Engineering Design Tropisms
This workshop is a collaboration between the Angewandte Architecture Challenge and the AA Visiting Schools, a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the latest ideas that are taught at the two world-renowned institutions.
With growing interest in algorithmic design, and increasing sophistication of generative design strategies applied in the field of architecture, the question of authorship and integration of high-tech computational design tools in a streamlined design-to-fabrication process is becoming an inseparable part of the discussion. While writing custom software tools for CAD software is becoming more and more common within the industry, it is however mostly used as a problem-solving device at certain phases of the project. Our interests lie in the use of algorithms as an integral part of the design process.
The summer school workshop will conduct a research into rule-based design systems, which examine modes of interaction between the designer (human) and the logical constraints of algorithms (machines) in the process of design, creating virtual design ecologies, which challenge the conventional notion of authorship. A set of programmed behaviours and rules form Computational Design Engines, which are used to design and digitally grow series of architectural systems. With this in mind, we are creating a loop system between the input parameters (design decisions and environmental conditions), computational systems and ‘built’ space – a recursive process which results in architectural/computational tropism. Likewise, we are interested in processes where the material system and construction logic is an inseparable part of the process, avoiding post-rationalization of predetermined geometries through panelisation etc.
The city of Vienna with its rich historic heritage and dynamic contemporary architectural design landscape will be used as an extended urban laboratory to research and experiment with digital design applications. The goal is to engineer specific design scenarios using digital technologies, digital design pedagogy and full-scale digital fabrication strategies, looking into assembly of parts and automation of fabrication processes.
The workshop is planned as an intensive 9 day studio-based course. During the workshop, we will be using multiple platforms for computational/algorithmic design – with a focus on scripting in Processing/JAVA and Python, introduction to 3D modelling techniques in Maya and data (post) processing in Rhino/Grasshopper. The goal is to introduce students to techniques and methodologies of algorithmic design and procedural modelling, through the use and customization of pre-made scripts and enable them for further individual work.
During the first stage of the workshop, students will be introduced to the mentioned tools through a series of intensive ‘tooling-up’ sessions, as the basis for the investigation of generative design concepts and methodologies. In parallel to this, students will be developing initial concepts of project specific design engines and computational ecologies, their input parameters (environmental inputs, user input etc.) and possible design outcomes. These concepts will be further developed in the second stage of the workshop, responding to studio brief, producing the results in form of videos of simulations, series of renders and construction for a full scale artefact.