano.

VISIONS

process and the real as a possible architecture.


Main tool for organizing project and design process
was Mayas hair system and its self-organization
properties to create attractive or repulsive forces,
subsequently arriving at a space offering interaction
with the areas challenges and potentials. This
dynamic system simulates the physical and
relational properties of the hair, in which each hair
tries to reach a level of micro and macro equilibrium,
using the energy necessary. Hence the system
is able to react to transformations and to adapt
to the context preserving its physical qualities. At
times efficiency is increased by using top-down
instruction and emerging elements. Using Maya
MEL script we can project those elements to create
a reticular structure that is variable and adaptable
to different environments and characteristics of the
project. Therefore the project consists of a net that
connects activity-spaces at the same time changes
its typological function continuously. It becomes a
stair or a roof and creates indoor/outdoor spaces
with different climatic ambient. The code is written
to react to two auxiliary systems that control active
and passive climatic conditions. The first one is
based on daily solar irradiation and program inside
the structure to calculates the optimal surface for
solar paneling or sun-screen louvers. The second
one simulates the inside flow of air to locate solar
chimney for the natural air ventilation. This design
strategy avoids codified solutions and goes beyond
a merely rational tradition that separates analysis
and synthesis, with the aim of emphasizing the
cognitive survey. It allows to deeply understand the
structural aspect of the process that characterizes
the synthesis of built environment and human
behavior. We envisage observing the structural
characteristics of a challenging urban situation,
in order to clearly establish current contradiction
between the internal and external requirement and
to enable new computationally driven urban design
solutions. With this method we can understand
the complexity of human interaction in urban
conditions instead of dissolving and breaking it into
fragmented interpretations. A flexible approach,
awareness of mutation and unpredictable solutions
to the challenges is part of future architecture.

Maya hair
system and its
self-organization
properties were
used as the main
tool for organizing
project and design
process.

This design
strategy avoids
codified solutions
and goes beyond
a merely rational
tradition.

A flexible
approach,
awareness of
mutation and
unpredictable
solutions to the
challenges is part of
future architecture.

ILLUSTRATIONS

p.254: Territorial space organization.


p.256 top: perspective.
p.256 bottom: Territorial potentials.
p.257: Generative design process: from analysis to
space organization.

257

258

BIOS
Editors
Authors

259

260

EDITORS BIOS
LISS C. WERNER, EDITOR
Liss C. Werner is a licensed German Architect based in Berlin, architectural researcher and Assistant
Professor at Desssau Institute of Architecture. She is founder of Tactile Architecture - Office for
SystemArchitektur, based in Berlin since 2007. In 2012/13 Werner acted as George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow,
visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Architecture. Her main interest and research
subject lies in the relevance and implications of early cybernetics, for computational architecture in C21,
exploring code-based tools to provoke an architectural vocabulary that allows architecture to depart from
the 19th century understanding of predetermined static form and the establishment of Euclidian space
per-se towards an architecture of self-organization, agent-based formations and biological understanding.
As practicing project architect, Werner worked in the UK, Germany and Russia. As architectural educator
and researcher she has been teaching and lecturing since 2002 in the UK (London, Nottingham), Austria
(Kunstuniversitt Linz at Institute for raum&designstrategien), US (Carnegie Mellon University, Texas Tech
University, CalArts, MIT), Germany (DIA, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, TU Berlin, Karlsruhe
University of Applied Sciences, HTW Berlin) and Ukraine (Canactions). Further Werner was invited as a
critic at Stdelschule, University of Liverpool, the Bartlett, USC and UCLA. She contributed to a variety of
conferences, symposia and workshops in the UK, Ukraine, Germany and the US, co-organized and spoke
at summer academy ars11, organized and chaired Digital Week at DIA 2011 and [En]Coding Architecture
2013 at Carnegie Mellon University.
Her computational design studio Codes in the Clouds was founded in 2010 at DIA and is looking at
growth of sublime, philosophically and tectonically challenging generation of form to arrive at provocative
architectural prototypes with embedded data and intelligence. Research focuses on cybernetic principles
resulting in explorative architecture derived through behavioral logic and scripting, developing dynamic
design strategies and cross-disciplinary design thinking. Codes in the Clouds was exhibited and published
at DigitalFutures, Tongji University in Shanghai and the 13th Venice Biennale 2012 in the Slovenian pavilion
in conjunction with Maribor 2112AI 100YC, the European capital of culture 2012.
Liss C. Werner holds a Master of Architecture and Diploma with commendation from The Bartlett as well
as a 1st class Bachelor of Arts from the University of Westminster. Further she studied at RMIT. Werner
received the deVere Urban Design Prize, Peter Fuld Scholarship, George N. Pauly Fellowship and a grant
from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art at the Forntier. She is a member of Architectural Humanities Research Association [AHRA], Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium at Humboldt University Berlin (where
she is currently writing her Doctorate Philosophicae), Architektenkammer Berlin and the American Society
of Cybernetics [ASC]. Werner believes that FORM is a VERB and not a noun.

MADELINE GANNON, COPY-EDITOR


Madeline Gannon is a Researcher, Designer and Educator in Carnegie Mellon Universitys School of
Architecture. Gannon holds a Masters of Architecture from Florida International University, a Masters
of Science of Computational Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently pursuing a PhD
in Computational Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research investigates digital-to-analog
feedback loops in the context of craft, tectonics, aesthetics, and interaction. Her work demonstrates
computational and architectural techniques that navigate the transitory spaces between digital and analog,
interactive and passive, intuitive and technical, temporal and spatial.

261

AUTHORS BIOS
SEAN AHLQUIST, Taubman College University of Michigan
Exploration and Fidelity in Material Computation:

Evolutionary Means for the Articulation of Textile Morphologies


Sean Ahlquist is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan. He is a part of the
Cluster in Computational Media and Interactive Systems, which connects Architecture with the fields of
Material Science, Computer Science, Art & Design and Music. His particular research thread is centered
on the topic of material computation, in developing means by which complex material behaviors can be instrumentalized to formulate integrated and variable spatial capacities. He continues this research also as a
current doctoral candidate at the University of Stuttgart in the Institute for Computational Design [ICD], with
expected completion of the doctorate [Dr.Ing.] in 2013. Ahlquist holds a Master of Architecture degree from
the Architectural Association in London, Emergent Design and Technologies Program. He has published
widely on the topic of computational design, including a reader entitled Computational Design Thinking,
co-edited with Achim Menges, which collects and reflects upon seminal texts formulating a systems and
material based approach to architecture and design methodologies.

STEFANO ARRIGHI, Politecnico di Milano


Responsive Patterns on Double Curved Surfaces

Stefano Arrighi is a freelance Architect and independent researcher based in Italy. Arrighi holds a Master
of Science in Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano. He is an Assistant Instructor of parametric and
algorithmic design at the Politecnico di Milano School of Building Engineering. Arrighi is currently working at
INDEXLAB as a computational designer, his latest research is dedicated to exploring complex geometries
and adaptive building systems.

SILVIA BERTOLOTTI, Politecnico di Milano


Living Nature

Silvia Bertlotti is a founder of the Milan studio CREATE, an office for innovative solutions in the field of
architecture and urban planning, which she runs together with Galileo Morandi. Bertolotti worked as a
project designer at EMERGENT LTD (Tom Wiscombe). She teaches urban& architectural strategies
at Politecnico di Milano as Assistant Professor and acts as author for a variety of Italian architectural
magazines. She is a member of the international Project Team NUTAU/USP - LATAS/Polimi, an academic
research group that participates at international competition projects to find innovative and sustainable
living solutions for developing areas in Brazil. Bertolotti holds a post-graduate Master degree in Sustainable
Territory & Architecture and a Master degree in Architecture from Politecnico di Milano.

NICCOLO CASAS, Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture
Digital Dcadence: The Fractal Dimension

Niccol Casas is currently a professor of Digital Modeling Techniques at the Accademia di Belle Arti in
Bologna and PhD Candidate at The Bartlett School of Architecture, where he focuses on characteristics of
Digital Dcadence as a contemporary movement founded on the poetic of decline and senescence. He is
a designer, architect and professor. After studying architecture at the Universit degli Studi in Florence and
the I.S.A. St Luc in Brussels, he participated in a series of international projects designed to highlight the
convergence of architecture, art and fashion design. Casas was invited by Gabriel Esquivel to be part of the
Visiting Designer Program at the University of Texas A&M School of Architecture in Spring 2013, together
with Eric Goldemberg [Monad Studio]. He taught Workshops on parametric design at The Universit degli
Studi di Genova and Florence, London South Bank University, The Bartlett, and F.I.U. Florida International
University. Cassas recently created Alchemy a Fashion collection for Materialise presented at the 10th
Anniversary Materialise World Conference and Turbulence a 3D printed necklace designed in collaboration
with the Spanish designer Leyre Valiente for her collection Malleus Malefiacarum.

262

DAVID M. DECESPEDES, Taubman College University of Michigan


Vertical Territories

David M de Cspedes is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan Taubman College of
Architecture & Planning. During his tenure at as a graduate student, de Cspedes acted as Editor-inChief for Ampersand Volume Six: Sites of Decline, a student-led publication funded by Taubman College,
focused on a fresh analysis of architectures role in sites of urban degradation, abandonment, and decay.
Prior to attending Taubman College, de Cspedes received a Bachelor of Arts from Florida International
University, and subsequently completed a three-year teaching fellowship with Miami-Dade County, aimed
at engaging under-performing secondary schools through design and technology curriculum. David is
currently a founding partner of AND-OR-US, a design collaborative that analyzes the inherent complexities
in contemporary society through built form.

BRANDON CLIFFORD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Matter Design


La Vote De Fevre

Brandon Clifford is currently the Belluschi Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well
as Principal at Matter Design. Clifford received his Master of Architecture from Princeton University in
2011 and his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006. Clifford
served as editor of Pidgin Magazine from 2009-11, the 2011-12 LeFevre Fellow at The Ohio State University, and the founder of the Malleablist Movement in architecture. As Principal of Matter Design, his works
have won international design competitions such as the West Cork Arts Center and the 10Up! Competition and awarded honors such as the AZ Award and Architectural Record Product of the Year. Clifford
has also received the 2011 SOM Prize and the 2013 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects.

DALE CLIFFORD, Carnegie Mellon University


On Materials, Biology, and Architecture

At Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Arizona, Clifford has initiated coursework and research
programs to develop building technologies based on regional building practices, biomimetics, and advances
in materials science. The vehicle for Cliffords research is prototyping and includes full-scale demonstration
projects to field-test transitional building technologies.

JOSE LUIS GARCIA DEL CASTILLO, Universidad de Sevilla, Harvard GSD - Parametric Camp
WX

Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo is the founder and CEO of ParametricCamp. He holds a Masters degree in
Architectural Technological Innovation from Universidad de Sevilla, where he also serves as an invited
lecturer, and has taught several workshops on computational design, creative code and digital fabrication.
Garcia del Castillo has worked as a structural consultant for several international firms including OMA,
Mecanoo, and Cesar Pelli, and currently studies and teaches at Harvard University Graduate School of
Design. http://www.parametriccamp.com

MARJAN COLETTI, Innsbruck University, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture


An Example of En/Decoding Neo Materialism: ProtoRobotic FOAMing

Prof. Dr. Marjan Colletti [*1972, Bozen] is an architect, teacher, researcher and theorist. He is full University
Professor at Innsbruck University, where he is Head of the Institute of Experimental Architecture [Hochbau
and studio3] and of REX|LAB; and Associate Professor at the Bartlett, where he is currently acting MArch
Architecture program director, MArch Unit 20 master, MArch GAD research cluster 2 leader, and PhD supervisor. He has taught in several schools in Europe [Innsbruck, Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris, Vienna], the UK
[Bartlett, University of Westminster, Royal College of Art, KIAD], and Asia [Feng Chia University, Tunghai
University Taiwan]. He is author of the forthcoming design-research theory book Digital Poetics, and was
editor of the 80th anniversary issue of Architectural Design entitled Exuberance. He is co-founder of the
architectural studio marcosandmarjan in London.

263

GABRIEL BELLO DIAZ, F.A.C., IAAC Barcelona


Magnetic Architecture: Communication with Material

Gabriel Bello Diaz currently resides in Seattle, Washington where he works as a writer, architectural
researcher and instructor. His writings and research focus on robotics and neuroscience in architecture
and the emergence of the digital artisan in relationship to the history of fabrication. As an instructor, he
focuses on 3D modeling and printing through the studies of complex geometries generated from both
nature and mathematics. He has presented work in several conferences and exhibitions including: Robots
in Architecture 2012, Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 and Future Traditions 2013. Further, Diaz is
director at the F.A.C, Future Architectural Coalition, a global non-profit organization that advocates for a
new standard in public school education and initiates interventions for communities in different countries
with the international design team.

ALEXANDRE DUBOR, IAAC Barcelona


Magnetic Architecture: Communicating with Material

Alexandre Dubor is an architect researcher hacking new technologies in an attempt to reinvent how we
build and live in our cities. He is currently assistant instructor in Digital Fabrication & Digital Tectonics class
of the post-graduate master course at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya [IAAC]. Dubor
also works at Fab Lab Barcelona and Appareil. His current research includes MagneticArchitecture.org
and SmartCitizen.me.

JACOB DOUENIAS, Carnegie Mellon University


Algal Architecture: Integrating Biological Symbiosis

Jacob Douenias is a recently graduated Bachelors of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, where
was awarded the John Knox Memorial travel scholarship to explore and research Japan and India. He is
interested in how architecture can maximize the relationship between integrated building systems and the
occupants experience combined with a vested interest in the hands on approach to architecture, which
allows for the use of his sound experience in DIY fabrication. In 2011, he worked in New York for SOM.
Currently, Douenias is working for BioLogic; an architecture research group, run by Dale Clifford, dedicated
to materials research, where he focuses on implementing the findings of his thesis work, featured in this
book, transitioning into a substantial research project; a collaborative start-up residential algae lab aiming
at the distributed approach to energy and sustainability through algae.
www.biogenous.net

CHRISTIAN ERVIN, Rice University, Harvard GSD


WX

Christian Ervin is a Master of Design Studies student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He
holds a B.Arch from Rice University, and has worked for several years in design, architecture, and music.
He is currently a Research Assistant for the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab, creating novel
applications for technologies developed at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Ervin is a
Teaching Fellow at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he mentors students in
design innovation in ES20 and Teaching Assistant at the GSD for Responsive Environments. Most recently,
he spent the summer managing the Idea Translation Lab, a unique fellowship offered by the Lab at Harvard
[in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Wyss Institute] for students to develop
world-changing ideas at the intersection of the arts and sciences. Ervin grew up in Bangkok, Buenos Aires,
and Mexico City before moving to the place he now considers home: Portland, Oregon.

ANDREI GHEORGHE, Die Angewandte, University of Applied Arts, Vienna


Architecture Challenge 2012

Andrei Gheorghe is currently teaching as an Assistant Professor at Die Angewandte, University of Applied Arts, Vienna.Previously he was Assistant Professor in Architecture at Portland State University USA,
where he developed pedagogy and research in digital media and fabrication. He studied at the Academy
of Fine Arts Vienna and after being awarded the Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University, where he
graduated with distinction and received the Harvard GSD Digital Design Prize. Gheorghe taught at various
institutions such as Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, SCI-ARC Los Angeles and Harvard GSD, where he offered architectural design studios in the Career Discovery Program. Previously, he worked as an architect
for international offices such as Jakob + MacFarlane, dEcoi Paris and Foreign Office Architects [FOA], London. His research focuses on Digital Media and Design [Parametric-, Algorithmic- and Kinetic Architecture]
for which he was awarded the Harvard Digital Design Award in 2009.

264

MONAD STUDIO I ERIC GOLDEMBERG + VERONICA ZALCBERG FIU Miami


Rhythm of Code

Goldemberg holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.
He worked in New York for Peter Eisenman and Asymptote Architecture, and is the author of Pulsation
in Architecture which highlights the range and complexity of sensations involved in constructing rhythmic
ensembles. He is Associate Professor at FIU, Miami, taught at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, New
York Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and University of Buenos Aires. He further
lectured at Studio-X, Cooper Union, AA, Angewandte, Politecnico di Milano, ETSAB, Iaac, MIT, University
of Puerto Rico, MOCA, Wolfsonian Museum Miami, University of Miami, University of Buenos Aires, among
other institutions. His firm MONAD Studio was co-founded in 2002 in New York with Veronica Zalcberg.
MONAD Studio has been published in The New York Times, Architectural Record, World Architecture
(China), Architecture in Formation book, Conditions Magazine, I4Design, Future Arquitecturas, Miami
Herald, Florida InsideOut, Design Book Magazine, Summa+, La Nacion, PP@PD (Penn School of Design),
Evolo Magazine among other architecture journals. MONAD Studio was one of the 5 finalists of the 2008
PS1-MoMA competition and the project was exhibited at the MoMA in New York. www.mondastusio.net

ZULAING GUO, Taubman College University of Michigan


Vertical Territories of Recursion

Zuliang Guo is an architect and researcher. He has wide interests in architecture, urbanism and ecology.
His work explores possibilities of keeping people in harmony with nature. His current studies focus on
mathematical-driven design approaches including scripting, observation research, statistical design and
physical experimentation. As Fengshui practitioner, he has been following and cooperating with top Fengshui
masters in China for a many years years. His Fengshui design projects have been widely recognized. Guo
holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in 2013, and Bachelor of Architecture
degree with distinction from Hunan University in 2011. He is also a visiting member of the Architectural
Association (AA).

DEREN GULER, Carnegie Mellon University


FLOAT_Beijing

Deren Guler holds a Masters of Tangible Interaction Design and a B.S. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research investigates technology that uses interactivity and accessible computation to
explore nature through a playful, educational, and sustainable approach. Guler is interested in how digital
media and low-tech devices can provide novel solutions and form fluid interfaces; either in a specific context
or a larger, global scale. She has lead many community-based interactive projects around the world ranging from energy harvesting playgrounds to DIY environmental sensors. Guler is constantly thinking about
where to go next. She loves to take things apart and has a giant collection of knobs and switches.

FLEET HOWER, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Collateral Intricacy

Fleet Hower is a designer and educator with expertise in computational methodologies. His interests lie in
the development of strategies to understand, synthesize, and harness multiple complex systems present
in architecture. Such challenges are approached by designing procedural logics that underlie disparate
architectonic or urban systems, allowing them to negotiate through a non-linear generative process. Design solutions are created with embedded relationships between traditionally irreconcilable parts. Hower
holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania
where he received the Lewis Dales Traveling Fellowship and Will M. Mehlhorn Scholarship for academic
excellence. Hower is currently Adjunct Faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he teaches in
the first-year undergraduate and M.Arch. II programs. Further he taught at Philadelphia University and
directed workshops at Tongji University in Shanghai. He worked as an architectural designer in several offices, including responsibilities as a designer and project manager for Kokkugia in New York and Shanghai.
Prior Hower worked at MAD architects in Beijing, developing large-scale projects in China and throughout
southeast Asia. Hower holds a B.A. Georgetown University, M.Arch. University of Pennsylvania, MLA University of Pennsylvania.

265

MICHAEL S. JEFFERS, Carnegie Mellon University


Recursionism

Michael S. Jeffers is a recent graduate of the BArch program at the Carnegie Mellon University School of
Architecture in Pittsburgh, PA. Jeffers received the schools Robotic Fellowship position, continuing work
with computation, CNC and robotic fabrication and assembly. His work revolve around the questioning of
assumptions, the construction of an argument, and the actuation of this process. The construction of logics,
carries the same weight as the construction of spaces. This illustrates the coupling of both computation
and fabrication in his work. Jeffers is a strong advocate for both the use of computer numerically controlled
machines to advance construction techniques, but for the use of computation in the design process as a
means to more accurately execute logical relationships and goals of the designer. His work suggests that
the result of a process is minute in the face of the importance of the process that led to that result.

NICOLE KOLTICK, Westphal College Drexel University


Interior Prosthetics

Nicole Koltick is an Assistant Professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University
and a principal in the research practice lutz/koltick. She is the Director of the Design Futures Lab where she
leads a graduate research group in critical design practices and speculative proposals focused on three
main areas of inquiry; tangible interaction in the built environment, the incorporation of novel advancements
in science and computation into our built environments and new models for ambient communication.
The lab explores tangible interaction scenarios through the design and assembly of full-scale prototypes
incorporating microprocessors, sensors and a variety of novel fabrication methods. Nicole Koltick pursues
a diverse trans-disciplinary collaborative research agenda that seeks to synthesize and explore a variety of
ideas and methodologies in the service of novel design narratives and outcomes. Koltick holds a Masters
of Architecture from UCLA and a BFA, in Art from Carnegie Mellon University.

NEIL LEACH, USC


Desiring Machines

Neil Leach is a Professor at the University of Southern California. He has also taught at the Architectural Association, Columbia GSAPP, Cornell University, Dessau International Architecture Graduate School, IaaC
and SCI-Arc. He is the author, editor and translator of 23 books, including Rethinking Architecture, The
Anaesthetics of Architecture, Designing for a Digital World, Digital Tectonics, Digital Cities, Machinic Processes, Swarm Intelligence, Scripting the Future, Fabricating the Future and Camouflage. Leach has been
co-curator of a series of exhibitions worldwide including the Architecture Biennial Beijing. He is currently a
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Fellow working on robotic fabrication technologies for the Moon and
Mars, and is working on a publication about Space Architecture.

WES MCGEE, Taubman College University of Michigan, Matter Design


La Vote de Fevre

Wes Mcgee is a Lecturer in Architecture and the Director of the FABLab at the University of Michigan
Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. His ongoing research and teaching has been focused
on developing new connections between design, engineering, materials, and process as they relate to
the built environment through the creation of customized software and fabrication tools. As Principal of
Matter Design, he has presented work at multiple international conferences on design and fabrication,
and published in recent books such as Fabricate. In 2012, he collaborated with Supermanouevre on an
installation in the Australian Pavillion at the Venice Biennale. In 2013, awarded the Architectural League
Prize for Young Architects. In 2014 Mcgee co-organizes the second Robotics in Architecture Conference,
hosted at the University of Michigan.

266

MATTEO MERAVIGLIA, Politecnico di Milano


The allHOLE Project

Matteo Meraviglia was born in Castellanza, Italy in 1980. He holds a Master degree in architecture from
Politecnico di Milano [complex and sustainable development of Queens and Brooklyn waterfront. NY city]
and post-graduate degree in Sustainable Territory and Architecture STA [thesis on Milano Expo 2015].
Meraviglia is a collaborator and researcher at the Department of Design and lecturer at laboratorio di
progettazione architettonica 2 [Prof. Attilio Nebuloni] at Politecnico di Milano, worked within international
architecture and urban design studios in Milano and Cairo. His interest lies in the development and application of theories and concepts regarding scenarios of complex architecture, sustainable systems, liquid and
blurring architecture, contradiction and paradox, non-matter and energy, self generative system nourished
by learning from biological and philosophical processes in architecture and urban design.

PANAGIOTIS MICHALATOS, Harvard GSD


The Environment as a Signal: The Architect as a User

Panagiotis Michalatos is an architect registered in Greece and UK. His work includes a broad spectrum
of design and computation from software development for structural engineering and interdisciplinary integration to interactive artistic installations. He worked as an Interaction Designer at the Stockholm based
contemporary dance company, CCAP, and as computational design researcher for the London based engineering firm AKT. Along with colleague Sawako Kaijima, Michalatos provided consultancy and developed
computational solutions in the development of architectural design involving complex interdisciplinary problems for a range of high profile projects by architecture practices such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Thomas
Heatherwick, Fosters and Partners. Their work was published and presented at internationally. They also
developed a range of software applications for the intuitive use of structural engineering methods in design. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in Architecture Technology at Harvard GSD. His teaching and
research focuses on the development of digital interfaces for collaborative and participatory design and the
application of structural optimization and signal analysis techniques in design problem. www.sawapan.eu

GALILEO MORANDI, Politecnico die Milano


Living Nature

Galileo Morandi is a founder of the Milan studio CREATE, an office for innovative solutions in the field of
architecture and urban planning, which she runs together with Silvia Bertolotti. Morandi worked as a project
designer at XEFIROTARCH INC. (Hernan Diaz Alonso). He teaches urban& architectural strategies at Politecnico di Milano as Assistant Professor and acts as author for a variety of Italian architectural magazines.
He is a member of the international Project Team NUTAU/USP - LATAS/Polimi, an academic research
group that participates at international competition projects to find innovative and sustainable living solutions for developing areas in Brazil. Morandi holds a post-graduate Master degree in Sustainable Territory
& Architecture and a Master degree in Architecture from Politecnico di Milano.

WARREN NEIDICH
Computational Architecture and the Statisticon

Warren Neidich is an artist and writer, in Los Angeles and Berlin. He has been exhibited internationally at
such institutions as PS1-MOMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, Los Angeles, Museum
of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Walker Art Center, The ICA, London, The Ludwig Museum, Koln,The
Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin, Fons Welter Gallery, The Netherlands, and Gallery Moriarty, Madrid,
University of California Irvine, Contemporary Arts Center. Awards include The Murray and Vickie Pepper
Distinguished Visiting Artist and Scholar Award, Pitzer College, 2012, The Fulbright Scholar Program Fellowship, Fine Arts Category, 2011 and the Vilem Flusser Theory Award, Berlin, 2010. He is co-organizer of
the Pathology of Cognitive Capitalism. Dr. Neidich graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington University, St. Louis, studied neurobiology at California Institute of Technology and Medicine at New York Medical
College. After completing an internship in Medicine he went on to become Board Certified in Ophthalmology at Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans. He was Instructor in Ophthalmology at New York
Eye and Ear Hospital, until 1993 when he decided to dedicate himself full time to his art practice and writing.

267

GUVENC OZEL, UCLA, zel Office


Cerebral Hut

Gven zel is a Turkish, Los Angeles based architect, artist and researcher. He is the Technology Director
of IDEAS at UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, a cross disciplinary research platform
and technology lab, and the principal of Ozel Office, an interdisciplinary design practice located in Los
Angeles, working at the intersection of architecture, technology, visual arts and research on urban culture.
A native of Izmir, Turkey, zel studied architecture, sculpture, and philosophy in Bennington College, USA.
He holds a Masters of Architecture degree from Yale University, where he graduated with multiple awards.
He worked in the offices of Rafael Vinoly, Jrgen Mayer H. and Frank Gehry, amongst others. His projects
and experimental installations were exhibited in the USA and Europe. He formerly taught at Yale University,
Woodbury University and University of Applied Arts, Vienna. His recent work has been featured in media
such as CNN, Boston Globe, Euronews, AP, The Independent, Architectural Digest, Gizmodo, Creators
Project/ Vice, Archdaily, Archinect, Dwell and Designboom. He currently conducts research on emerging
technologies with specific focus to create reactive environments that challenge contemporary fabrication
techniques and spatial assemblies.

KRISTA PALEN, Harvard GSD


WX

Krista Palen is an Environmental Engineer, and interdisciplinary designer. She is currently pursuing her
Masters of Design in Sustainability at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In Toronto, she led the
Passive Practice at Halsall Associates, one of the largest green building-consulting firms in Canada. The
current focus of Kristas work is passive building design, community ecology and biomimicry.

LILA PANAHIKAZEMI, DIA Dessau International Architecture Graduate School


Spatializing the Social

Lila Panahikazemi s a recent Master student from DIA, Dessau International Architecture Graduate School,
which she attended after studying at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2009, where she finished her first
year of MArch dealing with bioregional, closed loop urbanism with Greg Keeffe, In the UK she worked at
Sturgeon North architect in England. At DIA shePanahiKazemi focused on computational design, bridging
the gap with her previous research at Leeds Metropolitan University. She currently collaborates with Co_
Des (peer to peer education) in Dessau, developing workshops on digital design tools. She has exhibited in
Slovenian pavilion at XIII Venice Biennale as part of Maribor 2112 YC, presented at EnCodingArchitecture
conference at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA), at the Performance Driven-Exhibition at the
FUGA Gallery (Budapest, HU), 39 th world congress on housing science in politecnino di Milan (Milan,
Italy), and been one of the workshop leaders at MediaCities 4 conference at the State University of New
York (Buffalo, USA). Her current thesis research, Spatializing the Social will be included as research
poster in the upcoming ACADIA Conference Adaptive Architecture at the University of Waterloo (CAN).

JORDAN C. PARSONS, Carnegie Mellon University


Recursionism

Jordan C. Parsons is a recent graduate of the the BArch program at the Carnegie Mellon University School
of Architecture in Pittsburgh, PA. While at Carnegie Mellon Jordan developed interests in digital fabrication,
computation and robotics through his studies across the university and work in the Digital Fabrication
lab. He is inherently skeptical of the process of computational architecture. Parsons believes strongly
in materiality, tectonics and and the importance of fabrication and craft in computation. He is looking
to continue to explore the generation and study of an architectural methodology that pairs an intimate
knowledge of computation and fabrication to create an architecture that surpasses pure code.

BENCE PAP, Die Angewandte, University of Applied Arts, Vienna


Architecture Challenge 2012

Bence Pap is an architect by education and currently practicing and teaching as an Assistant Professor in
Vienna at Die Angewandte, IOA University of Applied Arts, in the studio of Prof. Greg Lynn. Pap studied
architecture in Vienna at the Technical University, the Academy of Fine Arts and holds Diploma from the
University of Applied Arts with distinction. Pap advocates novel generative design strategies with a strong
focus on fabrication methods and material behavior. He has conducted several workshops throughout
Europe focusing on Digital Design and Fabrication. Pop gained his professional experience with a number
of award winning architectural firms such as Zaha Hadid Architects in London [2007-2011] where he has
been involved in a wide range of high profile projects ranging from urban master plans to cultural institutions
and residential buildings. He has also participated in a variety of projects with F451 Arquitectura Barcelona,
Stan Allen Architects Princeton, and other offices in Vienna.

268

MAJ PLEMENITAS, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, Linkscale


Cross Scalar ] LINK [ Complex Heterogeneous Systems

Maj Plemenitas is an Experimental Design Practitioner, Researcher and Educator of Architecture. His
current interest and research approach is focused on innovative cross scalar and interdisciplinary design,
through combination of computational methods. The research work explores the relations between design,
materialization, production, environment and users at various scales. This interactive and inclusive
approach enables drastical expansion of possibilities to tackle challenges that are otherwise beyond the
design range. After graduating from the Bartlett School of Architecture, as Master of Architecture from
Graduate Architectural Design, with his multi award winning thesis 10]LINK[10, Plemenitas established a
research platform and design practice LINKSCALE. Currently he is teaching at the Graduate Architectural
Design Program at the Bartlett, UCL. In parallel he is actively researching, exhibiting his work and lecturing
internationally. www.linkscale.org

BENJAMIN RICE, Matter Management


Vivarium

Benjamin Rice is a principal of Matter Management, an award-winning design practice. Before joining
MM Rice helped deliver high profile architectural projects and competitions for some of the worlds leading
architectural firms. Recently, he has focused his practice on the future of cross-disciplinary collaboration,
working alongside his partner Juan Azulay with artists such as musician Mia Maestro, Chef Daniel Patterson,
No Wave legend Lydia Lunch, and fashion design house FLoWEN.Benjamins work has been published
and exhibited widely, including the A+D Museum in Los Angeles, the Storefront for Art and Architecture
in New York, and the Denver Art Museum and publications in Log, On Ramp, Pidgin Magazine, TARP,
eVolo Magazine, and The Huffington Post. Rice is currently a Senior Lecturer at the California College of
the Arts and a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Virginia Tech School of
Architecture + Design, Southern California Institute of Architecture and Princeton University. He received
his Bachelor of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture with distinction, and his
Master of Architecture from Princeton University where he was a Fellow of the Graduate School.

INGEBORG M. ROCKER, Harvard GSD


[En]coding and [Re]coding Architecture: From Proto Types and Parametric Types

Ingeborg M. Rocker is a German architect and lives and works in Boston. Rocker received her PhD from
Princeton University in 2010, her Master of Art from Princeton University in 2003, her Masters of Science
in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in 1996 and her Diploma in Architecture from
the RTWH Aachen, Germany in 1995. She has taught at Columbia University, Princeton University and
the University of Pennsylvania. Currently she is an Associate Professor of Architecture in the Department
of Ar- chitecture at the GSD, Harvard University, where she has been employed since 2005. She teaches
Architectural Design and gives courses and seminars in the theory sequence. Rocker is principle of
Rocker-Lange Architects is an architecture rm located in Hong Kong and Boston. The rm is interested in
practicing architecture through designing, building, researching, writing and teaching.

ROCKER-LANGE ARCHITECTS
[En]coding and [Re]coding Architecture: From Proto Types and Parametric Types Rocker-Lange

Architects is an architecture rm located in Hong Kong and Boston. The rm is interested in practicing
architecture through designing, building, researching, writing and teaching. Founded by partners Ingeborg
M. Rocker and Christian J. Lange, the office is a full service architecture and design rm specializing in
installations, urban interventions, cultural and residential projects. Projects materialize out of an in depth
investigation of contemporary issues in architecture that are constantly scrutinized. Our work is developed
through intensive research in conjunction with the use of innovative digital design methodologies guiding
efficiently and creatively the design and construction process. The office has developed a distinctive
method for the develop- ment of architecture, with an emphasis on open spatial congurations, material
transformations and rened detailing and crafts- manship. Underlying themes in the work have focused
on the conceptual use of building tectonics, components and materials, modied with both traditional and
digital techniques. Recently Rocker-Lange Architects exhibited their work in the bi-city Biennale in Hong
Kong & Shenzhen 2012+2009, and the Ve- nice Biennale 2010. Their work has been published frequently
in international magazines ranging from Harvard Design Magazine, Mark Magazine to vivre magazine.
Currently the office has projects in China and Germany.

269

ANDREA ROSSI, DIA Desssau International Architecture Graduate School


Spatializing the Social

Andrea Rossi is a recent Master student DIA, Dessau International Architecture Graduate School, where he
studied under the supervision of Liss C. Werner (Tactile Architecture, CMU Pittsburgh), Matias del Campo
& Sandra Manninger (SPANarch), Alexander Kalachev (AL_TU) and Krassimir Krastev. He holds a bachelor
degree in Architecture from Politecnico di Milano, concluded with the thesis Notes on Digital Design: New
Tools and Research Lines. He worked as intern for NuMiStudio (Milan) and then he moved to Berlin, working as architect in AnOtherArchitect (Daniel Dendra) office. He took part to various workshops on digital design tools, and recently he started teaching these topics in a series of workshops in Italy, Germany and USA.
He is the initiator and the main organizer of the group Co_Des (peer to peer education) in Dessau, where
hes teaching design tools to other students. He has exhibited in Slovenian pavilion at XIII Venice Biennale
as part of Maribor 2112 YC, presented at EnCodingArchitecture conference at Carnegie Mellon University
(Pittsburgh, USA), 39 th world congress on housing science in politecnino di Milan (Milan, Italy), at the
Performance Driven-Exhibition at the FUGA Gallery (Budapest, HU) and been one of the workshop leaders
at MediaCities 4 conference, State University of New York (Buffalo, USA). His current thesis research,
Spatializing the Social will be included as research poster in the upcoming ACADIA Conference Adaptive
Architecture at the University of Waterloo (CAN). (http://temporaryautonomousarchitecture.blogspot.it/)

PIERPAOLO RUTTICO, Politecnico di Milano, Indexlab


Responsive Patterns on Double Curved Surfaces
Pierpaolo Ruttico, Phd, Architect and Engineer is the Founder and Design Principal of INDEXLAB,
a multidisciplinary digital design and fabrication consultancy based in Milan. Ruttico teaches
Architectural Technology at the Politecnico di Milano School of Building Engineering Architecture.
He has worked as a designer for PelliClarkePelli Architects in New York City and as a computational
designer and robotic fabrication consultant for COOPHIMMELB(L)AU in Vienna. He has been a
Guest Critic at SCIarc Los Angeles and his work has been published internationally, including IAHS
2012, Advances in Architectural Geometry 2012, Encoding Architecture 2013. www.indexlab.it.

JENNY E. SABIN, Cornell University, Jenny Sabin Studio


myThread Pavilion, commissioned by NYC Nike FlyKnit Collective

Jenny Sabins work is at the forefront of a new direction for 21st century architectural practice, one that
investigates the intersections of architecture and science, and applies insights and theories from biology
and mathematics to the design of material structures. Sabin is an Assistant Professor in the area of Design
and Emerging Technologies in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. She is principal of
Jenny Sabin Studio, an experimental architectural design studio based in Philadelphia. She is co-founder
of LabStudio, a hybrid research and design network, together with Peter Lloyd Jones. She was a founding
member of the Nonlinear Systems Organization, a research group started by Cecil Balmond, where she was
director of research. Sabin holds degrees in ceramics and interdisciplinary visual art from the University of
Washington and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania where was awarded the AIA
Henry Adams first prize medal and the Arthur Spayd Brooke gold medal for distinguished work in architectural design. Sabin was recently named a USA Knight Fellow in Architecture.

BENNETT SCORCIA, Taubman College University of Michigan


deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS

Bennett Scorcia is a graduate student of Architecture at the University of Michigan, where his research
focuses on the development of emerging technologies, morphogenetic computation, material research,
and computer aided manufacturing that encourages a non-linear dialogue between actors and parameters.
Scorcias most recent work is situated on the interrelationships of wood as a natural material, traditional
wood bending techniques and the engagement of digital tools to produce highly articulated and performative
structural system that leverages the natural morphologies of wood. Bennett has collaborated with many
professors and students to complete full scale installations that have been exhibited around the world. In
his position at the University of Michigan FABlab Scorcia is responsible for operating various CNC routers,
water-jets and robots. www.BENNETT3D.com

270

HAROLD SPRAGUE SOLIE, Taubman College University of Michigan


deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS

Harold Sprague Solie is a graduate student and an entrepreneur at the University of Michigan Taubman
College of Architecture where his studies are focused on leveraging design ideas across multiple scales
and platforms. His educational and professional endeavors both as a student and founder at designGOOD,
blur boundaries between formal design strategies, materials research and emerging modes of fabrication
and construction. Solie is continually exploring how a design idea can navigate complex material and
production systems while evolving into fully realized architectural artifacts. Currently, as part of his thesis
research, Solie is exploring material realities as they exist in the post-industrial city in an effort to construction
a retroactive history of Americas industrial centers which frames its ruins as the site of future architectures.

MATTEO TARAMELLI, DIA Desssau International Architecture Graduate School


Alchemic Psychosis

Matteo Taramelli is a recent graduate from DIA, where he received a Master of Architecture. He holds a
Bachelor degree in Science of Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano. While studying in Milan, Taramelli
carried out research in the field of 3D-Augmented-Reality within the Architecture & Plan Department of
Politecnico in collaboration with Samsung, Istanbul Technical University, presented at Yenikapi Symposium,
Istanbul. He worked at NuMiStudio architectural office on a project for the Architectural & Urban Forum,
published by lArca magazine. Taramelli also produced a series of short films, audio- responsive visuals
and conducted generative-music experimentations. He assisted Prof. Attilio Nebuloni at Politecnico di
Milano, and taught at Co_Des (Computational Design Dessau), an autonomous student group at DIA.
Part of his master work was shown at the Slovenian Pavilion, XIII Venice Architecture Biennale, as part
of Maribor2112YC. He has recently collaborated with PhyCo, Milan, for the event Fotografia Europea,
creating visual interpretations of movement tracking through smartphones. Throughout his career Taramelli
has been working with Atlas Publishers.

JUSTIN TINGUE, Taubman College University of Michigan


Vertical Territories of Recursion

Justin Tingue was born in 1989 and grew up just outside of Buffalo, New York. He studied architecture as
an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he developed his interest in the role
of computation in architecture, which was explored at the school itself and during a trip to Tokyo, Japan.
Tingue holds a Masters of Architecture degree from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
at The University of Michigan.

ROBERT TRUMBOUR, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Khora


Social Gravity: Where Analog Means Intersect with Digital Intent

Rob Trumbour, AIA, is a founding partner of the design research practice Khora; a registered architect in
Massachusetts and an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston,
MA. In 2006 Trumbour founded Artforming, a design and research collaborative in Boston. Educated in the
fields of the fine arts and architecture Trumbours current work engages in art, architecture and landscape
through the medium of installation art and emerging technologies.

ANDREAS TRUMMER, Technical University Graz


Mill to Fit

Andreas Trummer is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Structural Design at the Technical University
Graz where he heads of the Robot Design Labor and created the ABB Robot Lab in year 2012. These
labs are used in the project Prefabricated shell structures made from UHPC, a project that includes all
steps from design process to fabrication. He researched on a lightweight load carrying box beam system,
made of wood and plywood, which resulted in a scalable timber beam system (www. kielsteg.at). Trummer
studied Civil Engineering at the TU Graz and ETH Lausanne, worked as assistant at TU Vienna and the
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, where he received his PhD within the field of Cross
laminated Glass-fiber reinforced Timber-Plates. In 2013 Trummer worked together with Martin Bechthold
at GSD, Cambridge was a visiting scholar. www.ite.tugraz.at

271

XIAOWEI R. WANG, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard GSD


FLOAT_Beijing

Xiaowei R. Wang has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design
where she received the Norman T. Newton Prize in design. Her most recent project, FLOAT Beijing, in
collaboration with Deren Guler is a finalist for the INDEX: Design Award 2013. She is interested in tools at
the intersection of design, technology and ecology to affect patterns of uneven development in East Asia.
Currently, Wang is researching patterns of urbanization along the Eurasian Steppe and examining the political dimensions of computation within geographic indices that have shaped perceptions of settlement in
nomadic communities of the Steppe and cartographic marginalization.

ZACK JACOBSON WEAVER, Carnegie Mellon University


Apprenticeship and Mastery in Digital Craft: A Transcending Synthesis of Old and New

Zack Jacobson-Weaver is a maker. He received his B.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Michigan
School of Art & Design in 2001, where he was a technical instructor of sculpture and digital fabrication from
2006 2011, guiding 3D disciplines into the 21st century. The exploration of physical and digital tools, materials and processes led him to Carnegie Mellon University in 2011 where he studied Tangible Interaction
Design in the School of Architecture under Professor Mark Gross, working at the anti-disciplinary intersection of Art, Design, Architecture and Engineering. His work encompasses conceptual art, custom interior
design and open-source and repurposed technologies in automation and fabrication.

GILL WILDMAN, PlotLondon


The Future Architect as Entrepreneur

As a co-founder and principal of the innovation consultancy Plot, Wildman designs and develops the interventions Plot undertakes across industry sectors for clients such as Nokia, the BBC and Participle. She
is an advocate for more open forms of participation that foster interdisciplinary collaboration and produce
better people-centered system designs. Wildmans early work, as a researcher and developer of local public
services used the community development approach, which puts an emphasis on designing relationships.
Her personal and professional research interests include identifying success factors in start-up business
incubation, design strategies for new technologies, and exploring the impact of new pervasive technologies in everyday life. A graduate and former assistant director of Brunel Universitys Design Strategy and
Innovation MA, Gill has played numerous academic and industrial advisory roles for Dundee University, the
British Standards Institute, SVA and Tisch, as well as four years national service at the Design Council,
London. She recently held Carnegie Mellon School of Designs Nierenberg Chair with Nick Durrant, and
was a Visiting Professor where she taught StrategyLab and Future City Services. She is co-developer of
the incubator, Upstarter.
www.plotlondon.net

AARON WILLETTE, Taubman College University of Michigan, Khora


Social Gravity: Where Analog Means Intersect With Digital Intent

Aaron Willette is a founding partner of the design research practice Khora; a principal in the architecture/
art collaborative Artforming, and a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Michigan,
Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in Ann Arbor, MI. His current research explores the
technical and spatial implications of coupling of industrial fabrication techniques, bespoken computational
processes and indepth material studies,focusing on their intersection with traditional interpretations of technique and craftsmanship.

ANDREW WOLKING, Taubman College University of Michigan


Vertical Territories of Recursion

Andrew Wolking completed his M. arch from the University of Michigan in the Spring of 2013. His work
focuses on the intersection of architectural space in relation to landscape, and explores this through the
lens of making. This interest is coupled with the role of digital technology in the execution of built / designed
spaces that strive to enhance that relationship. His thesis at Michigan explored the under utilized capacity of
color in the post-industrial landscape of Detroit to expose its absence in architectural design and pedagogy.
Currently Wolking is working in the Ann Arbor / Detroit area continuing research in structural robotic plastic
extrusion, as well as working as a freelance designer.

272

ALEX WOODHOUSE, California College of the Arts


Desert Driftboat

Alex Woodhouse is currently a graduate student at California College of the Arts, where he is completing
a Master of Advanced Architectural Design focusing on digital design- and fabrication-technologies. He
holds a Bachelor of Architecture Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Before continuing his education at CalArts,
Woodhouse spent three years working as a project designer at LMN Architects in Seattle. He is continuing
the research investigations of Desert Driftboat as he participates in the design and construction of a 3D
extrusion device in collaboration with Future Cities Lab in San Francisco.

MARK WRIGHT, Taubman College University of Michigan


deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS

Mark Wright is a recent graduate from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University
of Michigan. He received his Bachelor in Arts in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Wright is
interested in how increasing capabilities and usage of new fabrication technologies can empower a designer to create unique and increasingly complex architecture. As well as the consequences of this proliferation
of technology and how this may change interaction between users and users and the built environment.

HIRONORI YOSHIDA, ETH Zurich


Scan-to-Production [working with heterogeneity in natural materials]

Hironori Yoshida is a craftsman in the digital era, using robots to fabricate human-scale objects such as
furniture and interior. He is a PhD candidate at CAAD, ETH in Zurich and his research focus is scanning
heterogeneous structures in natural materials. He gave talks at research institutes and international conferences such as SIGGAPH. He was a visiting scholar at CoDe lab, Carnegie Mellon University, and worked
at OMA and Vincent de Rijk werkplaats.

LEAH ZALDUMBIDE, California College of the Arts


Desert Driftboat

Leah Zaldumbide is currently a fourth year Architecture student enrolled in the Bachelor of Architecture
course at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Throughout her educational career she has
worked on a range of conceptual projects ranging from the large scale, to temporary installations, to explorations in robotics. In 2012 Zalumbide attended a travel studio, which visited several architectural sites and
organizations in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Barcelona; which sparked an interest in exploring
the potentials in the relationship between robotics and other fields of design.

NING ZHOU, Taubman College University of Michigan


deferentialCONSTRUCTIONS

Ning Zhou is a graduate student at the University of Michigans Taubman College of Architecture and Urban
Planning. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Dalian University of Technology, China. During her
undergraduate study Zhou traveled to Sweden as exchange student. She used to be the leader of National
College Students Innovative program working on a nationally funded project on small towns developments.
She was awarded as Taubman scholar and received NR-WHITE Fellowship. Zhou is interested in responsive design and the challenge to achieve beauty in design projects and the buildings.

273

274

CONFERENCE SUPPORT

Logistics/Administrative

Linda Hagar, Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative


Inquiry
Anika Hirt, Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry
David Koltas, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University
Diana Martin, School of Architecture, Carnegie
Mellon University
Margaret Myers, Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative
Inquiry

Photography

Rob Sutherland

Videography

Caitlin Boyle
Michael Hadida
Laura Contero

Technical Support

School of Music, Carnegie Mellon University

Exhibition Design and Fabrication

Jeremy Ficca, dFabLab,


School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University

Conference Assistants

Yasmeen Almuhanna
Chandler Archbell
Dan Gehr
Sam Gruber
Marcos Gonzalez-Bode
So-Yun Ko
Leah Wulfman
Peter Salim
Kevyn McPhail
Andrew Viny
Laura Gonzalez
Seyedeh Fereshteh Shahmiri
Amy Rosen
Seong Yeun
Carter J. Nelson
Andrea Salomon
and more

275

CHAPTER ILLUSTRATION / IMAGE CREDITS

Preface

Exhibition in the College of Fine Arts, CMU

Introductory Essays

Benjamin Rice, Vivarium, Gallery view of the


monolithic sunken pyramid which contained
a collection of real, robotic and simulated
organisms.

Critique in Code

Galileo Morandi, Silvia Bertolotti, Living Nature,


generative design process from analysis to
space organization

Material

Sean Ahlquist, Exploration and Fidelity


in Material Computation, Textile Hybrid
Explorations. David Cappo, Angel Pontes,
Andreas Schoenbrunner, Institute for
Computational Design (Sean Ahlquist, Prof.
Achim Menges), Institute for Building Structures
and Structural Design (Julian Lienhard, Prof. Jan
Knippers), University of Stuttgart, 2012.

Robots

Courtesy of INDEXLAB - Pierpaolo Ruttico


Circle Packing: automated construction
process through algorithmic design and robotic
fabrication. www.indexlab.it

Interface

Madeline Gannon, The Environment as a Signal,


Bust studies testing the complex curvature
around the neck, shoulder, and chest. The
digital designs engage the body as exoskeletal
extensions of the clavicle or sternum

Building

Andreas Trummer: Mill to Fit, Framed Pavilion,


Institut fr Architektur und Medien der TU
Graz, IAM, Richard Dank, Christian Freisling

Politics

Deren Guler, Xiaowei Wang, FLOAT_Beijing,


Beijing seen from a kite, caption from GoPro
video

Visions

Matteo Taramelli, Nikita Azarkhin, Alchemic


Psychosis

276

277

The architect is no longer an organizer of matter, and space but a designer


of systems - with multi-layered components and complex relationships. LCW

ISBN 978-0-9762941-4-6

90000

9 780976 294146
7