The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL B-Pro Show 2020
4 Introduction Frédéric Migayrou, Andrew Porter, Bob Sheil 8 10 12
Automated Architecture Labs Material Architecture Lab Urban Morphogenesis Lab
Architectural Design MArch
18 RC1 Monumental Wastelands 28 RC2 Architectural Production 36 RC3 AI & Autonomous Architecture 46 RC4 Automated Living 60 RC5&6 Organic 74 RC7 BioSpatial Design 84 RC8 Material Mixes 92 RC9 Architecture for the Augmented Age 102 Architectural Design Thesis
110 Urban Design MArch 112 RC11 Computationally Intelligent Architecture for Emotionally Intelligent People 124 RC12 Videogame Urbanism 136 RC14 Machine Learning Urbanism: Cities Beyond Cognition 148 RC16 Post-Natural City 156 RC18 Bridging Across Mass Customisation 168 Urban Design Thesis 174 Architectural Computation MSc/MRes 188 Bio-Integrated Design MArch/MSc 192 Architecture Education Declares: A Year of Radical Change 194 Public Lectures 196 Events & Exhibitions 198 Our Programmes 199 Alumni 200 Staff, Visitors & Consultants
Introduction Professor Frédéric Migayrou Chair, Bartlett Professor of Architecture Director of B-Pro
Professor Andrew Porter
Deputy Director of B-Pro B-Pro, or Bartlett Prospective, is a suite of graduate programmes devoted to advanced experimentation in computational architecture, design and urban environments. Architectural Design MArch explores the most advanced experimental research in design and fabrication. Urban Design MArch takes critical approaches towards creative urban and landscape design, defining creative strategies for global cities and communities. Our Architectural Computation MSc and MRes programmes engage with and advance the main technologies by which tomorrow’s architecture will be designed and constructed. In 2018 they were joined by our innovative Bio-Integrated Design Master’s degrees, which respond to the impact of biotechnology, computation and climate change on the built environment. The B-Pro programmes welcome a diverse international student cohort, offering highly structured access to the realisation of research, and to the production of new schemes in architecture and urbanism. Throughout the year, we host seminars, workshops and lectures, such as the Prospectives lecture series, to share ideas and promote collaboration and discussion. Architectural Design, directed by Gilles Retsin, is organised around research clusters driven by their respective tutors, including two labs – Automated Architecture Labs and Material Architecture Lab – to explore specific speculative domains of application. The latest technologies – robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), CNC fabrication, 3D printing, supercomputing, simulation, generative design, interactivity, advanced algorithms, extensive material prototyping, biotechnologies, links to material science – and their many applications, are researched in great depth. The exploration of supercomputing and generative platforms also forms a core part of our innovative approach to conception and fabrication, 4
enabled by exceptional digital production facilities. With extensive use of AI and of simulation in virtual reality, the degree offers access to new fields for experimental research and generative design. Urban Design, directed by Roberto Bottazzi, looks at creative approaches towards environments and cities at all scales, in particular innovative computational design, biotechnologies, artificial intelligence, and digital approaches to networks and territories. The research clusters and the programme’s lab, Urban Morphogenesis Lab, develop alternative proposals based on new morphological concepts and protocols, which reflect how cities are complex, dynamic living systems. Critical environmental and ecological questions are also viewed through an interdisciplinary lens, acknowledging the dispersed and often paradoxical nature of contemporary urbanism. Through contextual case studies and interventions, students address the challenges involved in resolving complex issues facing populations, public space, building typologies and land use. Our Bio-Integrated Design Master’s programmes are led jointly by Professor Marcos Cruz of The Bartlett and Dr Brenda Parker of UCL Biochemical Engineering, with access to the latest in biotechnology and advanced fabrication. Students work collaboratively in the lab, studio and workshop to develop novel products and environments, in the context of critical issues of climate change and sustainability. The solutions these teams are producing hold the potential to be shaped into world-changing environmental and social innovations. Work has been widely exhibited, featuring in recent exhibitions including La Fabrique du Vivant, Centre Pompidou (2019); Future Build (2019); Nature, Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial (2019); New forms of Practice, Arup (2019), and London Design Festival (2018). Our Architectural Computation programmes are directed by Manuel Jiménez Garcia and challenge the boundaries of what architectural computation can achieve. Projects explore computational methods for automated construction, augmented reality applications for the built environment,
and use artificial intelligence for space navigation and pattern generation. The work of this group demonstrates the possibility of becoming truly fluent in computational language, opening up new domains for research. We were honoured to be publicly recognised for our work in computation in 2017, when B-Pro received the ACADIA Innovative Academic Programme Award of Excellence. The award, presented by international colleagues, celebrates our consistent contributions to, and impact on, the field of architectural computing. The B-Pro Prospectives Lecture Series, with numerous speakers, architects, historians and theoreticians, continues to present new opportunities for students to encounter fresh takes on emerging research in the fields of digital theory. Our B-Pro programmes are further enhanced by collaboration with the school’s Architecture & Digital Theory MRes, codirected by Professor Frédéric Migayrou and Professor Mario Carpo, dedicated to the theory, history and criticism of digital design and digital fabrication. We also look forward to supporting PhD research in this exciting arena. Through a shared vision of creative architecture, B-Pro is an opportunity for students to participate in a new community and to affirm the singularity of their individual talents. These programmes are not only an open door to advanced architectural practice but also form the base from which each student can define their particular approach and architectural philosophy, in order to seek a position in the professional world. This year there has been a clear shift in the contextualisation of previous research, the application of digital design and thinking has engaged directly with political, cultural and societal realms. In particular the climate crisis is addressed by a number of clusters with an emphasis on changing landscapes and ecosystems, environmental sensing and materials. Issues of social justice and poverty are addressed through engagement with the political structures and economics of housing and population programmes.
In the face of a difficult academic year shaped by a global pandemic, B-Pro students have risen to the challenge of reinvigorating their working methods and production. The extraordinary quality of their output which, if anything, exceeds the high standards set by previous cohorts, is a testament to both their resilience and ingenuity, as well as the resourceful and knowledgeable guidance of our talented teaching staff. The new format this year of an online B-Pro Show and accompanying book is an impressive reinvention of how the extraordinary work of our students is viewed. This new showcase continues to allow the dedication, commitment and passion to shine through and captures the creative vision that defines The Bartlett School of Architecture.
Professor Bob Sheil Director of The Bartlett School of Architecture I wish to both congratulate and commend all staff and all students whose extraordinary and prolific work is only partially represented in this beautiful book. It’s been a deeply challenging year for everyone in the school, for our families, partners, neighbours and friends. Our staff and students’ determination to remain focused on their research is an acknowledgement of its importance for our discipline and our times. The investigation, innovation and commitment displayed here challenges professions and industries to engage with this abundance of talent and energy, as a vital means to address the grand challenges ahead.
Urban Morphogenesis Lab and ecoLogicStudio, ‘The City as Biological Computer’ exhibition. Image © Studio Naaro
Automated Architecture Labs Lab Directors: Mollie Claypool, Manuel Jiménez Garcia, Gilles Retsin Affiliated with Architectural Design MArch Research Cluster 4
Automated Architecture (AUAR) Labs is a consortium of research streams at The Bartlett School of Architecture, operating at the intersection between architecture and technology. Our projects bring advanced technologies, design, people and communities together to radically rethink architectural production. The work of AUAR Labs focuses on architecture, automation and issues of social justice such as housing, platforms, the future of work, localised manufacturing and circular economies. We believe in the future of architecture being one that is inclusive and equitable, and that centres the role of automation simultaneously with people, their values and lived experiences of the built environment. Increasing automation requires architecture for automation. To do this we utilise the notion of the discrete, considering every element, part or particle as a piece of data that can be computed. Parts therefore take on the properties of a ‘bit’, becoming serialised, standardised and embedded with a simple rule: 0 or 1 (or, connected or not connected). The emphasis on the part as a unit reintroduces the age-old disciplinary notion of part-to-whole relationships, and constructs an architectural framework well-suited for automation. We engage automation to create a more inspiring built environment for all. We advocate for horizontal, participatory and equal social practices in architecture and technology where individual autonomy and freedom, supported in a structure of care, lead to more creative, inspired and empowered people and more just built environments. This embodies a fundamental shift in architecture and technology that is unique to our research and projects. AUAR Labs works with students in Architectural Design March Research Cluster 4 with an agenda on housing, automation and platforms. Current collaborators include: Claire McAndrew (The Bartlett), Knowle West Media Centre, KWMC The Factory, We Can Make, Hackney Council, Bristol City Council, Waltham Forest Future Creatives, New City College, The Building Centre, East London Dance, Studio Wayne McGregor and Nagami Design. AUAR Labs has received funding from UCL Innovation and Enterprise, UCL Culture, Transforming Construction Network Plus, Epic Games and EPSRC Impact Acceleration Fund.
Block West, AUAR Labs with Claire McAndrew and Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol, UK, 2020. Image © Studio Naaro 8
Material Architecture Lab Lab Directors: Guan Lee, Daniel Widrig Affiliated with Architectural Design MArch Research Clusters 5 & 6
Our research starts by asking questions about materials through design, both digitally and manually. With the prevalence of digital tools, the capabilities of industrial production have migrated from factory floors to smaller-scale workshops, laboratories and research facilities. Coupled with advances in material science at a microscopic scale, and availability of specialist tools to customise materials, the prospect of a new kind of architecture is now imminent. Despite advances in technology, the cost of digital fabrication is high, whilst change in the construction industry is slow. Digitally driven fabrication is deterministic by nature: everything made has to be modelled digitally, without the element of chance. In Material Architecture Lab, we encourage making without preconceptions, allowing the characteristics of the material and fabrication techniques to inform and enrich the outcome. In order to be experimental with processes of making, we look closely at existing crafts and manufacturing techniques with the aim of adding to existing knowledge when possible, learning from it at the very least. Exploring the potential of material design requires setting aside established ideas of not only how something should be constructed but also how materials should appear or behave. New materials in architecture emerge rarely, but their impact is considerable. The fabric of our cities and landscapes is a testament to what prevails and endures. Traditional materials can be refashioned by altering the way they are processed or utilised. Material behaviour changes with quantity; performance differs depending on a structure’s size and on the environment in which it is constructed; and visual impact varies with distance. Our method of enquiry is hands-on, set firmly in the realms of empirical testing of matter and fabrication on an architectural scale. The development of material science goes hand-in-hand with technological shifts. As a research laboratory, our interest in material is mediated through not only experimentation with the latest in digital design and fabrication but also applicability, tested in the construction industry through live projects. Our methodology prioritises a hybrid of fabrication techniques, favouring customised systems; the design of processes as well as products; and use of digitally controlled machining and semi-automated processes. Our experiments are grounded in cyclical processes of making prototypes, with rigorous and iterative refinements. The lab’s work is as much about traditional making as it is about computation and digital technology. Material Architecture Lab, ‘Marbled’, 2020. Recycled supermarket plastic bags and black denim offcuts fused together to form a decorative construction panel 10
Urban Morphogenesis Lab Lab Director: Claudia Pasquero Affiliated with Urban Design MArch Research Cluster 16
Currently, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and the urban population is expected to double by 2050. Intense urbanisation has led us to rethink human socio-economic development on a global scale with particular emphasis on the relationship between human beings, their footprint, and the environment. Cities and city regions today are at the forefront in both feeling the effects and fighting to offset the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. Cities are the biggest carbon dioxide emitters globally, and therefore it is necessary to redesign their infrastructure, rethink consumption patterns and circularity. The questions we pose here are: is there a way to convert what they now expel, as waste or pollution, into raw material to feed new processes of production, and how can we make visible what is now invisible and informal in cities? This entails innovative strategies of waste management, water conservation and recycling, renewable energy production and trading. It also involves implementing technologies for the filtration and re-metabolisation of air pollution. At the same time, we recognise that in each urban space there are layers of informality which supplement and complement existing public services – in water catchment, individual waste recycling, or in other forms, like decentralised construction. These dynamics, while an essential part of the tapestry of life in cities, are not always recognised. Yet, effective ways of addressing vulnerabilities demand utilisation of the entire human and environmental systems in cities. We can design resilient cities that use their size and collective energy to create refuge for both humans and displaced wildlife, that promote the emergence of positive microclimates, that replenish depleted water sources and that restore degraded terrains, pushing back on processes such as desertification, land erosion and contamination. This entails innovative strategies of urban regreening and rewilding as well as of urban agriculture.
Guatemala City Urban Waste Network 2020, GanPhysarum algorithm, ‘DeepGreen’ project by ecoLogicStudio, Urban Morphogenesis Lab (The Bartlett), The Synthetic Landscape Lab at Innsbruck University for United Nations Development Programme. Project team: Claudia Pasquero, Marco Poletto with Konstantinos Alexopoulos, Michael Brewster, Xiaomeng Kong, Eirini Tsomokou, Lixi Zhu 12
The B-Pro Show 2019
Architectural Design MArch
Architectural Design MArch Programme Director: Gilles Retsin
Architectural Design at The Bartlett is invested in the frontiers of advanced architecture and design and its convergence with science and technology. Composed of an international staff of experts and students, this programme is designed to deliver diverse yet focused strands of speculative research, emphasising the key role computation plays within complex design synthesis. Design is increasingly recognised as a crucial agency for uncovering complex patterns and relations: this has never been more important. Historically, the most successful architecture has managed to capture cultural conditions, utilise technological advancements, and answer to the pressures and constraints of materials, economics, ecology and politics. This synthesis is now being accelerated by the introduction of computation and the ever-evolving landscape of production. Architectural Design students are introduced to advanced coding, fabrication and robotic skills, aimed at computational and technological fluency. Simultaneously, they are taught about the theoretical frameworks which underpin their enquiries. Students are part of a vibrant urban and professional community, enriching the process of learning and opportunities for networking. Placing advanced design at its core, the Architectural Design programme devotes a high proportion of its time to studio-based design enquiry, culminating in a major project and thesis. The programme is organised into research clusters, each with their own agendas, underpinned by the shared resources of technical tutorials, theoretical lectures and seminars. The latest approaches to robotics and AI, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, supercomputing, simulation, generative design, interactivity, extensive material prototyping and links to material science are explored. Students engage critically with new developments in technology, which are rapidly changing the landscape of architecture, its social and economic role, and its effectiveness in industry applications. Students are introduced to theoretical concepts through lectures and introductory design projects, supported by computational and robotics skillbuilding workshops. Throughout the year, students work in small teams or individually, according to the methodology of each research cluster, amplifying their focus and individual talents in the context of complex design research and project development. Projects are continuously evaluated via tutorials, with regular design reviews by external critics. Alongside our cutting-edge research, we host public lectures and seminars throughout the year. Maaya Harakawa, Ran Mo, Nutthapol Pimpasak, Jin Wang, Research Cluster 1, Logistics: â€˜Decommissioning Svalbardâ€™ 16
Speculative Climate Immersions and Post-Anthropocentric Assemblages Hadin Charbel, Déborah López Lobato This year, Research Cluster 1 explored the effects of the Anthropocene through the lens of ubiquity as the production of data, raw material, logistical processes, geopolitical interests and its impacts on contemporary scenes. Using climate fiction (Cli-Fi) as a vehicle, imminent realities have been researched, experimented with and projected. Research was directed by examining the implications and ramifications of permafrost thaw in the Arctic through an ecosystemic approach, tracing relationships between networks, actors, ecologies and interests at micro, local and global scales. Inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches were adopted in order to drive both the interpretation of the research as well as project development; making reference to architectural discourse and beyond. As topics were teased out, positions were formed. A.C.R.E’s approach to warming conditions in Alaskan ecological transition zones is driven by the idea that ‘climate change is bad; but not for everyone’, finding valuable lessons by looking past Las Vegas and instead to Disney and Star Wars and their encounter with environmental law. Knowledge Offload and Reapply responds to a common Inuit saying, ‘when an elder dies, a library burns’, by offloading human knowledge into machines as a way to archive and augment traditional lifestyles in current circumstances. Autonomous Transhumance asks: ‘do robotic shepherds dream of electric sheep?’ Observing that reindeer are essentially arctic sheep, possessing poor vision and driven by their sophisticated olfactory senses, they are an integral part of the local ecology and depend on humans for seasonal migrations to different pastures. How might machines take on the task that humans may no longer want or be capable of carrying out in an uncertain and evolving terrain? Decommissioning Svalbard acknowledges that living in Longyearbyen is a paradox; a triangle between environmental law, national sovereignty and increasing avalanches leaves locals with a housing shortage. Limited resources force the conclusion that not all architecture is worth preserving (at least not all aspects), and propose the deconstruction of old buildings and the reconstruction of new hybrid-typologies as the way forward. The cluster operates through a method of decoding and recoding: using machine learning to identify patterns in landscapes, behaviour, materials and a combination of simulations and generative design processes – a form of preservation through adaptation, both to circumstance and approach to the issues. Each project is accompanied by an animated film that tells a multi-dimensional narrative of the Arctic. Encompassing computation, design, technology, ethics, culture, politics, ecology and climate, the projects point to alternative futures that override the deterministic nature of current trends, questioning current perceptions and modes of commodification, consumerism and larger political interests.
Student Teams Team Earth – Autonomous Transhumance Sitanan Bhengbhun, Tushar Mondal, Tashi Zaidi Team Logistics – Decommissioning Svalbard Maaya Harakawa, Ran Mo, Nutthapol Pimpasak, Jin Wang Team Human – Knowledge Offload and Reapply Lusha An, Wenzhao Bo, Lei Jiang, Yue Ren Non-Human – A.C.R.E. Autonomous Colonising Robotic Ecosystem Jialei Huangfu, Mingyang Li, Ke Liu, Wen Luan Theory Tutor Daria Ricchi Skills Tutors Ping-Hsiang Chen, Sherif Tarabishi Critics Igor Bragado, Eduardo Cassina, Peter Cook, Patrick Donbeck, Liva Dudareva, Behnaz Farahi, Manuel Jiménez Garcia, Miles Gertler, Octavian Gheorghiu, Margo Handwerker, Tyson Hosmer, Neil Leach, Álvaro López, Gilles Retsin, Heather Roberge, Patrick Schumacher, Valentina Soana, Theodore Spyropoulos, Kathy Velikov, Barrry Wark
1.1 Non-Human ‘A.C.R.E.: Autonomous Colonising Robotic Ecosystem’. Aerial view of autonomous machines terraforming the landscape in creating a target ecology, a possibility afforded by climate change creating new ecological transition zones. The project was approached from the premise: ‘climate change is bad, but not for everyone’. 1.2–1.10 Logistics ‘Decommissioning Svalbard’. This project addresses the paradox of Longyearbyen, the largest, most northern city on the remote Norwegian island of Svalbard. The area has been subject to an increased number of avalanches destroying buildings and infrastructure while simultaneously being blocked from territorial expansion due to stringent environmental law, so the total habitable area is continuously shrinking. These issues are further problematised by a political need to ‘man’ the island in order to maintain national sovereignty. The proposed strategy is a multiphased decommissioning plan, using machine learning to dismantle buildings while recording their material and nostalgic properties, which are then used in the generation of new familiar, yet odd, typologies. Using machine learning to identify and classify different building parts, decomissioned buildings are deconstructed to be reconfigured into new typologies. The process also implements a ‘nostalgic factor’ that analyses social media posts related to the building and preserves the characteristics of the original buildings that are deemed desirable, such as the main vantage points from which the buildings are featured. A ‘voxel-bashing’ method is devised to hybridise building typologies and construct them through decommissioned building parts. The method is executed by voxelising existing buildings and overlaying them, whereafter a binary system is used to determine if the voxels should average or replace one another. The final architectural outcome addresses the peculiariaties of environmental law, programme and heritage. The project eventually extends beyond the scope of the arctic, speculating on the need for decomissioning to address ‘cli-migration’ at a global level, responding to specifics of various contexts and circumstances. 1.11–1.16 Non-Human ‘A.C.R.E.: Autonomous Colonising Robotic Ecosystem’. This project assumes that non-human interest will continue to be an afterthought when implementing new legislation. Holes in carbon-offsetting logic are as prevalent as those in the ozone layer, a reflection of the fickleness inherent in any climate accord that is echoed by the capacity for nations and governing bodies to ‘opt-out’ at will. Adopting the idea that consequences of climate change can and do afford new opportunity, the Autonomous Colonising Robotic Ecosystem uses a combination of machine learning and landscaping machinery to pervert human-made laws imposed on ecosystems that allow it to govern its own decision-making. The scenes depict the autonomous machines sourcing material, forming landscapes, and sometimes destroying their own creations, working towards the goal of expansion and colonising newly fertile lands in ecological transition zones. 1.17–1.18, 1.21 Human ‘Knowledge Offload and Reapply‘. This project preserves traditional Inuit knowledge and activity in northern Alaska. The region is actively read by locals thorough their profound understanding of different kinds of ice in order to navigate during hunting activities, throughout which landmarks are erected to communicate information. Warming temperatures have accelerated transformations in the terrain as well as animals’ migratory patterns. By transferring embodied human knowledge into machines, the system hybridises the decoding of the landscape and recoding of distinct 20
environmental signatures in generating new landmarks. These low-res navigational landmarks preserve the integrity of the hunt as a cultural act, while feeding back and augmenting the human embodiment of knowledge. The diagrams outline the decoding and recoding process. Landmarks are erected according to a logic driven by the hunt itself, balancing skill level with challenge level which results in a state of flow. In this way, human interaction and understanding of the environment is fed back into the landscape. 1.19–1.20, 1.22 Earth ‘Autonomous Transhumance‘. This project offloads and augments the reindeer herding responsibilities of the shrinking ethnic Nenet population in the Siberian Yamal region. Permafrost thaw has caused subterranean methane to build up under the Earth’s crust, resulting in the unpredictable formation and explosion of pingos. These geological blisters dot the landscape and when ruptured create large craters, releasing gas and bacteria. In this project, a smell library is used to create attractions and repulsions for herding reindeer, an endemic species with an acute olfactory sense. Using machine learning and a family of sentient machines, AuRoRa the herding robot releases different smell combinations to group, divide, and regroup reindeer as needed, and AuReGa the landscape acupuncturist and regenerator forms distinct patterns on the methane mounds to stimulate lichen growth to become visual landmarks and grazing pastures. Herding and ecological responsibilties are thus shared in a perpetually evolving ecology, adapting to the uncertainty inherent in the terrain and asking ‘do robotic shepherds herd electric sheep?’
Stefan Bassing, Federico Borello
Research Cluster 2 operates at the intersection of architecture and industrial design, and explores the synergy between novel design aesthetics, computer-aided manufacturing and entrepreneurship. The cluster’s agenda challenges and engages students to think about design in a holistic manner, through different materialities, emergent manufacturing technologies, computational tools and economics in the post-pandemic era. The cluster has a strong focus on manufacturing and physical production through different means, both digital and analogue. Toolchains were designed and tested within the school’s labs to evolve design ideas from digital representation to physical manifestation, exploring and exploiting contemporary manufacturing technologies like robotic and numerically controlled knitting machines. Supply chains, logics of remote delivery, offsite prefabrication and assembly were also explored and developed with each team in a specific manner. The start of the pandemic and the shift to remote operations was embraced both as a constraint and an opportunity. The physical prototyping nature of the cluster shifted to a more digital one, exploring emergent communication and computational platforms like game engines as participatory tools, as well as retargeting our focus within the ‘new norm’, or remote work and asynchronous collaboration. Team ImFAB explored robotic incremental metal sheet-forming and polystyrene moulds to create complex modular structures. The project initiated a startup company that provides a synthesis of services, including robotic-fabricated products, platform app design and modular prefabricated construction. The project offers a variety of design solutions including a configurator platform for the design and customisation of each individual product. Team Split.Knit explored the synergy between knitted membranes and active-bending lightweight structures. The project examined the transformability capacities of such structures, according to users’ needs. In this context, traditional knitting techniques were revisited and enhanced through contemporary computer-machine logics as a medium for the exploration of their space making capacities. As a result of the research, a startup is founded – Split.Knit – offering custom-fit products to future customers for indoor and outdoor spaces. Two architectural scenarios are introduced: spatial interior organisers for co-working office spaces and outdoor flexible temporary structures. The Olympic Games of Tokyo 2021 were taken as architectural scenario to prototype the deployment of such structures.
Student Teams ImFAB [Incremental Metal Fabrication] Yifan (Ethan) Ding, Jackson Bi, Su Han, Yingying Yu SplitKnit Yingjie An, Marianna Bagordaki, Xiaqing Ji, Ioannis Giannakopoulos Tselikas Theory Tutor Alejandro Veliz Skills Tutors Soomeen Hahm, Alvaro Lopez Partners Autodesk Critics Tommaso Casucci, Filippo Nassetti
2.1 SplitKnit This project explores the synergy between knitted membranes and active bending lightweight structures. The project examines the transformable capacities of such structures, according to users’ needs. In this context, traditional knitting techniques are revisited and enhanced through contemporary computer-machine logics as a medium for the exploration of their space-making capacities. As a result of the research, a startup is founded – Split.Knit – with the vision of offering custom-fit products for indoor and outdoor spaces. An interactive configurator platform allows future customers to design custom products according to their specific demands. Two main architectural scenarios are introduced: spatial interior organisers for co-working office spaces and outdoor flexible knitted structures. The Olympic Games of Tokyo 2021 are taken as an architectural scenario to prototype the deployment of flexible and lightweight knitted structures. The image is a close-up detail of a knitted membrane with a string actuator component to control the opening and closing mechanism, actuated by user input. 2.2 imFAB imFAB, or Incremental Metal Fabrication, explores the applications of robotic incremental metal sheet-forming and polystyrene moulds to create complex modular structures. The project proposes a startup company that provides a synthesis of services, including robotic-fabricated products, platform app design and modular prefabricated construction. Founded on innovative fabrication techniques, imFAB products specialise in dwelling and infrastructure applications across a range of scales that integrate architectural services, cost-efficient manufacture processes, customisable kits-of-parts, game-engine interaction, fast-assembly, self-stable, and volumetric stacks approaches. imFAB exploits robotic fabrication, digital design and distributed project delivery methods to bring pre-fabricated products directly to the end user. The project offers a variety of design solutions, including a ‘configurator platform’ for the design and customisation of each individual product. The image shows an aluminum sheet panel during the incremental forming process using a six-axis robotic arm. Through constant pressure, the custom-designed and manufactured end effector allows for an aluminum panel to be formed, resulting in a double-curved geometry. The formed shape can be used as formwork for polysterene casting. 2.3–2.5 SplitKnit Details of the manufacturing process of knitted membranes and their associated tectonics. The global shape is decomposed into patches and unrolled, to be manufactured through CNC knitting machines. The individual patches are then stiched together along the tension lines of the geometry. 2.6–2.10 imFAB 2.6 Polysterene mould after the steaming process. The polystyrene pellets are steamed into the aluminium formwork, shaping a lightweight mould, ready for further coating processes (e.g. shotcrete, metal cladding). 2.7 Aluminium panel after the forming process. 2.8 Interior render of a dwelling unit featuring a self-supporting vaulted structure produced through incrementally formed panels. The forming technology is also used to produce the perforated panels on the ceiling, hosting light features illuminating the interior spaces. The wayfinding flooring system allows for complex tetxures and shapes to be produced as prefabricated elements, helping inhabitants to navigate the interior spaces more intuititevely. 2.9 Exterior render of a dwelling unit featuring a self-supporting vaulted structure produced through incrementally formed panels. The texture exposed on the outer surface of panels expresses the flow of forces within the structure. 2.10 Larger-scale proposal of a camping resort featuring 30
prefabricated dwelling units and communal spaces. 2.11–2.13 SplitKnit Render of a prototypical indoor office space. The ‘Leaf’ component is deployed in clusters with a radial arrangement, creating meeting areas and helping the navigation. The string actuator allows to create visual privacy by bending the component structure, as well as acoustic insulation. 2.12 Close-up detail of the ‘Leaf’ component. The knitted texture of the membrane is highlighted by the coloured pattern, expressing the material performance and the different densities of knits across the surface. The string actuator allows tension to be created within the structure, which then transforms into ‘open’ or ‘closed’ state, providing shading and privacy when required by the user. 2.13 Render of a prototypical urban application of SplitKnit, a temporary market. The design is scaled up, creating larger spans covering a conventional existing structure. The architecture is lightweight and deployable, allowing for simple assembly and disassembly cycles. The large spans and their associated patterns create shading and exciting areas for social interaction, defining a lively, intuitive and spontaneous environment.
X.X 3.1 36
AI & Autonomous Architecture
Octavian Gheorghiu, Tyson Hosmer, Valentina Soana
Research Cluster 3 interrogates the notion of ‘living architecture’ as a coupling of living systems with the assembly and formation of architecture. Our research focuses on developing autonomously reconfigurable buildings with situated and embodied agency, facilitated variation, and artificial intelligence. Buildings have enormous costs, energy consumption, the potential for errors, require many years to build, yet become obsolete before they are even completed because they are planned with linear life cycles (raw material extraction; manufacturing; construction; operation; demolition; and disposal). This leads to layered, overly constrained buildings, inflexible to future change, expensive to construct and laborious to assemble. Rather than optimising individual segments of this unsustainable lifecycle, the cluster reappraises it holistically, learning from living systems extraordinary scalable efficiencies of continuously adaptive construction with simple flexible parts. The cluster develops experimental design models embedded with the ability to self-organise, self-assess, and self-improve using machine learning methods. It seeks to embed local adaptability directly into the design process by training models to learn to adjust and reconfigure to unforeseen and changing socio-economic needs and environmental conditions. One thread of the research focuses on physical reconfiguration enabled through autonomous robotic assembly systems that are tuned and trained in digital simulation environments. Another thread focuses on design models that apply artificial intelligence to spatial organisation of reconfigurable parts to improve at solving multi-objective architectural problems. This year, students investigated distributed robotic assembly and integrated robotic material systems with intelligent computational simulation environments integrated in a tightly coupled feedback loop for an architecture that is self-aware. Each team developed a series of bespoke robotic prototypes for physical adaptation and reconfiguration as an actuated soft or rigid body system. Real-time control and sensory feedback of physical robotics was managed within bespoke digital twin simulation environments. Deep reinforcement learning was applied for both learning adaptive behaviours for reconfiguration as well as integrated in multi-objective generative design algorithms for spatial planning. Computational models were developed for intelligent spatial assembly and planning in which students designed libraries of spatial parts and their relational logics for intelligent reconfigurable languages of assembly. Students developed methods of self-analysis in their design models and trained the design models within their own constraints to improve at mobility, adaptation, and assembly, to negotiate between objectives and generate robust spatial configurations.
Student Teams IRSILA Elahe Arab, Barış Erdinçer, Yifei Jia, Georgia Kolokoudia Origaming Ruijing Liu, Qiyu Wang, Yi Zhang, Pengmin Zhong Game of Robots Zhuo Cheng, Yalu Lin, Zhilong Yang, Youdan Zhang Tempo Mariem Afify, Hanrui Niu, Raisya Hidayat, Chun-Hao Hsu Machine Learning Tutor Panagiotis Tigas Technical Tutor Ziming He Robotics Tutor Justin Moon Theory Tutor Jordi Vivaldi Piera Skills Tutors Octavian Gheorghiu, Justin Moon, Panagiotis Tigas Critics Anton Garcia Abril, Shajay Bhooshan, Benjamin Bratton, Barbara-Ann CampbellLange, Mario Carpo, Emmanuelle Chiaponne Piriou, Peter Cook, Jelle Feringa, Fabio Gramazio, Daniel Köhler, Areti Markopoulou, John May, Anna Maria Meister, Marina Otero, Nadia Peek, Antoine Picon, David Ruy, Jose Sanchez, Patrick Schumacher, Theo Spyropoulos, Theodora Vardouli, Kathy Velikov, Andrew Witt, Molly Wright-Steenson, Maria Yablonina, Philip Yuan
3.1 IRSILA IRSILA is an autonomous architectural machine, capable of continuously adapting itself to negotiate the dynamically changing goals of a near-future cultural centre. The building physically reconfigures through a multi-agent robotic system that inhabits it and its library of simple connectable parts. Machine learning is applied to both reconfiguration and spatial scale planning. The building learns effective collaborative sequences of reversible assembly within the physical constraints of the robotic system. The building calculates the reconfiguring organisation of its spaces with an intelligent spatial assembly algorithm to determine each new goal state based on multiple evolving objectives including occupancy, physical stability, and spatial distribution. 3.1 Spatial assemblies: a series of spatial assemblies generated from spatial parts using an intelligent constraint-solving algorithm. 3.2 Tempo This project investigates autonomous spatial embodiment through a robotically controlled hybrid tensegrity system. It proposes a second-order cybernetic architecture made self-aware through a sensory system that provides feedback on the spatial body’s internal state and environmental state. A continuously evolving spatial system self-adapts in relation to quantitative and qualitative elements of human and non-human behaviour, constrained within the material body’s degrees of freedom. The research is investigated through the parallel development of robotic material prototypes, sensor-actuated control systems, and the development of a bespoke simulator, to be trained using reinforcement learning. 3.2 Robotic prototypes: robotic tensegrity hybridised with a tensile fabric system. The bespoke robotic prototypes are controlled through a Unity-based digital twin simulator. 3.3–3.7 Game of Robots Game of Robots is an autonomous distributed multi-agent robotic system for the assembly and reconfiguration of architecture. An ecology of simple robotic agents collaborates to distribute a series of simple parts through intelligent sequencing to construct spatial structures. The project aims to break the traditional linear lifecycle of buildings, introducing an autonomous architectural system capable of continuous reformation at multiple scales. At building scale, a spatial assembly algorithm is used to generate effective assemblies, while at the smaller scale, portions of the design goal are distributed in real-time communication with the physical robots. 3.3 Robotic prototypes: bespoke distributed robotic protoypes developed with 3D-printed carbon fibre parts. Robots are controlled through a Unity-based simulation environment and demonstrate a series of actions including 3D climbing and navigation, and individual and collaborative locking, assembling, and reconfiguring of static parts. 3.4 Robotic material system: a timber voxel-based material system which can be assembled and reconfigured. 3.5 Digital spatial parts: spatial parts are algorithmically assembled and broken down into a material system that can be assembled robotically. 3.6 Robotic navigation: bespoke robotic prototypes demonstrating self-navigation over reconfigurable material system. 3.7 Deployment scenario: a visualisation of a self-assembled and reconfigurable bridge using the robotic material system. 3.8–3.13 IRSILA 3.8 Deployment scenario: a reconfigurable cultural centre for art, developed using autonomous spatial planning and distributed robotic assembly. 3.9 Spatial assembly system: the machine learning-driven spatial assembly algorithm organises and reconfigurable spatial parts using which are physically assembled by distributed robotics. 3.10 Spatial assembly computational model: the computational model analyses multiple architectural 38
criteria as a feedback mechanism for composing spatial assemblies. 3.11 Robotic system: a bespoke distributed robotic system was developed to collaboratively assemble and reconfigure voxelised material elements. 3.12 Robotic system: a bespoke distributed robotic system was developed with 3D-printed carbon fibre parts capable of self-navigation, locking and unlocking, and assembling and reconfiguring voxelised material parts. 3.13 Deployment scenario: a reconfigurable cultural centre for art, developed using autonomous spatial planning and distributed robotic assembly. 3.14–3.15 Origaming Origaming is a robotic curve folding system for medium- to large-scale spatial structures. The research explores the latent potential for the constraints of curve-folding geometries to effectively enable the reconfiguration of inhabitable spaces. The project leverages a simple tensile actuation system integrated with elastic materials applied with curve-folded geometries. This extends previous geometric research in curve folding, to build a methodology for developing a deployable system of robotic parts. The research methodology involved developing both robotic material prototypes and a method for testing the degrees of freedom of curvefolded geometries through a bespoke physical simulation system. 3.14 Robotic curve- folding simulator: A bespoke Unity-based physics simulation environment was developed for simulating a robotically actuated curve-folding system. 3.15 Robotic curve-folding prototype: a series of robotically actuated curve-folding prototypes were produced and studied for their latent spatial transformation potential. 3.16–3.18 Tempo 3.16 Deployment scenario: a selfaware reconfigurable tensile fabric and tensegrity hybrid system is deployable in urban spaces, adjusting itself in relation to environmental and crowd-based factors. 3.17 Real-time Robotic Control System: a Unity-based simulation environment was set up for real-time robotic communication and control of bespoke robotic fabric and tensegrity prototypes. 3.18 Carbon fibre tensegrity / fabric prototypes: hybrid tensegrity and tensile fabric prototypes produced with carbon fibre rods as a deployable and reconfigurable spatial system.
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Automated Architecture Labs
Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Sonia Magdziarz, Gilles Retsin, Kevin Saey
Research Cluster 4 believes in the agency of architecture for change. Automation is not only about robots – it is first and foremost a design project. We are decisively critical but optimistic about automation. Aware of the political consequences of our tools, we develop platforms for automated living that increase access to high-quality housing. Students look at a new, organic and continuous form of discrete assembly, priming construction for automation, aiming to rewrite the fundamental parts of architecture, discretising it to a few generic, versatile building blocks and acting as a base platform for automation. This year, students built everyday automated workflows, set in the immediate here-and-now, which allow radical new spatial and aesthetic agendas. At the same time, they developed new narratives for work-life and domesticity in a fully automated world. Their projects question autonomous life, from smart washing machines and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units, to mobile robotic mini-factories and activism. This new, automated life is organised on multiple platforms allowing for long- and short-term changes within building fabric as well as new dynamic modes of ownership. Public Parts proposes an AI-managed platform for autonomous communal living. It seeks to subvert neoliberal platforms that currently control the gig economy, with a re-socialised stance on social housing. The platform utilises automation and machine intelligence to produce buildings capable of spatial reconfiguration to be inhabited and managed by housing cooperatives. Elementable is a 24-hour automated housing platform which aims to reduce the cost of housing through space flexibility managed by robotic doors, inserted in a fixed no-corridor matrix which constantly reconfigures the plan according to the users’ needs. The crowd-funded platform Parallodge establishes a system that connects investors and residents so that people at both ends of the social resource can get what they need. Here, the trading of parts allows dynamic alteration of the level of privacy of the space. This allows users to extend or reduce the space they own in relation to their needs over long periods of time. Another project bringing long-term changes to the neighbourhood is Waldo, a new architectural solution to reinvigorate the southern European countryside by establishing hubs for innovation that support existing inhabitants and attract new populations. Waldo enhances local food traditions while introducing a new rural lifestyle. The rural landscape serves as a canvas for an open-air concrete prefab factory on which coordinated automated machinery operates to carve out and cast discrete building blocks in the ground. And finally, LITH is a publicly owned, automated living platform for space sharing enabled by a 3D printing farm. It aims to decommodify gentrified neighbourhoods and provide affordable long-term homes for at-risk members of the community.
Student Teams Public Parts Keshav Ramaswami, David Rodrigues Silva Dória, Xuan Zhang Waldo Alexandr Lala, Mario Serrano Puche, Yuan-Heng Shih, Jier Zhou Parallodge Lina Fu, Özgun Karsli, Yifan Zhang, Yixuan Zhang Elementable Tao Li, Yushan Sun, Xiaohan Wang, Shuyu Zhang LITH Sinem Görücü, Mukul Gupta, Razan Jawad, Shuyan Yang Theory Tutor Mollie Claypool Skills Tutors Kevin Saey Sonia Magdziarz Critics Shajay Bhooshan, Peter Cook, Kas Oosterhuis, Philippe Morel, Yael Reisner, Patrik Schumacher
4.1, 4.6–4.7 Public Parts Public Parts is situated within the context of digital platforms and the rising informality of work. In the past 15 years, we have witnessed a proliferation of platforms that deal with new nonspecialised occupations that constitute the gig-economy. Gig workers often lead a precarious life of underpaid, unrelenting tasks. Vulnerable to the urban housing crisis, this demographic is left unsupported and often rent-burdened. What if digital platforms and task-based work could be used to empower the autonomy of these communities? Public Parts is an artificial intelligencemanaged platform for autonomous communal living. It seeks to subvert neoliberal platforms that currently control the gig economy, with a resocialised stance on social housing. The platform utilises automation and machine intelligence to produce buildings capable of spatial reconfiguration, to be inhabited and managed by housing cooperatives. It seeks to discretise and decentralise the typical apartment to minimise fixed ownership and maximise access. Public Parts’ AI manages a gig-based construction of discrete parts, automated spatial reconfiguration, communal upkeep, and a domestic and professional task pool which operates as socio-economic infrastructure. The result is an environment that adapts to the behaviour of its inhabiting community while providing gig-work opportunities. 4.2, 4.8–4.9 Waldo What is today’s countryside? The countryside has been transformed into a nonstop machine that feeds cities. At the same time, the countryside is being continuously evacuated. Villages transform into ghost towns and attempts to revive them are still at early stages. Waldo aims to invigorate low populated rural areas by introducing high-tech food-production infrastructure and housing in southern Europe’s dying villages. A series of EU regulations for the development of abandoned rural villages gives birth to Waldo, and in turn, Waldo helps to establish a self-sustaining economy for the villages it operates in. Waldo provides automated housing and food production infrastructures for food specialists, locals, and agrotourists to establish productive community hubs that enhance abandoned villages, financially and socially. To construct the hubs, automated machinery operates on the landscape. It carves out and casts architectural components, treating it as a canvas that serves as an open-air concrete prefab factory and ultimately becomes a piece of land art. This framework supports a fully automated system. The resulting components are aggregated into typologies that hold a gradient of living and production programmes. 4.3, 4.10–4.12 Parallodge Parallodge establishes a crowd-funding platform, which connects investors and residents so that people at both ends of the social resource can get what they need. Here, the trading of parts allows the level of privacy of the space to be dynamically altered. This allows users to extend or reduce the space they own in relation to their needs. A spatial organisation driven by minimal surface allows spaces to interlace with one another, facilitating a gradual mutation of their use. This spatial continuity eases the transition from private to public spaces and vice versa. All users need to input their space requirements to get their customised surface elements. Then all chunks will be combined into the entire structure. Parallodge’s building blocks emerge through the use of a combinatorial algorithm that approximates their arrangement to the underlining minimal surface used as guidance. A transportable fabrication hub is designed to go directly to the site and do the production of the blocks on the context. A discretised cable network is used to post-tension the building blocks, achieving structural continuity. The organisation of this network in relation 48
to the blocks serves as well as an assembly sequence translated into an AR application with step-by-step instructions to be used by workers on site to ease the construction process. 4.4, 4.13–4.15 Elementable Emerging as a response to the current housing crisis, Elementable is a 24-hour automated housing platform which aims to reduce the cost of housing through space flexibility and cooperative ownership. The 24-hour flexible space is linked with the Elementable users’ timetable. The schedule data is sent to the ELEBO robotic doors that are inserted in a fixed no-corridor matrix which constantly reconfigures the plan according to users’ needs. Space ownership in Elementable buildings is assigned to the e-user community, who can actively renegotiate and trade their allocations, allowing them to only pay for the time and space they plan to occupy, liberating the remaining space to be rented out to other users. 4.5, 4.16–4.19 LITH This project proposes a publicly owned automated living platform for space sharing enabled by a 3D printing farm. It is aimed towards the decommodification of gentrified neighbourhoods, to provide affordable long-term homes for at-risk members of the community, and to provide a platform to artists and artisans being displaced due to gentrification. The automated printing farm works tirelessly around the clock on the production of serialised 3D printed formworks, which can be incrementally cast to produce an intentional community, where spaces are designed, shared and managed via a platform.
Material Architecture Lab
Adam Holloway, Guan Lee, Daniel Widrig
Following last year’s theme, Synthetic, our focus this year was Organic, a provocative examination into naturalness in materials’ forms and design systems. We invited students to integrate their design project with the urgent call for a greener and more thoughtful approach towards environmental implications of our actions as architects and inhabitants of our natural world. What is an organic form? What can we learn from natural organisms? Can something that is digital be organic? Green design strategies and material performance aims must emphasise the ways in which our future architectural development can mitigate local resource depletion and environmental degradation. The methodology of our teaching platform investigates and discovers novel material processes and their architectural application through playful investigation and critical design experimentation. ‘Everything is connected to everything else’ is a dictum in organicism which has for generations presided over and underpinned many discourses on our biosphere and its sustainability. The word ‘ecology’, coined by Ernst Haeckel in the mid-nineteenth century, refers to this relational connectivity between the living world and the environment: essentially, the very small to the very big, insolubly and uninterruptedly, through nutrition and respiration, with circumambient material and energetic material. Haeckel made this vivid link with what he saw through the microscope, a relationship to the world we cannot see with our naked eye. This link is not just a physical one but also a conceptual leap. The ecological equilibrium which we strive to establish in more than one way is not merely about our physical surroundings. How can we engage the environment which we inhabit beyond the pastoral argument or naivety of political correctness? The amount we consume and produce is intimately connected to environmental sustainability. Our design research here focused on the future of manufacturing industry in relation to specialist production and bespoke technology. This year, we investigated alternative uses for industrial waste in the context of the construction industry. We experimented with paper recycling, reusing waste fabric and plastic bags. We looked at the meat industry for the production of gelatine, oyster and algae farming to inform our designs at different scales. Our studies of materials were followed by developing sustainable architecture; they questioned design strategies that can involve materiality more directly. Materiality was seen through a wider lens in scale and ambition to form a broader reading. Design solutions varied from place to place, different cultures and cities demanding different approaches. Students tackled issues of sustainability in architecture, with answers that are both universal and site specific.
Student Teams Arboritecture Mohamed Abdelnaby, Jiahe Chen, Junyi Liu, Jianbin Sun, Siyang Zhang Algae Anatomy Bryan Law, Ying-I (Dinel) Mao, Jie Song, Siqing (Eric) Zhu Dust to Dust Maria Giannakou, Yangqing Li, Haiying Wang, Weijue Wang Fabric Hewn Tai Jung Lee, Jaiqi Qu, Xin Xie, Xinge Zhu Oyster Matter Taimuzi Fu, Anongnad Srisurayotin, Xinxe Zhan, Xue Zheng Theory Tutor Ruby Law Partners Grymsdyke Farm
5&6.1 Fabric Hewn ‘Marbled Chair’. This project experiments with fabric as a construction material in combination with different binders, including recycled plastic bags. Fabric sheets can be fashioned using pattern derived from digital models as a way to generate architectural components. Waste plastics bags and fabric offcuts from the fashion industry can be combined by heating them up together in a kiln. With cutting, rolling and overlapping, these heated and bound composite blocks produce internal grains like natural marble. 5&6.2–5&6.8 Arboritecture This research looks at alternative uses for paper waste in the context of the construction industry. The paper industry is responsible for consumption of the world’s finite resources, as well as waste production. The paper recycling industry collects endless wastepaper for pulping, to produce cycles of usable paper. However, there is a limit to how many times paper can be recycled before paper fibres are too short. This project considers the paper industry as a whole, including the production of pulp and paper recycling. Paper bricks are formed from folded and compressed wastepaper. At the end of its usual life, paper can become a construction material. Through the compression of paper in different thicknesses and colours, these paper bricks’ variegated grain is not unlike that of its predecessor: wood. This new material informs design research into buildings of different scales. The main proposal sits in the context of a paper factory in Finland. With strategic planning and construction, it responds to the social and cultural dimensions of urban life as well as advocating sustainable material use. The construction processes also integrate a variety of cellulosic materials, logging trees, and pulp. 5&6.9–5&6.14 Fabric Hewn Both both digital and manual design and fabrication techniques are used. The internal and external grains of overall designs are modelled using a script that mimics the flow and compression of fibres. Plastic bags rolled together with fabric are hand-applied, layer by layer, to resemble the digital creation. The proposed architecture explores the relationship between urban waste and nature by reusing an abandoned quarry in Caserta, Italy. Utilising the waste materials from this Italian town, the quarry transforms waste into architecture materials. An artificial quarry is integrated with the original natural quarry, forming an eco-village with a research lab, factory and residences, and calling for greater environmental awareness. 5&6.15–5&6.20 Oyster Matter Oyster Matter is an architectural design project that puts the theory of circular design into practice through both physical material prototyping and digital computation. With over 2,300 tonnes of oyster shells produced annually in the UK, the exploration of this material could be vital to addressing ecological, economic and societal concerns. Oystercrete, a biomaterial developed from oyster shell waste, is explored as an alternative to traditional cement. Rich in calcium carbonate, it is a valuable building compound. The project’s initial outcomes offer many sustainable benefits and address the immediate concern of shell waste. However, oysters are over-harvested and are an essential part of marine ecosystems that promote biodiversity aid in water filtration. To address this issue, the project proposes using ‘seacrete’, a substance which is artificially cultivated by submerging steel rebar frames, connected to an electrical current, in the sea. Throughout the process, limestone minerals grow over the surface, resulting in a thick white material that is three times stronger than traditional cement. The resulting architecture contributes to the restoration of marine ecosystems. 5&6.21–5&6.26 Algae Anatomy This research explores the structural, spatial and expressive potential of green 62
macroalgae as a multi-material fabrication system. The research deals with the specific type of algae classified as green macroalgae which can become a marine hazard through blooms and should be exploited as a resource. Through rigorous material testing and research, the team were able to create a lightweight, rigid component from compressing and curing green macro algae. Using this material to drive the design approach, the project proposes an ecovillage to be located in an existing village township in Ningbo, China. The ecovillage will serve as a link between the villages within the township, encouraging interaction between residents and visitors, and will activate the existing landscape through a component-based architecture system. Baiyucun township and its residents are surrounded by an abundance of this algae. The proposed architecture questions the existing relationship with the material and proposes alternative uses, exploiting algae as a building material that can engage with structure, light and inhabitation. 5&6.27–5&6.32. Dust to Dust This research focuses on the byproducts of meat industry. The project was driven by current perceptions of organic waste and with the aim of repurposing these byproducts into construction materials. Gelatine is extracted from meat waste and it is mixed with glycerine and water to form a protein-based material. The properties of the material can be adjusted by varying the gelatine-glycerine proportions or by adding mineral pigments. Due to its specific properties, the gelatine-based material can be used as a binder in sand 3D-printing fabrication methods.By using the advances of binder jetting technology, lattice structures can be formed and shaped in the desert environment as a landscape remediation programme. This technique stabilises desert sand particles and transforms the arid environment for potential agricultural yield. The design proposal emerges through the synergies between the digitally fabricated inhabitable space and the sand formation of the desert landscape, highlighting the coexistence and interdependency of the built environment and our ecosystem. The protein-based material is designed to naturally decompose, adopting a ‘dust to dust’ lifecycle logic to pursue a symbiotic relationship with nature.
Richard Beckett, Barry Wark
Research Cluster 7 considers how advances in biotechnology, engineering and the understanding of the microbiome are affecting architecture. We explore new modes of bio-design workflows and digital fabrication methods, as well as advances in the field of synthetic biology and material sciences. Students’ work questions how these topics can challenge modern approaches to integrating living matter into architecture through a multidisciplinary approach to design for future cities in the age of the Anthropocene. This year, students explored novel approaches towards integrating living matter into architecture and explored new notions of space, concepts of inhabitation and building performance for workspaces that offered new strategies for resilient cities in the face of accelerating climate change. Their aim was to pursue architecture that uses computational methods and principles of biology with simulation and digital fabrication within real time environment engines. The projects created building proposals that look to provide radical solutions around issues including urban growth, smart buildings and healthy Infrastructure. LigaPrint explores a novel approach to bioreceptive concrete fabrication, through 3D freeform liquid printing techniques towards environmentally driven biospatial workspace configurations. Materialled investigations were explored in tandem with robotic extrusion techniques to produce freeform, semi-structural components that are extremely fast to produce, with no limitations to variability. BioVellum researches the use of biological polymers as a construction material for temporary, lightweight, semi-living architectures. Vegetablebased polymer investigations explored multi-material conditions for functionally graded variability in stiffness, transparency and ephemerality. Robotic spray-based application onto inflatable skins was driven by computational workflow based on multifactored physical and environmental conditions. FurCrete explores robotic hotwire cutting to fabricate deep and intricate formwork. The research challenges the time-intensive milling associated with robotic carving to quickly and cost-effectively produce bespoke building elements. The pieces assemble to create ‘chasm’ spaces within buildings where the textured surface topologies create moments of water retention within the system. This in turn creates opportunities for seeds blown into these areas to propagate non-determinate plant growth to create biodiverse, biospatial conditions in buildings. CarbonBuild develops biochar as a novel bioreceptive material for integrating nature into architectural substratum. Computational approaches for assemblies of discrete, space-filling geometries were used to make reconfigurable moulds for constructing non-discrete building components. Aggregations and tectonic logics were driven by environmental simulations of solar gain, wind and site context.
Student Teams LigaPrint Chenshu Li, Xiangyu Liu, Xiaoyan Zhou BioVellum Rui Duan, Zhuoyi Peng, Yifan Ye, Haifeng Zhao FurCrete Ye Chen, Anyun Jiang, Chia-Wen Lee, Danfeng Zhang Carbon Build Rohan Arora, Sydney Otis, Kashmira Sonar, Zhijing Wu Theory Tutor Luis Hernan, Carolina Ramirez Figueroa Skills Tutors Nayan Patel Partners Fibre Technologies, Bristol, UK
7.1–7.3 LigaPrint This project explores a novel approach to concrete fabrication by applying 3D freeform liquid printing techniques towards environmentally driven biospatial configurations. Material-led investigations were explored in tandem with robotic extrusion techniques, to produce freeform, semi-structural components that are extremely fast to produce with no limitations to variability. The printed material was developed to exhibit a low pH and a porous surface to support the growth of algae and mosses, on the surface, while the latticed geometries support the growth of climbing plants. To achieve this, toolpath-driven computational techniques were developed in relation to the fabrication process. The fabrication process was in turn driven by site-specific environmental simulations to produce density differentiation relating to thermal comfort, visibility, privacy and microbiological diversity. Process and assemblages are explored through new approaches to creating healthy workplaces whereby environmental exposures are prioritised over fixed spatial provision. The project looks to new ways to increase green biodiversity in cities and buildings and explores this through a new approach to healthy communal workspaces that are analogous to living or working within a forest, but in the urban environment. The proposed architecture rejects modernist approaches which separate nature from the building, and creates usable, diverse spaces between indoor space and the outside environment. The layout brings nature into the architecture and encourages walking between different areas of the building resisting indoor, sedentary working. 7.4–7.9 BioVellum researches the use of biological polymers as a construction material for temporary, lightweight, semi-living architectures. A series of vegetable-based polymer investigations explores a multi-material condition, allowing for functionally graded variability in stiffness, transparency and ephemerality. Manual fabrication using spray-based application onto inflatable skins provides a proof of concept for a computational workflow based on multifactored physical and environmental conditions. The team explored extended position based dynamics simulations to define habitable conditions which use rigid body frameworks as a permanent – yet reconfigurable – structural scaffolds. These control the inflation and fabrication of multi-layered biopolymer membranes. In addition, the proposed building has a stable degradation cycle, and transparency and lighting also achieve gradient changes, making the building function flexible and changeable. The project proposes a design for the Tokyo Olympics media centre as an example to explore the semi-permanent system. This building system ideally uses the same building modules (structure, frame) to adapt to different architectural forms. The structure of the media centre, which is realised with inflated bioplastics, is supported and shaped by the metal frame. After the Olympic Games, the basic modules of the media centre could be removed, and the frame reserved for the next buildings. 7.10–7.16 FurCrete This project explores robotic hotwire cutting to fabricate deep and intricate formwork for glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) panels. The research challenges the time-intensive milling associated with robotic carving, to quickly and cost-effectively produce bespoke building elements. These pieces assemble to create ‘chasm’ spaces within buildings where the textured surface topologies create moments of water retention within the system. This in turn creates opportunities for seeds blown into these areas to propagate nondeterminate plant growth to create biodiverse, biospatial conditions in buildings. Industrial robotic arms have been widely used in architecture design for years, and work 76
has been undertaken exploring the possibilities of automated fabrication in highly efficient and innovative ways in order to discover the potential of the material in digital fabrication. This project has adopted this fabrication approach and combined it with the use of a hot wire cutter to produce foam blocks with different shapes. Due to its rapid manufacturing capability, this process is extremely efficient time-wise. Before moving to robotic fabrication, the team carried out manual experiments in foam-cutting technology to simulate robot motion and have a better understanding of the foam engraving technique. In addition to the exploration of robotic fabrication, research was carried out into GRC, which has been widely used in the architectural facade system due to its versatility, ease of installation, and overall weight savings on the structure. The foam blocks produced by robots are used as moulds for casting GRC panels. A series of pattern studies and a form-finding process from pavilion design to large-scale architecture design were made. In the final building design, wind and solar-driven design processes are applied, to create a chasm space in the office to provide greenery for users. 7.17–7.21 Carbon Build This project develops biochar as a novel material for integrating nature into architecture. Biochar is a sustainable biomaterial, proposed as an alternative to brick or stone, where the raw ingredients are obtained from plant matter rather than mined. It serves as a sustainable biomaterial that when integrated with other more stable, inert materials, serves as an alternative to brick or stone. The matter in its baked form exhibits porosity, functioning as a bioreceptive material providing a carbon source for the growth of photosynthetic organisms directly on the surface, while also functioning as a carbon sink. The project explores computational tools and digital fabrication through the production of reusable, reconfigurable moulds based on packing logics. Aggregations of biochar are integrated with stable, inert materials, driven by environmental simulations of solar gain to propose temporal, reconfigurable spaces for applications in architecture. The research explores computational approaches to the assembly of discrete, space-filling geometries (bisymmetric hendecahedrons) which are used to make biochar moulds for constructing non-discrete building components, encouraging adaptable and heterogeneous assemblies. Aggregations of cast biochar elements and their tectonic logics are driven by environmental simulations of solar gain, wind, and context. The project uses Ahmedabad, India as a case study to propose temporal spaces for a new application in architecture, proposing solutions for future workspaces as a biospatial habitat in which to work. This methodology is applied when identifying the importance of adaptability for the structure through a variety of software that analyses the environmental context to develop optimal plant growth, temperature regulation, modifiable volumetric spaces, and to control interior and exterior solar conditions.
Kostas Grigoriadis, Martina Rosati
Research Cluster 8 explores new procedures of designing and building with material gradients, aiming to rethink component-based assembly and the standard paradigm of 20th-century mechanical connectivity. With a mainly digital focus this year, we initially explored the simulation of material fusion and the structured organisation of two or more materials in three-dimensional space to create enclosure. We drew from these initial exercises to explore path optimisation routines and machine learning processes to generate new designs for the concourse of Euston Station. The main aim was to rethink the station’s quintessentially utilitarian but functionally limited roof structure, using continuous materiality. Team Metaplas found that a comprehensive model able to unify design and fabrication through digital tools is often missing from contemporary design-and-build methods. By combining rigid and flexible recycled plastics, Metaplas developed a folding multi-material panel that can be 3D printed flat and then made three-dimensional through an integrated patterning system, thereby embedding assembly instructions into materiality. Additionally, micro-patterning for structural reinforcement and shading eliminates the need for secondary structural and light control elements. This reduces weight, cost, and fabrication and assembly time and allows for this new, multi-material canopy for Euston Station to be non-centrally fabricated in various 3D-printing facilities scattered across London. Team Clay and Glass’ proposal for the station’s redevelopment consists of fully compressive fused glass and clay brick structures. Reminiscent of Victorian in-situ brick fabrication using London clay, salvaged brick and glass from ongoing demolition projects are converted back into powder, transferred to site, and mixed in different densities using automated deposition techniques. A series of multimaterial brick vaults are then positioned to correspond to optimal circulation paths that are in turn derived through iterative crowd simulation and machine learning studies. The targeted mixing of clay and glass in each brick allows for precise control of lighting conditions, while their recycled origin reduces cost and minimises the overall embodied energy of the station’s shell. Lastly, team Metal & Glass proposes a multi-material canopy that consists of structural and transparent sub-materials. Studies of the fusion compatibility between glass and iron, aluminium and copper are followed by sightline analyses to work out circulation flows. These reorganise wayfinding through the station and define the touchdown points of the fused glass and aluminium canopy that covers the concourse. In conclusion, these new material approaches enable nondiscrete, topological forms of architecture that do away with unnecessary pieces, instead corresponding to programmatic, use and occupation parameters through material gradations.
Student Teams Metaplas: 3D-Printed Multi-Polymers Betty Chavez Angeles, Wisnu Hardiansyah, Prapatsorn Lertluechachai, Marwah Osama Metal and Glass Fusion Tianxiao Liu, Zizhen Wang, Weiran Wei Building from Ashes: Brick and Glass Fusion Dawei Xu, Shuai Yuan, Yan Zheng Theory Tutor Sheng-Yang Huang Skills Tutors Alvaro Lopez, Marios Tsiliakos, Barry Wark Partner Autodesk Critics Pierandrea Angius, Marios Tsiliakos, Oliver Wilton
8.1–8.5 Building from Ashes: Brick and Glass Fusion 8.1 Multi-material brick vault study model. Polyhedron rules are used to generate a fully compressive form, which is subdivided into smaller segments along the force lines acting on the shell. Topological optimisation is then used to distribute the clay material within the glass matrix of each brick. The glazed regions are thin in section, while the clay becomes thicker where the load transferring occurs in each brick. 8.2–8.5 Glass and clay brick close-up view. Small-scale test vault generated with polyhedron rules: first, a projected surface of the ideal vault shape is generated (form diagram), together with its (flat) force diagram. Once these planar line diagrams are in horizontal equilibrium, the equivalent to that vertical equilibrium is calculated, resulting in a compression-only 3D structure. Aerial view of the final design for Euston Station: showing the continuous vault geometries and their segments made up of fused clay and glass. Aerial close-up view of the vaults and space in between: clay micropatterning is embedded into the glass matrix of each brick in order to control and calibrate the light entering the various spaces of the station. 8.6–8.11 Metaplas: 3D-Printed Multi-Polymers 8.6–8.8 Views of the final design for Euston Station. The overall enclosure mesh is analysed structurally and the mesh quads within areas of high stress are subdivided into smaller quad faces. These are then converted into a diamond-shaped pattern that forms a baseline for 3D folds that become deeper in these areas. Regions with smaller diamonds are also supported by a cable network to improve their structural performance and maintain the folds in place. A coloured plastic micropattern is also applied on each quad and fold, with each colour correlating to the natural lighting requirements of the different spaces in the station. Additionally, transparent panels along primary circulation routes allow natural light to infiltrate the spaces and for passengers to find their way more easily. The result is a heterogeneous roofscape made up of rigid, flexible, coloured, opaque and transparent plastic regions, reinforced structurally by folding and by cable tensioning. 8.9–8.11 3D-printed thermochromic plastics are used to test the impact of environmental temperature fluctuations on the colour changing regions of the Euston Station canopy design. Close-up view of the canopy showing micropatterning as well as the cable network keeping the folded volumes in place. Internal view of the station, showing the transparent plastic cells at the top for allowing light in for wayfinding, and the micropatterned cells on the rest of the canopy. 8.12–8.14 Metal and Glass Fusion Topologically optimised pattern diagram for the distribution of metal regions into the glass matrix that forms the Euston Station canopy. Plan render of the final design for the station, showing the openings in the ground plane for light access into the basement retail level. Voxel study model of a segment of the multi-material canopy, with the material distribution in each voxel ranging from pure metal, to mixed metal and glass, to pure glass. The colour of each voxel – from black, to grey, to transparent –represents the ratio of metal and glass used in each one.
Architecture for the Augmented Age
Alvaro Lopez Rodriguez, Igor Pantic
As we immerse ourselves into rapidly developing mixed realities, the barriers between humans and machines are becoming increasingly blurred. Research Cluster 9 envisages a hybrid approach to making that is neither purely analogue nor purely automated. We propose alternative strategies for the fabrication of digitally designed architectural structures, utilising wearable augmented reality (AR) devices to holographically assist workers in the manufacturing process. Over the past decade, we have witnessed rapid advancements in automated construction, as a consequence of the increasing sophistication of digital fabrication technologies, such as robotic manufacturing and 3D printing. While these advances give architects an unprecedented level of precision and control over the materialisation of their designs, the distinctive nuances and subtleties of traditional craft are absent from the artefacts of robotic production. With this in mind, we ask whether full automation is the ultimate goal or whether the role of humans in the construction chain needs to be reconsidered as automation is more widely adopted. Making in mixed reality reinvigorates traditional craftsmanship by augmenting hand and material skills with the precision and formal possibilities of digital modelling – occupying the territory between purely automated, exclusively robotically driven fabrication and highly crafted processes requiring human labour. It is crucial to understand that AR-assisted fabrication is not seen as an alternative to automation and robotics, but rather aims to expand the understanding of automated production. We are interested in exploring the interaction between human, machine and data, and their mutual relationships throughout computational design and fabrication processes. ARassisted processes have the capability of enhancing human labour with data previously exclusive to machines, while enabling seamless inclusion of intuitive decision making and experience, often absent from automated construction processes. Divided into four teams, students explored the balance between the roles of machines and augmented labour within the ‘all-inclusive’ approach to automation, aiming to develop new models for design and construction in the ‘Augmented Age’, resulting in 1:1 working prototypes of architectural elements.
Student Teams ceARamics Rahaf Aldabous, Sara Aldaboos, Jiaxiang Luo, Efthymia Mastrokalou reBENT Xi He, Pablo Isaac Jaramillo Pazmino, Ziqi Song Steam.Me.Up Chenfan Cai, Yaxin Ding, Zixuan Fan, Honghao Zhang MetaFold Xin Lu, Zeyuan Meng, Guanyu Shi, Jieni Zhang Theory Tutor Clara Jaschke Skills Tutors Octavian Gheorghi, Marco Jiuliani, Kevin Saey Sponsors Grymsdyke Farm Consultants Hanjun Kim – AR & Computation, Taeyoon Kim – Computation Critics Viola Ago, Matias del Campo, Fabio Gramazio, Soomeen Hahm, Damjan Jovanovic, Farzin Lotfi-Jam, Robert Stuart-Smith
9.1 ceARamics This project questions traditional methods of ceramic making, proposing a system of sticks and woven rope which act as a substrate to which the clay is applied. This allows for mass customisation of components, and the creation of intricate geometries of varying densities, which is typically limited by traditional ceramic forming processes and the material itself. The system argues for an augmented reality-assisted crafting process which is not limited to only highly skilled workers. An augmented reality (AR) app is developed, which allows the users to design, classify and fabricate the elements, by following simple holographics instructions. 9.2–9.7 reBENT This project proposes a fast and affordable system for creating complex concrete structures, by weaving a series of bent tubular geometries (PVC pipes and rebars), which are used as a formwork for spray-on glass reinforced concrete (GRC). An augmented reality app for Hololens is developed, in order to guide the construction process, in which the builders will form the tubes in place following holographic templates. Feedback between the built structures and digital models is established by re-digitising pieces which are already built in order to check for errors and inconsistencies, and update the digital model accordingly. 9.2 A student navigates through a user friendly AR interface 9.3 The users can select pre-designed models, or generate new designs in real time by manipulating spatial curves. 9.3 Fabrication process of a 1:1 prototype, visualised through a head-mounted AR device. 9.5–9.7 A design proposal for complex concrete structures, which can be produced fast and on site, without the expensive machinery, complex formwork or 3D printing. 9.8–9.9 Steam.Me.Up Inspired by traditional steambending techniques, this project explores methods for creating complex timber structures with the aid of holographic guides in the process of prefabrication and assembly. As the process of steam-bending traditionally requires a series of precise moulds, which limit the geometric language and increase fabrication time, the project proposes the use of adjustable moulds, positioned using AR guides, around which 3D timber elements are bent. An AR application was developed in order to manage the fabrication process, including placement of the moulds, the fabrication and assembly sequence of timber elements and material management. 9.8 Design proposal for an inhabitable interior constructed out of steam-bent timber. 9.9 Construction process of architectural elements. Individual timber strips are bent into shape around an adjustable formwork, following holographic guides. 9.10–9.13 MetaFold MetaFold proposes a reusable and reconfigurable formwork system for on-site concrete casting. With AR technology, MetaFold allows for real-time exchange of information on construction progress, through an augmented platform that provides instructions for prefabrication of formwork, its assembly and reassembly on site and the subsequent casting of concrete. Formwork is produced from flat metal sheets, folded into shape following the holographic template. Once the casting process is finished, the formwork is removed, and pieces reused to create new casting templates, or form internal partitions. A design-tofabrication app is developed, to guide the users through the fabrication process. 9.10, 9.12 A 1:1 scale physical prototype of a holographically formed and assembled metal mould and cast concrete piece. 9.13, 9.14 An architectural proposal built out of cast concrete elements. Moulds originally used for casting are reassembled into additional architectural elements such as walls and interior cladding. 9.14–9.19 ceARamics 9.14 Frames around which rope is woven are assembled from sticks and connected with a 94
series of 3D printed joints. The rope is woven following holographic instructions which show the direction of weaving and density of applied rope 9.15 Snapshot from a catalogue of possible components and combinations of assembly. The density of the woven rope directly affects the amount of clay, creating components of varying density. 9.16–9.19 Studies of different weaving styles.
Architectural Design Thesis Module Coordinator: Mollie Claypool
In this module, students write at Masterâ€™s level, analysing text to establish content relevant to their individual programme of study. The vehicle for this is an introduction to key theoretical concepts in architectural design, taught in the first term, which are then taken forward during the rest of the academic year. These concepts are varied but specific to the clustersâ€™ research for that year. The module gives students an introduction to the skills required to undertake a theoretical, cultural and historical study at postgraduate level, looking into the issues that underpin a study of architectural design, and introduces students to appropriate lines of investigation. Students develop their knowledge of the theoretical and historical issues that underpin a study of architectural design, and gain an understanding of the skills required to undertake a theoretical and historical study. They then undertake a written essay (including a literature review) with a bibliography and illustrations, examples of which are shown on the following pages.
Canvas of Sustainability: Design, Ecology, and Sociopolitics Tushar Mondal Tutor: Daria Rishi As definitions of sustainability are changing, sustainable development may not always be achievable through infrastructural development. An example of such a scenario would be the Arctic, changing in unpredictable ways due to climate change. The Arctic is a treasure trove of resources. As a result, the entirety of Arctic is witnessing a development in infrastructure. This development, despite being conceived to be sustainable, is often in direct conflict with the interests of the indigenous residents, resulting in a dichotomy of interests. The affected population consists mainly of nomadic reindeer herders, who are finding it increasingly difficult to complete their annual migrations. They are losing their pasturelands, as well as their migratory routes. They understand the importance of the infrastructure, which is being developed, but they must complete their migrations or lose their flocks. The answer to the transhuman problems of the Arctic may not lie in infrastructural development, but rather in the offloading of herding responsibilities to an autonomous agency. The Research Cluster 1 project â€˜Autonomous Transhumanceâ€™ proposes decoding the traditional knowledge of the indigenous population, the geophysical composition of the land and the ecology, and recoding them into the autonomous agencies â€“ a family of two robots. The autonomous
agencies will monitor these changes, as well as the infrastructure growth, and herd the reindeer accordingly, preventing unnecessary conflicts while simultaneously allowing for a sustainable co-existence of all stakeholders, including the non-human entities. When analysed from an ecological perspective, the solution helps maintain the Arctic biosphere. Reindeer are a keystone species of the Arctic, and their annual migration is inherent to the survival of multiple species of Arctic flora and fauna. The proposal ensures the maintenance of this biosphere by ensuring the continuation of reindeer transhumance despite the changing Arctic and increasing presence of infrastructure. A reindeer herd crossing a mortar road causes damage to both the reindeers and the infrastructure. Current ad-hoc solutions to mitigate this loss, such as covering the road with tarpaulin for the herd to cross on, are only partially successful. Since the proposal actively reroutes herds around infrastructure wherever possible, it reduces the losses incurred, which also contributes to economic sustainability of the region. On the social front, by substituting the requirement for active human participation in reindeer transhumance, the proposal enables the nomadic herders to become sedentary if they choose to. At the same time, it also slowly rewilds the reindeers to be capable of surviving without active caretaking. Image: Re-Taming the Arctic Using Proposed Autonomous Agencies. Image by the author 103
Digital Vernacularism: To What Extent Might Digital Tools Enhance Vernacular Design? Pablo Isaac Jaramillo Pazmino Thesis Tutor: Clara Jaschke Starting from the definition of syncretism as the combining of ideas, this thesis addresses the interdependence of the concepts presented in communication with vernacular criteria. The synchrony among them relies on which vernacular factor or factors could be taken as a promoter of the connection with the research scope to give an overview of a new role for designers. Syncretism might open the possibility of connecting the reality continuum, specifically augmented reality (AR), as a system of cognitive human augmentation and generative design as a system generator. According to Kirsh, our body connected to its physical elements might enhance a cognitive stimulation to our way of thinking.1 This correlates with Christopher Alexander’s research on the association of systems and their holistic performance with themselves.2 Connecting these concepts, we can infer that AR and generative design algorithms might be a possible solution to break the singularity realm, opening a new framework of a systematic architectural design or digital syncretism. First, we should aim to concretise how mind and body correlate in accordance to the capacities of learning that vernacular environments have shown so far. ‘Observing’ has been named among the criteria that are a source of knowledge in vernacular societies, which have been using this method among 104
their interactions to promote construction customs and methodology. We can deduce that our mental functions work as an open data collector, subject to modifications in relation to our immediate environment. In addition, we can introduce Kirsh’s research on embodied cognition, which explains that visuals work as a facilitator and transmitter of information from the mind to body and therefore to the physical realm.3 The medium here presented is our own mind, which connected to augmented reality may well enhance not only a representation of what we are observing, but a tool of knowledge. Kirsh states that cognition is augmented by many stimuli that we get when watching the performance of an activity. We can infer that by definition AR is an appropriate digital tool to connect with vernacular criteria, specifically a provider of external knowledge such as past interactions. If we connect this tool with machine learning, we could provide the vernacular builder with a medium to accurately design and construct for a specific built environment. This can be taken as precepts of what vernacular digital design might be if contemporary tools are immersed in its scale.
1. Kirsh, D. (2013), ‘Embodied Cognition and the Magical Future of Interaction Design’, Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 20 2. Alexander, C. A Pattern Language which Generates Multi-Service Centers, 1968 3. Kirsh (2013), op cit Image: ‘Augmented Generation’, collage by the author
Form Follows Decay Sydney Otis Thesis Tutor: Luis Hernandez This thesis proposes a speculative project that uses the metaphor of food and gastronomy as an apparatus to explore the concept of material agency and decay in architecture. An architect, or form-giver, is one who has mastery over nature, materials, and time, akin to a cook. At the same time, both materials and ingredients interact with their environment to decompose towards an expiry date. As a result, the agency that emerges from these non-human materials challenges the way architects act as form-givers. This thesis begins by considering â€˜Carbon Buildâ€™, a research-led project conducted in Research Cluster 7. The idea that form follows the lifecycle of the novel material biochar and its bio-receptive condition is extrapolated to challenge the boundary between maker and material. The outlining of this contention begins with a foundational literature review on decay and adaptability as an evolving dialogue in architecture. The discussion is conducted partly through the views of the theorists Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Bernard Tschumi, and Jane Jacobs, who can help us to recognise the ramifications of non-permanence on an urban scale. This is be followed by an analysis of material agency, performativity, and assemblage through the works of pioneers Jane Bennet, Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Barbara Bolt, and Gilles Deleuze. These references are then contextualised on a
reduced scale through field demonstrations undertaken by Rachel Armstrong, Neri Oxman, and Marcus Cruz. Part Two of the study uses the findings and ideologies discovered in the literature review to create a series of experiments that confront the dichotomy between maker and object. This idea is explored through the process of breadmaking, which is employed as a metaphor for concrete. Leveraging the theoretical knowledge gained, the study concludes with a proposal of speculative design strategies that can be applied to the building scale and which is aimed at achieving adaptability in the Anthropocene. This speculative thesis investigates material agency and decay as a design driver, to encourage a new paradigm in the definition of adaptability in which form follows decay. In the context of biospatial design, this project asks whether we can imagine architecture as an adaptable and temporary construct, rather than as permanent and static.
Image: Biochar Castings. Photograph by Sydney Otis and Zhijing Wu, 2020 105
Rosalind Krauss’s Surrealism in Sensory Actuated Spatial Systems Raisya Hidayat Thesis Tutor: Jordi Vivaldi Piera The implementation of autonomous robotic control systems in experimental architecture is becoming increasingly common in academic environments. Generally speaking, its algorithmic ‘otherness’ is generally approached as a positivistic mode of action based on processes of optimisation, enhancement, maximisation, adaptation or performance, with the aim of serving human beings. The application of sensory actuation systems expands the ability of buildings to act by themselves, offering a feedback analysis process for space-body engagement in order to increase the awareness of an immediate environmental condition. Hybridised physical and cognitive behaviour through robotic actuation implies the presence of algorithmic matter which is vigorously reorganising the way we conceive the real. In light of this scenario, this research circumvents the usual positivistic approach to architecture and artificial intelligence in order to investigate the aesthetic opportunities offered by the latter’s implementation in the architectural design process. The thesis argues that the application of sensory actuation systems in reconfigurable spatialities re-articulates Rosalind Krauss’s three structural principles of Surrealism. Presentation over re-presentation; automatism; and the conjunction of opposites are presented in this research 106
as architectural surrealist principles with a singular novelty: they articulate a form of Surrealism emancipated from the humanfocused characteristics of its conceivers. Surrealism has traditionally based its source of creativity on the idea of an unconscious other. In the 20th century, unconsciousness was understood as an authentic creative force that should be liberated from a rational perspective. Under the dispute between Jacques Lacan and Sigmund Freud, André Breton qualified automatism as the great manifestation method, while Dalí emphasised the paranoiac-critical method as the Surrealist protocol par excellence. However, the recent emergence of an algorithmic otherness and its application to experimental architecture has de-centred the notion of the ‘human’ from most of our cultural debates, offering the possibility of a profound re-evaluation of Surrealism as an aesthetic phenomenon. By re-interpreting Krauss’s principles through a profound aesthetic analysis of an autonomous robotic system applied to architecture, this research concludes that a new Surrealism is emerging, one that is no longer based on an inner and human unconscious otherness, but on an outer, algorithmic otherness, which makes all aspects of the human inner self obsolete.
Image: Chun-Hao Hsu, Mariem Afify, Nui Hanrui, Raisya Hidayat, Research Cluster 3 ‘Sensory Actuation Prototype Archive’, 2019-20
Habitat [and] Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence as an Architectural Component David Rodrigues Silva Dória Thesis Tutor: Mollie Claypool The pervasiveness of machine learning algorithms, from social media and smartphone applications to smart traffic lights, approximates technology to non-computer scientists. Through opensource libraries and algorithms, and even web-based machine learning applications, the reach of technology is broadened and made available for multiple disciplines. For architectural practice, this relative ease of access paves the way for greater adoption of this digital paradigm. Combining artificial intelligence (AI) and the built environment means embedding spaces with the ability to learn from and adapt to their environment and/or inhabitants after they have been designed and built. This implies an architecture that continuously redesigns itself coherently, modifying its materiality or immateriality through a digital medium. The design thesis associated with this research, ‘Public Parts’, proposes an AI-managed digital housing platform. It leverages the existing cooperative housing model to create a framework for an autonomous communal living for the increasing demographic of rent-burdened individuals and families. It proposes buildings that can accommodate their requirements for work and domestic spaces. The project employs automated spatial reconfiguration
to produce an emergent architectural programme, oriented towards domestic life, labour and leisure. Drawing from examples from contemporaneity and the second half of the 20th century, the thesis seeks to describe and reflect upon a technical and political approach to architectural AI. The research proposes the subversion of the logic of digital platforms’ machine learning algorithms – tools for data and capital extraction – and deploys AI strategies that build value from and for the communities that inhabit the buildings. By disrupting the exploitive relationship that surveillance capitalism has with data, the thesis proposes the construction of architectural spaces augmented by artificial intelligence, towards the creation of social environments that empower communal autonomy.
Image: Communal life in between components, algorithms and robots. Image by the author 107
The B-Pro Show 2019
Urban Design MArch
Urban Design MArch Programme Director: Roberto Bottazzi
Urban Design at The Bartlett is a Master’s degree dedicated to the analysis and design of emergent issues in the design of global cities. Students consider cities as privileged vantage points from which to investigate and speculate on the most pressing contemporary conditions, such as the conflation of digital and physical domains, climate change and ever-expanding urbanisation. The main drivers of the design investigations are the research clusters – small groups of students working closely with dedicated tutors. Each cluster responds to a unique research agenda and brief to develop their sophisticated design proposals. Within their clusters, students are able to investigate a particular set of urban concerns, and are also introduced to advanced computational methods to analyse and generate new urban programmes and morphologies. Each cluster acts as an incubator for new spatial ideas in which design and digital technology merge, to give rise to new modes of inhabiting and experiencing urban environments. The range of topics covered by the different clusters spans from the impact of big data and machine learning algorithms for design, to bio-computing, advanced algorithmic thinking and large-scale architecture, the role of masscustomisation in urbanism, design of landscape infrastructures and speculations on how urban environments may be altered and experienced through gaming environments. Within each cluster, a lively and creative conversation is promoted through tutorials, workshops, lectures, debates and exchanges, providing each student with access to new ideas and methodologies which they can expand upon with their final project and thesis. The variety and richness of the research agendas pursued by students is underpinned by an integral interest in the role that digital technologies play in shaping our urban environment. The B-Pro lecture series, Prospectives, and dedicated open seminars – this year on mereology and the politics of the digital – support students in their research. We are especially grateful to Andy Bow, Senior Partner and Deputy Head of Studio at Foster+Partners, for presenting and debating with the whole cohort on the urban challenges he confronts in his daily practice.
Hidden Cities: Yiming Guo, Hsin Li, Research Cluster 12, ‘Videogame Urbanism’, 2020 110
Computationally Intelligent Architecture for Emotionally Intelligent People
Philippe Morel, Paul Poinet ‘How Smart Is a Rock? To appreciate the feasibility of computing with no energy and no heat, consider the computation that takes place in an ordinary rock. Although it may appear that nothing much is going inside a rock, the approximately 1025 (ten trillion trillion) atoms in a kilogram of matter are actually extremely active. Despite the apparent solidity of the objects, the atoms are all in motion, sharing electrons back and forth, changing particle spins, and generating rapidly moving electromagnetic fields. All this activity represents computation, even if not very meaningfully organised.’ 1 The explosion in the number of households is now widely considered one of the most challenging problems in the world. There are approximately 138.5 million housing units in the US alone, and it has been suggested that we might have to build more than a billion houses by the end of the century, a significant part of the total number of households estimated to two billion. Houses – or homes – became the new standard of social life from the early 20th century onwards. They symbolise freedom, ownership, privacy and intimacy. They have also epitomised consumer society for at least 70 years. On top of these now classical dimensions of houses, and thanks to the ‘home computer revolution’, homes have more recently become fully fledged units of production.2 They are integral parts of our planetary-scale global and distributed ambient ‘factory’. Houses are arguably both the most important components of the global economy and iconic architectural objects – the whole history of the 20th century testifies to that. Unfortunately, as technological objects, they are primitive. This critical issue needs to be solved, not only analytically (as 20th-century architecture attempted to do), but computationally. This issue is what our cluster has been exploring throughout the year, by speculating about the future of urban and post-urban dwellings, but also by introducing, both on top of and into the design process, additional crucial parameters including availability, access, and business models. Designing architecture is not enough anymore – if it ever was – rather, in this age of smartphone applications, we should ask ourselves: how should we bring it to the people?
Student Teams NeceCity Sarah Abiad, Nora Katharina Fankhauser, Kyuseung Kyoung, Jixuan Liu New Housing Mode Renyue Cao, Zhaolu (Eva) Liu, Jie Xiao, Dewei Zhai Connective Co-Living Aaron Gibbs, Jiaman He, Bingli Liu, Yiming Qiu Housing Prime Shiyuan Huang, Yi Li, Zidong Liu, Huiyu (Acca) Pan Theory Tutor Philippe Morel Skills Tutors Philippe Morel, Paul Poinet Critics Ezio Blasetti, Roberto Bottazzi, Aurélie De Boissieu, Pablo LorenzoEiroa, Peter Macapia, Claudia Pasquero, Jesse Reiser, Thornton Tomasetti, Nanako Umemoto, Tom Verebes, Woods Bagot, Emmanouil Zaroukas
1. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near, New York: Viking Books, 2005 2. See The Home Computer Revolution, 1977, by inventor of the Hypertext concept, Ted Nelson 113
11.1 Connective Co-Living ‘Restructuring Urban Villages in Shenzhen using a Mass-Customisable Method’. In our increasingly over-connected society, data shows more people are living alone. Despite these trends, social connections are still an important contributing factor to our wellbeing. It is through these connections that computational design forms a dynamic urbanisation in Connective Co-Living. China’s urban villages are dense multi-storey collectives that house a poor, floating population. This particular urban example can prove to be a testing ground for a new housing model by eradicating the strict separation of private-public space and fully optimising the vertical, to allow a denser urban village that prioritises connections. This project aims to create an urban plan that redistributes the housing of Gangxia urban village to alleviate the grim aspects of the existing living conditions. This is done through the aggregation of new housing units that intensify the dense environment – the most visible quality of urban villages – while introducing greater access to sunlight, shared facilities, and public engagement programmes. The result was simulated maximum urbanisation that ultimately allowed each colony to function as its own autonomous urban village. However, as the title of the design thesis suggests, we sought to create a connective network between all colonies even with a high level of individual mass customisation possibilities. The diagram here shows the generous elevated terraces, the living cells, the elevators and the structural exoskeleton. 11.2 New Housing Mode The rapid increase in the number of households is now widely considered one of the most challenging problems in the world today. In order to adapt the growth of cities to meet the needs of all households, there must be an effort to help increase and promote affordable housing and a higher quality of life. This project was prompted by a desire to further understand this scenario and explore the development of future housing under the influence of this digital age. Aiming to balance the whole city, the project follows a ‘from part to whole’ strategy to examine the basic housing concepts extracted from a study of existing buildings. These concepts include the unit, common space, and public space. The unit is the smallest element to make up a room, a house, and the whole building. On the urban scale, a building fragment can have an urban effect through the arrangement of its parts. For example, a building could connect with another building through the circulation system. These connecting spaces are not only used as transportation spaces, but more importantly, they provide a place for people to communicate with each other throughout the house and the city. The question of what design strategies architects should adopt in order to cope with the changes in family structure and social organisation is explored from the perspective of a future housing mode. 11.3 ‘Pencil tower’ section of an urban colony to be populated, with emergency staircase, and activities attractor points in the existing city (New York). 11.4 Gradient maps of neighbourhood attractivity for various services and facilities. 11.5 Matrix-based typological configurations. 11.6 NeceCity NeceCity consists of socially and structurally flexible living concepts for displaced people in urban areas. It is set to provide them with the basic necessities, such as proper infrastructure, and energy and water acccess points, in the most efficient way possible. Following an optimised modular system of aggregation, the aim is to design a flexible and sustainable mega-structure that bridges the gap to the city while strengthening displaced people’s feeling of integration, sense of community, and identity. The design is computational and employs advanced technology 114
such as optimisation, algorithmic problems, integrated software applications, and an automated equipment system. Flexibility and adaptability being fundamental concepts in the design, customisable elements were employed, ranging from the neighbourhood level down to the basic component. NeceCity is a growing phenomenon made of very simple elements and basic rules which, when combined, yield a complex and sophisticated system of infrastructure. Other than shelter, NeceCity offers multiple levels of common space with a range of different functions, including commercial spaces, micro-agriculture, and leisure activities. Sustainability is also considered with the choice of material (wood), as well as with energy-producing solar panels, distribution through cores and a water purification system. 11.7 Natural light studies with genetic-algorithm based selection. 11.8 Transversal section and aerial view of the new district in Istanbul. 11.9 Detail view. 11.10 Various configurations of circulation systems and GA evolutions. 11.11 Housing Prime In recent years, housing has become hard to access due to high prices and increasing population numbers. As this problem grows, the housing crisis gains more and more attention. This project attempts to explore an efficient way to tackle this crisis by designing an application that will allow users to design their own house. The project is divided into two parts, including the application design and architecture design. In both parts, the research focuses on computational design methods, interactive application design, and self-generating architecture. At the architectural scale, the design process can be subdivided into four parts: site selection, house unit design, cluster design, and community design. For each part, the generation rules and logic are designed in order to produce the layout automatically. Firstly, in the site selection process, information on land and facilities is collected. This information is used to quantify the different facilities around each land area in order to identify potential sites. Secondly, once the site selection is made, the design begins with a bottom-up logic. The house unit design is generated by the input of basic information and specific demands of users. Thirdly, clusters are determined by collecting similar house units based on user demands – for example, a cluster may consist of units that share the same demand for kitchen sharing. Finally, the community consists of a group of clusters and public spaces, including gyms, supermarkets, gardens, and offices. Housing Prime designs a logic to shape the community naturally and gradually. The strategy could also be adapted to urban scale. The project generates links between different buildings to achieve urban resilience. 11.12 Connective Co-Living ‘Restructuring Urban Villages in Shenzhen using a Mass-Customisable Method’. The multiple towers and the grid-shifting principle are the basis of the project. 11.13–11.14 Housing Prime Screenviews of the fully developed Android app which is the logical and economical core of the project. 11.15 Diagram emphasising the conceptual shift in architecture from programmatic layering to post-internet stacking of (smartphone) applications. 11.16 Aerial view of one ‘final’ urban design configuration.
Luke Pearson, Sandra Youkhana
Why should architects and urbanists be looking at videogames? Much contemporary digital discourse in architecture focuses on computation in relation to innovations in computer science, data analytics and fabrication. By contrast, videogames use computers to bring together code, visual culture and narrative. Most importantly, they create virtual spaces that cannot be considered formally complete without the presence of a human being, the player. Games combine complex simulations with responsive systems and representational protocols taken from the history of architectural drawing, film and painting. Videogames put the computational in conversation with the spatial, symbolic and visual in a way no other medium does. All Research Cluster 12 projects result in fully functioning videogame applications. This year we explored the ‘machine zone’ of Las Vegas,1 a city predicated on symbolic architecture hosting electronic gaming. We drew from the seminal Learning from Las Vegas and the ways in which the city’s symbolic and referential architecture might connect to game worlds. Venturi and Scott Brown’s research demonstrated significant vision in predicting what would happen to our modern cities through digital technologies, calling Las Vegas ‘an architecture of communication over space’,2 which is also a reasonable description of the aesthetic experience in videogame environments. Las Vegas has been described as both a mirror and a model of America. This relationship can also be considered true of virtual videogame spaces. Games often attempt to mirror reality visually, while modelling its systems through coded rule structures. These models ‘deviate’ from reality in order to make the mirrored world playable. 3 Drawing from our research into these collective ‘ergonomic labyrinths’, the rest of the year was devoted to exploring games as forms of social and connected virtual urbanism. Our research pivoted into the design of networked multiplayer games at the same time as worldwide lockdowns demonstrated that virtual environments could provide connections in the absence of physical proximity. Working in this way poses both technical and philosophical challenges – worlds must be both connected and continuously synchronised for all users if the game environment is to be coherent. What does it mean to be unsynchronised, or without access to a stable connection? By asking students to design not only for players but for networks of people, our videogame urbanism emphasised the role that virtual worlds can have in augmenting our cities and societies by creating alternative realities online. Our research ultimately considers a future where the disciplinary boundaries are so fluid that our distinction between projects realised physically or virtually disappears. We do this because that future is already here, and we play it every day.
Students Lu Che, Mengzhen Chen, Weiwen Fan, Fan Fei, Yiming Guo, Yijia Huang, Aafreen Kizhakkeyveettil Abdul Rahiman, Wanxing Le, Hsin Li, Jin Liu, Menghan Lyu, Yuting Pu, Jianglin Qian, ChengYuan Shih, Yexin Xu, Zichun Yang, Guoli Zhong Theory Tutor Agostino Nickl Skills Tutors Petroula Gkanidou, Vassilis Papalexopoulos Critics Marie Foulston, Damjan Jovanovic, M. Casey Rehm, David Schwartz, Center for Gaming Research UNLV
1. Natasha Dow-Schüll, Addiction by Design (2012, Princeton: Princeton University Press) 2. Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Stephen Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas (1972, Cambridge MA & London: MIT Press) 3. Torben Grodal, ‘Stories for Eye, Ears, and Muscles: Video Games, Media, and Embodied Experiences’ in The Video Game Theory Reader, Eds. Mark J.P. Wolf & Bernard Perron (London: Routledge, 2003) 125
12.1–12.3 Yuting Pu, Zichun Yang ‘ODDworld’. ODDworld explores the endless possibilities of co-operative play within a networked multi-player environment. Building upon studies into the semiotic flexibility of objects in game worlds, the project presents an online sandbox for playing with the meaning and affordances of urban elements. Drawing from the work of Venturi and Scott Brown, the project questions the meaning of objects within game environments and how easily their architectural affordances can be changed. In a similar spirit, the game promotes a cute aesthetic as a vehicle for exploring games as new forms of pop cultural architecture. By synchronising semiotic connections across the network, players are able to move objects, change their properties or even inhabit their being. Players work together to achieve objectives set by the community, producing an ever-evolving set of weird and wonderful spatial consequences. ODDworld is a free space for imagination and creativity, seeing virtual spaces as the new form of social media. 12.4–12.5 Yijia Huang, Yexin Xu, Guoli Zhong ‘Museum of Folksonomy’. The project is a networked multiplayer game using procedurally generated virtual environments to allow players to ‘curate’ the world. The game combines research into ‘folksonomies’, user-generated datasets, with procedural generation techniques where the game world is created in real time through algorithms. The Museum of Folksonomy is composed of various gallery spaces and artworks from around the world grouped through metadata analysis. Players can see one another, and the objects they have gathered, but each player creates a unique set of procedural galleries generated around their own actions. They can collaborate or compete to collect artworks, bringing them together in a common central gallery which prototypes a new form of virtual museum that becomes as ubiquitous an app. 12.6 Mengzhen Chen, Jin Liu, Jianglin Qian ‘Virtual Escape’. Virtual Escape is a videogame that explores the carpets of Las Vegas as a sensorial landscape. These carpets use symbolic patterns but are also designed to keep players playing. Virtual Escape is a multi-layered world inspired by popular ‘rhythm games’, where the repeated and timely action of the player causes the world to grow up from the carpet and absorb them. These actions open pathways and allow access to new areas, driving the player forwards. Like a slot machine, the game suggests an escapist ‘machine zone’ drawn around the player through repeated and regular action. 12.7 Mengzhen Chen, Jin Liu, Jianglin Qian ‘Invisible Infrastructure’. Even as we have been working apart, confined to our homes, we remain connected by infrastructure – all the services that provide for our needs. Invisible Infrastructure is a networked online game that foregrounds these connections, asking us to look beyond the extents of domestic space to create a connected and collaborative world beyond. Each player uses common points of connection within the home as portals into an infrastructural zone where they can build and connect across the network. The game becomes a new form of infrastructure, a collaborative virtual world, housed on servers and computers, providing a connection point for users across the globe, humanising this resolutely ‘non-human’ architecture. 12.8–12.9 Yuting Pu ‘Escape Luxor’. Escape Luxor is a game that explores the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas by overlaying the true interior of its referential architecture, the pyramids of Giza. By ‘scanning’ invisible geometries the player reveals a second interior overlaid onto the casino. Using a toolkit of visual decals the player uncovers different pathways and chambers, transposing a new route through the casino that ties the building to its ancient architectural precedent. 126
12.10 Weiwen Fan, Wanxing Le, Menghan Lyu ‘Screen Space’. Screen Space allows players to subvert and explore the spatial consequences of our contemporary video conferencing technologies. In the game, networked players find connections between their backgrounds as a form of playful interaction. Players can pass objects from one screen to the other, causing their scale, orientation and function to change. By matching common elements across the screen space, the ‘real’ space of these implied worlds is shifted as their flat composition is adjusted. 12.11 Yiming Guo, Hsin Li, Yexin Xu ‘Style Wars’. Style Wars is a game about the ways in which Las Vegas casinos recreate, caricature and commodify vernacular and historic architecture from around the world. Players build and maintain a casino on the strip, changing its architectural style in response to the desires of visitors to the city. As various groups of international tourists arrive by plane, the player must respond to the tastes of these AI agents, by adding and removing different stylistic elements. The game suggests new and responsive approaches to architectural style, changing in real time. 12.12–13 Yiming Guo, Hsin Li ‘Hidden Cities’. Hidden Cities is a multiplayer game that explores the depiction of urban space between two and three dimensions. One player, operating in the plan/oblique view, can create and position blocks in relation to a series of generated ‘blueprints’ that serve as design guidelines. The second player can then rotate these in different ways to produce different geometric compositions that still conform to shape and colour-coding of the plan. Together, a city can be formed that looks rational and ordered from above but discordant and organic from below. 12.14–12.15 Lu Che, Fan Fei, Cheng-Yuan Shih ‘Hands Face Space’. Hands Face Space explores the spatial implications of social distancing on our urban environments in response to the global pandemic. Players cooperate in a networked multiplayer game environment to transform the city – setting guidelines and enacting changes at both large and small scales to mitigate the effects of a pandemic. The game builds upon prior research into AI agents, integrating a population of game citizens who respond to changes in social distancing guidelines, public health, social and economic factors. Hands Face Space suggests that governmental and social strategies at an urban scale can be tested by means of intelligent game simulations. 12.16–12.18 Aafreen Kizhakkeyveettil Abdul Rahiman ‘Procedural Liveability’. This game explores the publicly touted ‘liveability’ metrics that come to define the ‘success’ of cities in the public eye. Operating a ‘liveability drone’, the player scans urban forms and learns what drives these metrics, by navigating across a series of global cities. Each of these cities are procedurally generated through an algorithm, allowing the player to learn the criteria and forms as archetypes that can then be applied back onto the player’s home city. As players make decisions in relation to these liveability metrics, they also cause social, political and cultural changes within the city, asking whether we are chasing a model of a ‘liveable’ city that privileges certain cultures, climates and communities. 12.19–12.24 Research Cluster 12 ‘CODE BOOKS’. A repository of information and concepts relating to game systems built by students across the year. Each team is required to outline the ways in which their game mechanisms, computational logic and user interface contributes to the messages elicited by players as they experience their games. These code books represent the underpinnings of our games that players cannot see but that are intrinsic to the design of our virtual worlds and the means by which they are understood.
Machine Learning Urbanism: Cities Beyond Cognition
Roberto Bottazzi, Tasos Varoudis Research Cluster 14 explores the role of algorithms in mining, analysing, visualising, and designing with very large datasets to conceive innovative urban environments. Such research no longer relies solely on sensing and gathering technologies, but also uses learning algorithms to categorise data and extract patterns in an unsupervised manner (machine learning). These techniques allow students to expand the remits of design and consider factors whose scale, timeframe and connections fall outside the purview of our perceptual abilities and design methods. From climate change to rapid urbanisation, the speed and scale of these transformations call for a conceptual approach and design methods able to both capitalise on technological development and conjure up new designs. The consequences of these observations can be profound for urban design: received notions of type, programme, site, representation and inhabitation are re-assessed to give rise to more complex, fluid, open, incomplete and embracing urban proposals. The research carried out in in the cluster expands the conversation on automated algorithmic procedures to foreground what is at stake in their application to design, what kind of spatiality they could engender, and what relations between society, space, and computational technologies one could imagine. Design is here mainly understood as a problem of distribution; the task of the designer could be said to be that of organising and managing a series of objects, bodies, and data within a physical territory, moving between the mathematics of data and the space of the city. Defined as such, the design process established a common platform with statistical methods through which to transfer techniques and share theoretical preoccupations. This year, we continued our line of research into public spaces – all located in London – to speculate how built environment, data, and learning algorithms can shape public experience. Four projects looked at different aspects of the public space of London: In|Between explored time-distributed data and employed a recurrent neural algorithm to engage the river Thames into an innovative curatorial strategy for London’s complex cultural life. Urban fragmentation caused by large infrastructural systems was studied by Re-Surge through data-driven computational analysis to redesign the public space in King’s Cross area. IGG: Intelligent InterGrowth took advantage of the increasing presence of automation in cities to explore new concepts of co-existence between humans and machines into a hybrid building, merging strong logistics with civic functions next to Tilbury dock. Finally, City De-Generate worked with data to provide new public spaces for Hackney Wick around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Student Teams In|Between Chia Hsun Chiang, Krishan Sharma, Eirini Tsouknida, Xinzhuo Zhao Re-Surge Abdimajid Hassan Aden, Yubin Liao, Mohammed Saifiz Puthiyaveettil Abdul Hameed, Keyu Su, Nanxi Zhou IGG: Intelligent InterGrowth Jie Chen, Huiyu Fan, Xueqing Wang, Jialu Yu City De-Generate Hongshuo Dai, Yifei Song, Jingzhe Xu, Ning Zhao Theory Tutor Annarita Papeschi Skills Tutors Anna Kampani, Petros Koutsolampros, Vassilis Papalexopoulos Critics Silvio Carta, Darryl Chen, Klaas De Rycke, Zachary Flucker, Ken Hogg, Andreas Kofler, David Kong, Frédéric Migayrou, Philippe Morel, Filippo Nassetti, Claudia Pasquero, Ben Pollock, Andrew Porter
14.1 Re-Surge ‘Urban Fragmentation Around the UK’. While connecting cities, regions, and even continents, large infrastructural systems such as railway lines and highways can divide neighbourhoods. This is one of the great paradoxes of contemporary cities around the globe: connection at a large-scale creates fragmentation at a community level. 14.2–14.9 In|Between 14.2 ‘Design Strategy: Analytical Process’. The project explores how the interplay between Big Data, humans and machines creates a curatorial strategy for London’s cultural life, to prevent social segregation and expand spatial connection. The four maps illustrate the core steps of the design strategy: the exploration of the function growth as well as the time-distributed data analysis. 14.3 ‘Rewriting Steps’. Based on form-finding research using data, the image represents concept drawings for a shape altered by the results of a sound simulation in the area studied. The first three steps consist of all the sound propagation traces, simulated on every route, drawn around a circle, whereas the last ones show data on sound replaced with geolocated Google photos of routes and their colour analysis. 14.4 ‘Masterplan Generator’. The spatial organisation of the various programmes is curated by neural networks which mimic the human mind to identify time-related spatial patterns of the function growth voxels for the 52 weeks of a year. The algorithm is trained to observe past behaviours and give spatial insights by providing ideas on how the main masterplan adjusts through time. 14.5 ‘AI-Driven Form Exploration’. A new path is created between the segregated parts of the city. The purpose is to stretch the threshold between private and public, indoor and outdoor, and to establish a gradient of experience. The qualitative aspects of the datasets employed are transferred to 3D occupancy voxels, in which each voxel adopts the spatial characteristics of the contained datasets. 14.6 ‘Final Design Phase’. The new cultural landscape is the set of innovative, complex and dynamic processes of London’s life. In the final design phase, voxels with no data variation are turned to walking paths that promote physical circulation and movement in the city, whereas floating structures on the Thames move between different events based on time-based analysis of cultural data. Medium data variation voxels provide their spatial characteristics to adjustable landscape configurations whereas high data variation voxels are linked to kinetic structures which change transform their shape in time to adjust their capacity and organisation. 14.7 ‘Instagram Analysis’. Instagram data analysis is a core part of the final steps. It focuses on qualitative data and is divided into three parts. Firstly, words are converted to vectors on a text-based neural analysis. The aim is to find repetitive patterns on Instagram comments to understand the way people express their interest in cultural activities. Secondly, a neural algorithm is trained to provide the distinctions between day and night in photos. Finally, a distributed colour analysis on Instagram photos is run to extract the main colour preferences. Data, projected back to the map, reveal the time-based variations of colour of the environment. 14.8–14.9 ‘Final Design Renderings’. The new cultural landscape of London is set on river Thames. At each time interval, the intelligent kinetic structures can adjust their lighting according to real-time Instagram qualitative data and become part of the landscape, provoking users’ senses to follow the events. 14.10–14.12 City De-Generate 14.10–14.11 ‘Data Analytics’. Through the gradual progress of morphological combination, and paired with cultural background appeals, the research aims to analyse how to iterate the potential spatial form through 138
self-organisation, to achieve a high degree of unity and self-sufficiency derived from the rules of selforganisation. 14.12 ‘Final Renderings’. This project employs data analytics to provide new public spaces for the artist area around Hackney Wick. By using big data research methods to intervene at an urban scale, starting with rationality and fairness, the project seeks to find the deeper meaning behind the data attributes of the city. 14.13–14.16 Re-Surge 14.13 ‘Fragment Extraction’. The map illustrates the various nodes of fragmentation created by the rail and road network across the UK. Based on the outcome of this analysis, 108 similar fragments were identified. 14.14 ‘Re-Writings’. This design exercise explores as a process of constant data-folding, aiming for a different perspective on form finding. In this methods, four different datasets are introduced: health status, building height, building density and air pollution. The resulting 24 formal variations exhibit different behaviours on the order of application of the datasets. 14.15.–14.16 ‘Final Design Renderings’. The design forms an amalgamation of the landscape and urban elements generated through data analytics. The final design aims primarily to overcome the problems caused by urban fragmentation around the King’s Cross area of London. 14.17–14.21 IGG: Intelligent Intergrowth 14.17 ‘Space Syntax: Integration’. Located next to the Tilbury dock and Amazon warehouses, IIG integrates urban life and logistics into a hybrid building that merges infrastructural and civic functions. Despite the semi-developed road network around the site, the integration analysis revealed that accessibility of the area is still very high and acts as the main way for goods exchange between London and Tilbury. 14.18 ‘Twitter Data Capture’. According to the number of retweets and favourite Twitter articles, the map visualises the social activity in the area foregrounding social interactions. User positions are visualised according to their coordinates, and a strong social network is formed. By rearranging the positions of the users, different degrees of connectivity are obtained. 14.19 ‘Path-Finding Simulation’. In order to reflect the commuting and pedestrian pattern in the large-scale venue, a path-finding simulation was employed. The maps visualise the areas of the simulation as well as the new connections and the heatmap depicts the levels of social activity on the paths. 14.20–14.21 ‘Final Design Renderings’. The final proposal for a transit-oriented development changes its function, usage and porosity according to different needs and data feeds. The design was achieved using data-driven computational design, with the help of machines, data modelling and analysis, and automation was completed.
Urban Morphogenesis Lab
Filippo Nassetti, Claudia Pasquero
Contemporary design is plural, collective, and mutant. In times of global climate change, we are told no ecosystem is unaffected by human actions, but what kind of change are we referring to? Transformation and adaptation are inherent qualities of the planet we inhabit. Our current stage of technological evolution is presenting scenarios where the traditional dichotomy of the natural versus artificial becomes obsolete. If we look at large growing cities from a satellite, we realise that it is becoming increasingly difficult to define what is natural and what is artificial. From this perspective, global cities – despite being large artificial systems often depicted as the antithesis of nature – develop patterns of growth (or shrinkage) that recall natural formations of a radically different kind. Cities appear as complex synthetic organisms. This year, Research Cluster 16 explored how biotechnology and artificially intelligent design are enabling a new vision of urbanity in which fungi, bacteria, spiders, swarm machines, and other forms of intelligence become ‘bio-citizens’, contributing to a new urban morphogenesis. Projects include Biocoenosis Nest, a city woven by collective intelligences. The project explores a scenario where in 200 years due to climate change East London will be flooded, creating marshlands conditions at the edges. Methodologically, the project combined the intelligence of slime mould with CycleGAN algorithms to propose a programmatic hybrid where human and non-human inhabitation are materially combined. The marshland city, through its fibrous structures, establishes a dynamic coexistence of multiple species in a non-invasive integrated community. Bryopolis is a speculative post-natural project proposing three discrete design elements: Bryopolis as post-natural city, Photosynthetic Voxels as bio-intelligent apparatus and Bryostructura as the infrastructure and built form in urban, prototypical and architectural scale respectively. This proposal outperforms the conventional planning and policies to create an urban landscape via transdisciplinary research in biology, technology, architecture, and urban design. This is achieved by using computational tools and machine learning algorithms, and analysing abundant data along with cutting edge biotechnologies to create a space that is novel yet tangible in multiple scales. City in Blooms is an urban design scenario for the microalgae-based photosynthetic architecture. Inspired by the work of the PhotoSynthEtica consortium, it recognises how urban pollutants can be a nutrient for microalgae. Departing from this observation, the project proposes a synthetic landscape made of micro-algae, bioplastic, and bamboo. In each unit, algae bloom is designed into the built environment and becomes integral part of the city growth. The project proposes a shift from a human-oriented city to nonhuman and microalgae-oriented urbanism.
Student Teams Bryopolis Catherine Anand, A K M Saleh Ahmed Anik, Praveen Govindarajan Biocoenosis Nest Oscar Adrian Villarreal Viera City in Blooms Xiao Wang, Zhongxiao Wu, Manyun Zhang Theory Tutor Emmanouil Zaroukas Skills Tutors Michael Brewester, Filippo Nassetti Partners EcoLogicStudio, The Synthetic Landscape Lab at Innsbruck University Critics Alisa Andrasek, Rachel Armstrong, Roberto Bottazzi, Marcos Cruz, Tim Ireland, Philippe Morel, Frédéric Migaryrou, Ingrid Paoletti, Marco Poletto, Andrew Porter, Melissa Sterry, Liss Werner
16.1 Bryopolis A post-natural city interpreted using machine learning, combines the existing satellite image of East London with the bio computation of moss. This new urban morphology projected for East London 2070 begins with the research into various sources and increasing rates of pollution. 16.2 Oscar Adrian Villarreal Viera ‘Biocoenosis Nest’. Using a slime mould nutrient distribution network that connects the flood’s marshlands to the inner part of the city, an eroded terrain is generated to define the post-natural landscape. The terrain is explored with a generative adversarial network trained with approximately 40,000 images. The slime mould’s eroded terrain is reimagined with marshland properties and human infrastructure to create a new type of interaction where, by providing the non-humans with the necessary resources to be self-sustaining, the city becomes a non-invasive coexisting environment. 16.3–16.5 Bryopolis 16.3 In the next 50 years the climate of London will change to hot summers with loss in biodiversity and urban encroachment, but a few plants such as moss may thrive. This urban insert functions as a breather made using the collective intelligence of humans, non-humans and AI. These novel spaces become a major community area, a respite from the clogged urban neighbourhood. 16.4 Moss inhibits its growth when exposed to direct sunlight and the arrangement of prototypes is generated through solar exposure in hours over seasons. These layers of vertical stacks combine to form a morphology called ‘bryostructura’. The smaller voxels allow the free growth of moss to accommodate non-human species such as ants, beetles and moths, while the larger voxels are for restricted growth and control of the human environment. 16.5 The urban morphology developed by bryostructuras, along with the landscape in a neighbourhood, creates an ecosystem that facilitates cohabitation for all earthly species. This morphology enables a post-natural co-existing scenario for different kinds of intelligence. The distinction between artificial and natural becomes ambiguous. 16.6–16.8 Oscar Adrian Villarreal Viera ‘Biocoenosis Nest’ 16.6 The marshland creates a relationship between water and soil, passing nutrients from one to another, generating an environment that hosts a great variety of entities. This typology allows the interaction of different species within the same space while they benefit from each other, creating a balanced coexistence. In order to reimagine this environment, the Marshland City’s post-natural formation was extruded using different codes and algorithms to create a volumetric landscape. These volumes were used as a grid for a fibrous system that allowed for permeability for biodiversity development between water and soil. 16.7 A bird’s nest is another habitat where different species interact in the same space with controlled boundaries and a balanced coexistence. Having explored the urban scale through the marshland city, each volume at the edge of the water takes the parameters used for a bird’s nest layout to develop elevated synthetic nests. Based on a diagrammatic analysis of the human activities and non-human necessities, the fibrous system was developed within the extruded volumetric grid. The fibres are able to host and grow biodiversity’s habitat and the solid volumes provide programmes for the humans. 16.8 In order to define the materiality of the structures, two components from the marshlands, algae and bacteria, were extracted and combined with cement. Algae-cement fibrous stilts were used for the non-human programmes, and bio-cement (bacteria and cement) was used for the human programme. These materials were applied to the fibres to achieve the fibrous synthetic 150
nests, based on the volumetric extrusion of the marshland city, but composed by the programmatic definition within the fibres. 16.9–16.11 City in Blooms 16.9 This ecological green wall consists of multiple cells which act as both microalgae, cultivating photobioreactors, and membrane architectural facade units. Each unit is fabricated using high-resolution welding lines in a specific sequence and inflated with microalgae culture medium, taking on a three-dimensional shape and manifesting novel anaesthetics. The pattern of prototypes is designed according to the solar radiation data, which distributes microalgae equitably to promote their photosynthesis and cool down the interior space. 16.10 Predicated on the material experiments and tests, a membrane is selected to materialise the microalgae photobioreactor with polyacrylamide as the culture substrates. The material prototype captures light and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and changes with transparency and colours, which integrates human activity as part of its dynamic system. It sets up and realises the interface between people and microalgae in reality, laying the foundation of a synthetic landscape for both humans and non-humans. 16.11 Supported by a highly flexible and ecological bamboo scaffolding structure, mixed-sized microalgae bio-pixels are substantiated and quantified in the material prototype. It forms a post-natural built environment where there is no apparent boundary between landscape and building, between artificial and natural. An algae bloom is designed in this way to gradually convert the urban space into the City in Blooms. Within such a city, microalgae digest waste and contamination, completing the urban metabolism (Pasquero and Poletto, 2020). As they react to the exterior environment, the city remains uncertain and dynamic, and comes alive. 16.12 Bryopolis. A visualisation of the distribution pattern of moss voxels in the form of moss growth algorithm in East London considers pollutants as sources of growth, to generate ‘eroded morphology’. The urbanscape produced represents the density of distribution in proportion to the pollution rate.
Bridging Across Mass Customisation
Zachary Fluker, Enriqueta Llabres-Valls
There was a breaking point in the history of human settlements when civilizations overcame the natural forces that kept the overall population growth equal to zero. Since then, human population has continuously increased the over-exhaustion of environmental systems and this in turn has further intensified our reliance on technology as an environmental substitute. This dependence on technology is clear in contemporary urban design despite the challenges we face within the discipline having a ‘non-technical solution problem’. Wiesner and York introduced this concept in the mid 1960s, advancing the academic and intellectual debate into what became the first concepts for environmental regulations and agencies such as the EPA in 1970. A technical solution problem, according to the authors, requires the application of techniques developed in the field of natural sciences and bypasses human values or ideas of morality. Urban Design sits at the crux of this paradox: despite technology being essential, its design is a non-technical solution problem. The value component of the urban project has its grounds in Hardin’s (1968) seminal article ‘The Tragedy of Commons’, where he described how individual decisionmaking constantly faces the choice between benefiting itself from over-exhausting the common pool of resources or sacrificing its individual interests for the future of the commons. This essential concept explains why long-term acute environmental threats such as CO2 emissions and global warming persist across the globe. Research Cluster 18 explores how to engage citizens in the collective project of urbanising technologies. It looks at how design must include capabilities for interaction and communication between living and non-living entities. We look at historical precedents from authors such as Nicholas Negroponte, Christopher Alexander and Cedric Price, who reformatted design as an information problem rather than a purely formal representative practice. Their work challenged the discipline, introducing new concepts and speculated on how humans and computers would interact. New concepts emerged from this period such as ‘symbiosis’, coined by Nicholas Negroponte. Symbiosis refers to the association between two different organisms contributing to each other’s support. In contrast to previous design thinking, humans do not control the computer, but the computer talks back, produces unforeseen results, and begins to interact with the designer, empowering the designer to engage with forms of intelligence alien to human intelligence. We consider urban design a relational problem. The construction of the value of the space in a specific time is relational, open-ended and inclusive. In this sense computational intelligence enables a wider democratic process by decoding the voiceless, that is, all the living and non-living intelligences inhabiting the planet.
Student Teams E-Motion Fei Chen, Haojun Cui, Mochen Jiang, Yuankai Wang From Generator to Selector Yijiao Lu, Qingxuan Niu, Tianchun Wang, Boying Xie Glitch.Arch Yu Luo, Yan Lyu, Xiaoxin Yang, Hui Zhao The Infinity City Zhiyi Luo, Ziqi Ma, Xiaohan Xu Theory Tutor Ilaria Di Carlo Skills Tutors Dimitra Bra, Martyn Carter, Huang Sheng-Yang Critics Roberto Botazzi, Katya Larina, Frédéric Migayrou, Andrew Porter, Eduardo Rico, Milad Showkatbakhsh, Aiman Tabony
18.1 Glitch.Arch This project explores how artificial intelligence can redefine new spatial paradigms and bring contradiction and complexity back into the city. From figure ground to facade materiality, the project utilises machine learning processes to hybridise cultural centres with recycling plants. 18.2 From Generator to Selector Taking inspiration from Cedric Price’s seminal ‘Generator’ project, Selector extracts data from social media and utilises it to inform design decisions. An algorithm generates semantic mappings of the surrounding context and allows individuals to participate in assembling a system of urban food and waste production. 18.3 E-Motion Redefining London’s ecology of intelligence through a public interface. The project takes a non-human approach to our expanding cities and incorporates the needs and desires of animals and plants into the development of urban centres. Design is driven by the redistribution and simulation of mobility habits of both animals and humans, to enhance ecological corridors while advancing London’s productive and adaptive mobility for low-carbon travel. 18.4–18.5 From Generator to Selector 18.4 Clustering of different functions and programmes based on graph networks linked to semantic data. Clusters’ scales, proximity, and positions within the groups are driven by environmental data, with an intent to produce optimum yields of both energy and food. 18.5 The overall layout of clusters is related to circulation and input data. The structural system of timber monocoque units is designed to form reprogrammable configurations to meet the needs of users. Assemblages combine the three main functions of waste-to-energy conversion, food production and harvest areas, and flexible activity space. 18.6–18.7 E-Motion 18.6 From data distribution to material design, the narrative and authenticity of resurfacing material changes with the influence of metadata. Data is mined and encoded to produce highly precise information of all actors influence on specific urban areas. 18.7 After data is collected and located it is then filtered. Filtering the data points shows different possibilities for future design interventions. The weight in the interface represents equity, whether you listen to the other types of intelligence or not. Such a method might provide us with a fair suggestion for all agents among the many possibilities under certain scenarios. This is a more humanistic and enlightened attitude towards making voices heard in the development process. 18.8–18.9 The Infinity City 18.8 A new network within London’s infrastructural system that contains, processes, and reuses the cities plastic material. A new landscape is formed that grows and augments within environmental constraints and the circular economy of plastic. 18.9 The masterplan is a multi-layered system that generates new recycled plastic material for the city. Plastic as a finite resource that remains within the area where it is collected creates a new dialogue between our overconsumption and material needs. 18.10–18.14 Glitch.Arch 18.10 The masterplan is set within East London’s complex overlapping infrastructure. Accessibility and mobility networks divide the site into individual pieces, which are then organised using a machine learning algorithm that has been trained on datasets of existing cultural and recycling centres. The end result is a spatial datascape that combines two contrasting functions at an urban scale. 18.11 Test results from a generative adversarial network (GAN) trained on data relating to the programme and functions of the contrasting architectural typologies. An algorithm is used here to explore how building data can be blended together and inform design decisions. 158
18.12 Design through datasets is central to Glitch.Arch’s approach to design and complexity within architecture. The database here is a collection of Brutalist facades that have been encoded for a machine learning algorithm to learn certain attributes in both vertical and horizontal axes. 18.13 The elevation of the combined recycling and cultural centre is a result of blending data from contrasting architectural programmes and facades. The result is a complex combination of material organised through a GAN. The blocks in the facade are made of various recyclable materials, which contribute to the complexities. 18.14 The building is surrounded by recyclable material and tipping areas. The solids combine with interweaving data to create a spatial datascape. This interweaving expresses how the project relies on and blurs the boundaries between physical and virtual worlds. 18.15–18.17 From Generator to Selector 18.15 The project utilises a timber monocoque structure to provide flexibility in reprogramming clusters on different sites. The self-supporting constructs are wrapped in a variety of materials from ETFE to stainless steel. 18.16 Organised through semantic data from social media, the massings are a result of different graph network relationships. Individuals’ preferences for functions and circulations are transferred into space. By using neural network algorithms, the team balanced the needs of architectural rationality with incoming data. 18.17 By using social media as back-end data and front-end format, the project allows people to fully participate in all aspects of the architecture. Selector brings individuals closer to how and where there food is produced, seeking to rebuild our relationship with the process and lifecycle of food.
Urban Design Thesis Module Coordinator: Emmanouil Zaroukas
The Urban Design thesis enables students to create set of concepts, ideas and arguments that will enhance their design exploration within the design studio. In order to do this, students move beyond the disciplinary boundaries of urban theories venturing to computation, logic, biology, ecology, artificial intelligence, videogaming theories and practices, online platforms, economic theories and politics, aiming to invent the basis of their theoretical argument that affects and is affected by their work in the design studio. The thesis is a critical and focused inquiry into a specific research area that invents new directions towards which the design studio can be augmented. The autonomy of the thesis allows a genuine investigation into other disciplines and complements the design research without being subsumed by it. Students are required to study, work and produce in a diverse intellectual context created by the overall richness of the programmeâ€™s research cluster structure. Students are consulted and supervised individually by History & Theory tutors. The product of the research is a written study with a structured critical argument based on a valid research hypothesis. The thesis provides students with the capacity to design by other means and to produce innovative theoretical orientations that can influence the course of their design work.
Encoding Cognition: Towards a Posthuman Ontology of the Data-Dense Space Eirini Tsouknida Thesis Tutor: Annarita Papeschi Big Data is most powerful at the point at which it begins to produce information connected to human experience. Today, physical space holds an increased density of data, as every point contains various information, which is being delivered to it from everyday interactions between people and their environments. Vast flows of data are transferred between the space and the public, creating architectural extensions of the urban realm â€“ an interplay that is otherwise invisible. Space is transformed into an intelligent notion that autonomously interacts with and responds to human cognition, the urban environment and other physical or perceptual parameters of this posthuman ecology. Consequently, the invisible, non-physical spectrum where all data exists becomes the ultimate architectural element of the posthuman era, constantly feeding the aggregated and distributed cognitive input. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the integration of the notion of the posthuman into a design ontology that enables the computation of a more-than-human design â€“ an approach that extends further than the optimisation of space to create qualities from within, by exploring how the spatial dynamics interact with the new posthuman entities â€“ in a data-dense environment. This attempt to promote a empathic correlation between
computational thinking and spatial cognition urges us to consider design as a medium to redefine the boundaries between humans and machines in urban space. From this perspective, the thesis argues that higher cognition could be achieved by employing Big Data as our digital traces of the interaction with the posthuman ecology. Cognitive systems form and transform the space we occupy, as humans and space are parts of a unified system). The resulting enhanced space further shapes us back, which results again in new cognitive abilities, in an infinite circle. Finally, the studio project is engaged, as the most concrete practice from which to draw hypotheses, apply our assumptions and critically evaluate the results.
Image: Neural Networks. Image by the author 169
Controlled Randomness: Procedurality in Videogames and Beyond Aafreen Kizhakkeyveettil Abdul Rahiman Thesis Tutor: Agostino Nickl As procedural systems, videogames create abstract representations of precise units of human experience.1 The modern experience of chance encounter is encapsulated in the game The Sims: Hot Date through a combination of procedural actions and need contribution curves. These procedural chance encounters, or ‘engineered serendipity’, are meant to evoke curiosity in the players and keep them engaged in the game. When investigating procedurally generating experiences in games which are drawn from real-world events, it is interesting to look into the shared procedurality and randomness between the technical systems and real-world events. The random events happening in the world add unexpectedness and uncertainty to our everyday lives. But nothing is considered random for a cosmic believer who believes that the world events are divinely orchestrated. In that sense, world events might seem to be random when they are not, making them instead ‘pseudorandom’ events. Reinforced by the butterfly effect in chaos theory, the fact that a small event could influence multiple events and have a much bigger impact on the planet proves the interconnectedness and relations between the units. For instance, if we consider the current global issues of climate change and global warming, there is no doubt that they are the result of the various collective 170
unit operations at a micro-scale. In this sense, these world events could be considered procedural. Some events could be prevented if some actions between the units did not occur. The problem is that these unit operations have a negative impact on the unifying paradigm: nature. Nature does not have the ability to adjust and adapt to these unit operations running beyond its capacity. The ability to adapt to the constantly changing parameters by adjusting the outputs accordingly makes procedural generation a necessary tool for today’s ever-changing world. We should recognise procedural rhetoric as a new way to interrogate our world, to comment on it, to disrupt and challenge it.2 That said, what we don’t want is a rigid rule-based approach undertaken by the proceduralists to be applied to the world which might result in a conditioned ‘instrumental life’. What we do want is an approach embracing the dynamic nature of procedurality, resulting from a balance between rules and freedom of expression. Both the creators and the inhabitants need to collaborate in order to co-create this dynamic world, that will be resilient and adaptable to the random events, one that will withstand the test of time.
1. Bogost, I., (2007) Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Cambridge MT & London; MIT Press 2. Ibid. Image: Procedurality and controlled pseudorandomness techniques allow for more exciting, dynamic and unique designs. Image by the author
Inhuman Abduction and Speculative Urban Design Xiao Wang Thesis Tutor: Emmanouil Zaroukas Under the prevalent problem-solving paradigms, research and practice enter into a vicious circle of solving problems while creating new ones. Epistemologists have been reflecting on the root cause, which is the positioning of the human and its limitations. As a result, they call for the decentralisation of humans, to step out of the anthropocentric predicament. During the revision of humanity, inhuman(ism) rises as a new ideological trend to challenge human limitations. It encourages us to think about – rather than experience – what is unknown and cannot be known about a world without humans. Speculation offers a method of reaching that inhuman world. Behind speculation, a new pattern of reasoning, abduction, is suggested as a method of creating new knowledge. Dominated by abductive reasoning, speculative design emerges as a probe to explore the contours of possibility. Remedying the fatal defects of the deductive and the inductive design, which can create ‘changeless change’, speculative design redefines the desired value of design, explores the application of technology, and creates meaningful innovations. Inspired by artificial intelligence and materialised by biological materials, speculative urban design can focus on non-human entities. Dissolving the traditional binary opposition between
artificial and natural, the synthetic landscape acquires dynamics, comes alive, and becomes a testbed in the postnatural era. Based on research into inhuman(ism), abductive reasoning, and speculative design, together with the design practice, this thesis discusses how the shift from anthropocentrism to inhumanism, and the respective shift of reasoning model, from deduction and induction to abduction, could create meaningful innovations, introduce new styles and aesthetics, and leap beyond human limitations in architectural and urban design.
Image: The synthetic landscape suggests a nonanthropocentric future. Image by the author 171
The B-Pro Show 2019
Architectural Computation MSc/MRes
Architectural Computation MSc/MRes Programme Director: Manuel Jiménez Garcia
The Bartlett’s Architectural Computation MSc and MRes degrees engage and advance the main technologies by which tomorrow’s architecture will be designed and constructed. The programmes are designed to provide students with the depth of understanding needed to exploit computation fully in the context of design, research and industry. Students investigate computation as a technology driving fundamental shifts in industry and society, and – more radically – one that can change the way we produce and think. They develop technical knowledge, such as computer coding, not only as a skill, but also as a framework for thought. This technical knowledge is supported by a broad theoretical understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and related domains. Theory modules position the use of computation in the design process, ranging from analysis of space and structure, to using AI techniques to learn about design performance, and ultimately the role of computation in creativity. Practice modules allow students to develop their personal interests within a range of themes, including technologies of interaction, cybernetics, physics simulations, AI, automation and robotic manufacturing. A stream of skills-based modules teaches research skills and programming, guiding students through the multiple possibilities that computation offers. This year, students engaged with a wide range of digital media and tools to develop their projects through studio modules, workshops and lectures. The modules and thesis produced research projects that ranged from the generation of architectural forms using artificial intelligence, data visualisation applications to analyse the evolution of Covid-19, interactive wearables to control the exposure to the environment, space navigation tools through the use of space syntax, structure optimisation through computational patterns, to structurally aware assemblies of modular robots. Students also partitipated in several workshops in physical computing and automation. 174
Students Pablo Arregui Alonso, Anna Assama Pelaez, Giuseppe Bono, Eleni Chasioti, Hector Crean, Shuyao Dai, Andrés Deleyto Rico, Alexandra Dima, Omar Elnagar, Jakob Engstrom, Tryfon Foteinopoulos, Sahar Gohari Moghadam, Zixin Guo, Zihan Huang, Anthony Millar, Konstantinos Pagkalos, Danai Vasiliki Parissi, Ottavia Rispoli, Philip Singer, Sofia Teixeira de Vasconcelos Feist, Julian Venczel, Mengda Wang, Yingzhi Xu, Dufan Zhang, Rida Qureshi Teaching Staff Kinda Al-Sayed, Shajay Bhooshan, Vishu Bhooshan, Tomasso Casucci, Khaled ElAshry, Ava Fatah gen. Schieck, Sam Griffiths, Sean Hanna, Marcin Kosicki, Vasileios Papalexopoulos, Stamatios Psarras, Vicente Soler, Vlad Tenu, Martha Tsigkari
AC.1 X.X 175
AC.1–AC.2 Sahar Gohari Moghadam ‘Application of the Physarum Model in the Design of Structural Patterns’. Physarum polycephalum is an organism that can find the shortest path to food. Stress lines in funicular shell structures are the Steiner graph of the path and a structural pattern can be created based on this. In the end, patterns are tested for stress amount. This method may become an alternative for topology optimisation. AC.3–AC.4 Sofia Teixeira de Vasconcelos Feist ‘Structurally Driven Self-Reconfiguration: Towards Structurally Aware Assemblies of Modular Robots’. This thesis proposes a structurally-driven control strategy for a self-reconfigurable robotic system. It is based on the structural analysis and performance of not only the final target configuration of a robotic assembly but also of the intermediate transitional configurations achieved during self-reconfiguration. To formulate a structurally feasible target shape, topology optimisation is used to evolve the target shape based specific boundary and loading conditions and to maximise structural stiffness. AC.5–AC.6 Yang Li ‘Computer-Aided Architectural Plan Generation: 2D Mesh-Segmentation, Search Optimisation, and Clustering for Generating Plans’. This thesis interrogates a computer-aided architectural plan generation using a parallel graph-search algorithm in combination with an evolutionary optimisation algorithm. The research tests architectural plan generations in residential design, particularly the typology of the residential tower. AC.7 Konstantinos Pagkalos ‘Wind-Induced Forms: A study of Bending Active Tensile Hybrid Systems Under Vortical flows’. This research explores the extent to which simulation and evaluation is a contributing parameter to formulating structures, how implementing turbulence can affect them and how it can produce factors that drive their morphology. To achieve this a custom-written fast fluid dynamics solver is implemented along with bending active tensile structures. AC.8 Eleni Chasioti ‘Gameplay with Encoded Architectural Tilesets: A Computational Framework for Building Massing Design, Using the Wave Function Collapse Algorithm’. This dissertation implements the wave function collapse in three dimensions, using mesh geometries and voxels. It explores the implementation of the algorithm in the domain of early-stage architectural design and adapts the algorithmic decisionmaking to better facilitate architectural design goals. AC.9–AC.11 Philip Singer ‘Integration of Active Bending in Freeform Developable Structures’. This project investigates the potential of structural systems which combine the fabrication properties of developability with the structural prospects of 3D graphic statics. The use of active bending as a structural property aims to compensate additional loads and structural stability. AC.12 Alexandra Dima ‘Estimation of Approximate Shapes: A Deep Learning Exploration for Shape Design’. This research explores the use of two deep learning techniques, known as UNet and GAN, to approximate object ranges that share similar characteristics. These artificial neural networks were tested to predict twodimensional material distribution and compare the results in terms of time and quality. AC.13–AC.14 Anthony Millar ‘Path-Based Sampling of Latent Spaces: Applications in Architectural Tower Design’. This thesis explores the potential of latent space navigation as a tool in the process of design. A specific application is proposed that generates novel tower block designs by plotting paths through a latent space of floor plans. A DeepSDF architecture is trained to learn the signed distance functions of tower block footprints. AC.15 Julian Venczel ‘Mimicking Aerodynamic Erosion using Computational Fluid Dynamics’. This thesis 176
concerns the use of computational fluid dynamics in order to simulate wind in an urban environment. The vectors generated by the simulation of this wind flow are used to erode linear mesh towers in a manner as similar to the erosion of natural formations via wind flows as possible. AC.16–AC.17 Mengda Wang ‘Exploring the Role of Spatial Configuration and Human Behaviour on the Spread of the Epidemic: A Study of Factors that Affect Covid-19 Spreading in the City of Wuhan’. This research explores how public space, defined through the configuration of the city, and human behaviour, affect the spread of Covid-19. In order to understand the spreading mechanism of Covid-19 and the ways in which residents’ movement influences the epidemic, this study attempts to reproduce the process of virus spread in city areas through computer simulation. AC.18 Danai Vasiliki Parissi ‘An Introduction of Memory of Previous Experience as a Parameter for Exploratory Agent Navigation’. This research evaluates whether the popular methodology of reinforcement learning can adequately model the memory parameter in an exploratory agent model. It explores methods by which a reinforcement learning model for navigation can learn to apply different strategies of exploration based on introduced bias in the training data. AC.19 Pablo Arregui Alonso ‘Art Exhibits’ Effect in Natural Movement’. This project analyses the line of sight model of Turner and Penn, which proved a very high correlation with real human movement in 2002. It investigates whether a higher correlation can be achieved when taking into consideration people’s interaction with objects, as well as looking at which spaces produce the biggest behavioural differences. AC.20 Rida Qureshi ‘The Spatial Signature of the London Riots’. This paper proposes to define a socio-spatial identity profile for potential hotspots of crime during periods of civil disobedience in London, UK. Focusing specifically on characteristics of street configurations within a five-minute walking distance from incidents of riot. Multiple methodologies are employed to investigate socio-economic and spatial features which may potentially encourage or discourage instances of illegality within the observed zones. AC.21–AC.22 Andres Deleyto Rico ‘A Combinatorial Approach to the Spatial Configuration Problem’. This proposal develops a new encoding method that takes advantage of combinatorics and binary properties to obtain all configurations, regardless of the number of spaces and dimension. It provides an analytical way to directly obtain all spatial configurations, avoiding any influence from input settings. AC.23–AC.24 Zixin Guo ‘Proximity Facial Mask for Social Distancing’. The structure of this wearable robotic is based on kinetic bending active textile hybrid structure. By combining architectural design principles and motion principles inspired by the behaviour of animals in dangerous environments, people are invited to reconsider the relationship between their body, clothes and the surroundings. AC.25 Shuyao Dai ‘3D Spatial Layouts Using 3D GANS’. In the process of studying the application of artificial intelligence to the design domain, we face the problem of determining how to translate a design problem into a machine learning problem. This thesis explores a solution by concatenating generally segmented workflows of architectural design with the machine learning procedure. The main contributions are: a prototype of a toolset for dataset preparation; four datasets with two formats; and a three-dimensional deep convolutional generative network model.
The B-Pro Show 2019
Bio-Integrated Design MArch/MSc
Bio-Integrated Design MArch/MSc Programme Directors: Marcos Cruz (The Bartlett School of Architecture), Brenda Parker (UCL Biochemical Engineering) Our Bio-Integrated Design (Bio-ID) programmes integrate biotechnology, advanced computation and fabrication in the context of climate change, to create a radically new and sustainable built environment. They take these life-changing phenomena as the foundation to explore sophisticated yet critical design solutions that will help to shape our future society. Taught collaboratively by two UCL departments, The Bartlett School of Architecture and Biochemical Engineering, Bio-ID proposes a new sense of materiality with emergent hybrid technologies that form innovative products and environments infused with natural and synthetic life. With two different Master’s programmes working in tandem – an MArch and MSc – each student’s work balances laboratory research, computational design and advanced fabrication. The programmes are hands-on, with intense studio and lab work the norm. The emphasis lies on the translation of phenomena observed at a microscopic level into an architecturally relevant scale. Nature plays a central role, beyond that of a model or inspiration; it is in itself the medium of a new multi-layered design approach that is biologically, materially and socially integrated. Bio-ID brings together a multidisciplinary community of students, including architects, designers and urban planners, artists, landscape architects studying the MArch and scientists and engineers studying the MSc. Work produced by Master’s students and related work by doctoral students has been featured in a variety of exhibitions including the Ars Electronica Festival, Kolektiv Gallery Belgrade, and Design Museum, London. Our partners include: UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering; UCL Centre for Nature-Inspired Engineering; UCL Institute of Making; Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge; IAAC, Barcelona; University of Coimbra; and Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts, London. Bio-Integrated Design projects in the lab, studio and gallery 188
Tutors Bastian Beyer, Marcos Cruz, Sofoklis Giannakopoulos, Nina Jotanovic, Andreas Koerner, Shneel Malik, Brenda Parker, Javier Ruiz, Barry Wark, Harry Watkins Laboratory Co-ordinator Anete Salmane Theory Tutors George Adamopoulos, Bastian Beyer, Roberto Bottazzi, Lilah Fowler, Lydia Johnson, Andreas Koerner, Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofe, Marco Marques, Ben Oldfrey, Anna Papeschi, Gosia Pawlowska, Maj Plemenitas, Danielle Purkiss, Anete Salmane, Xenia Spencer-Milnes, Harry Watkins, Michael Weinstock, Helge Wurdemann, Bogdan Zaha Critics Iris Aquilina, Philip Beesley, David Benjamin, Cobus Bothma, Barry Buckland,Kunal Chadha, Mauro Chiacchia, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Amy Congdon, Lilah Fowler, Naveraj Gill,Carlos Hernandez Correa, Mike Hoare,Ching Hwa Chang, Damian Iliev, Mitchell Joachim, Omar Kahn, Nikoletta Karastathi, George Katodritis, Hina Lad, Suzanne Lee, Gary Lye, Justin Nichols, Claudia Pasquero, Gosia Pawlowska, Michael Pelken, Andrew Porter, Carolina Ramirez, Deepak Rawat, Yael Reisner, Heather Ring, Laura Stoffels, Mike Sulu, Connie Vick, Bill Watts, Jane Withers, Bogdan Zaha
Students Year 1 Sohyun Ahn, Dona Al-Alula, Alexandros Angelidis, Isabelle Asakura, Ekaterina Beliaeva, Charles Boyd, Ayelén Franceschini Couceiro, Saumya Gupta, Ella Hetherington, Wen-Chi Huang, Leyli Kursun, Madeline Maker, Ouyang Ouyang, Vasiliki Panagiotidou, Jorge Soto Parejas, Guillem Perutxet Olesti, Shivani Rastogi, Gitanjali Ravi, Prathiksha Ravi, Nonna Shabanova, Sitthitouch Surabotsopon, Prantar Tamuli, Mackenzie Van Dam, Ningkang Wen, Zheyang Yao Year 2 Dali Alnaeb, Yandongxue Chen, Yara Gadah, Erh-Chia Hsu, Ziying Jin, Tairan (Aurora) Li, Jingyuan Meng, Erfan Pour Ahmad, Ian Thomas Robinson, Julián Rodríguez Jirau, Timothy Ryan, Shankar Saanthakumar, Jasmina Salam, Vivek Sanu
The B-Pro Show 2019
Architecture Education Declares: A Year of Radical Change 192 Public Lectures 194 Events & Exhibitions 196 Our Programmes 198 Alumni 199 Staff, Visitors & Consultants 200
Architecture Education Declares: A Year of Radical Change
This year, in response to global crises, The Bartlett School of Architecture has seen an inspiring rise in student leadership and has itself begun a radical change process. In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that we had 12 years to avoid irreversible and catastrophic climate breakdown, that government action would be insufficient and social movements were needed. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warned that severe and rapid loss of biodiversity caused by industrialisation, urbanisation, pollution and changes in land use was threatening the future of all life on Earth. Along with the rise in pandemics, disease and conflict, the global health crisis threatens a ‘sixth mass extinction’. Millions of refugees are already fleeing drought, famine and flooding, with the poorest and least powerful as ever the worst affected and most vulnerable to exploitation, harm and death. Through 2019/20, movements like Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate and Black Lives Matter took root. Millions took to the streets to protest insufficient action. Councils, industry sectors and even governments began declaring a climate and ecological emergency.
In Spring 2019, while also preparing for exams and the Summer Show, architecture students from The Bartlett, Architectural Association, Central St Martin’s and others created Architecture Education Declares (AED), now a powerful worldwide movement with over 2,000 members. On 3 June, they published an open letter calling for curriculum change and urgent action to align schools with the climate and ecological emergency. The letter called for a move from competition, exploitation and inequality, to collaboration, mutuality, respect and care. It urged schools to teach the intimate link between ecological breakdown, social injustices and the economic and political systems that architecture enables, driven largely by private financial interests. On 4 October 2019, after a school-wide campaign and the day of AED’s Climate Summit, The Bartlett School of Architecture declared an emergency: ‘Our planet is being driven towards catastrophic climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and profound suffering or extinction of future generations of living species… Committed to making an essential and vital contribution towards building an ethical, equitable, healthy, biodiverse, fair and globally prosperous future, we will implement actions in our academic, operational and management practices...’
These actions included forming a Citizens’ Assembly, creating a Staff Register of Intent, and recording, sharing and embedding change long-term through school strategies and management. Two alumni – co-founder of AED Poppy Becke and coordinator of AED Negar Taatizadeh – were employed as Change Coordinators, and the first Citizens’ Assemblies were held. Despite the immense disruption caused by the Covid-19 crisis, students, led by Nyima Murry, Siobhan Obi and Timothy Ryan, formed a new student union-affiliated departmental society, The Bartlett School of Architecture Society, to continue driving change through a stronger student voice. The Ethical Architecture & Built Environment research network was created to help the school deliver on its commitments and a #BSADeclares website will record the change process. In June 2020, #BSADeclares won UCL Sustainability Gold Project Award, with special mention to Poppy Becke, Negar Taatizadeh and Blanche Cameron. AED’s co-founder, student Barney Iley-Williamson also received a UCL Sustainability Award in 2019 for co-creating AED. The ongoing change process has also had the visionary support of senior staff across the school, faculty and UCL.
People often claim action on climate and biodiversity takes years, but the almostovernight response to Covid-19, from governments, industry and institutions, shows this is untrue. It takes leadership and political will, but radical change and the resources to support it are possible when the scale of the threat is understood. We are deeply grateful to our inspiring students for challenging us and the profession to do better. Studentdriven change can make all the difference, as the ethos and work of the school and its impact on society will show in coming years. Architecture Education Declares: www.architectureeducationdeclares.com Our declaration: http://bit.ly/BSA-Declares
Public Lectures Visit youtube.com/bartlettarchucl to watch talks and lectures. The Bartlett International Lecture Series Attracting guests from across the capital, our International Lecture Series has featured over 500 distinguished speakers since its inception in 1996. Lectures in this series are open to the public and free to attend. Many of the lectures are recorded and made available to watch online. Speakers this year included: — Peter Barber, University of Westminster/ Peter Barber Architects — Alison Brooks, Alison Brooks Architects — Marjan Colletti, The Bartlett/Innsbruck University — Lina Ghotmeh, Lina Ghotmeh Architecture — Jonathan Hill, The Bartlett — CJ Lim, The Bartlett — Christoph Lindner, The Bartlett — Enriqueta Llabres-Valls, Relational Urbanism — Elena Manferdini, Atelier Manferdini — Josep Miàs, The Bartlett/UNISS/MiAS Architects — Boonserm Premthada, Bangkok Project Studio — Jesse Reiser, RUR Architecture — Ian Ritchie, Ian Ritchie Architects — Jenny Sabin, Cornell University — Barbara Maria Stafford, University of Chicago — Nathalie De Vries, MVRDV — John Wardle, John Wardle Architects
Constructing Realities An informal event series at UCL at Here East, Constructing Realities welcomes a diverse range of speakers on themes of performance, interaction, design and manufacturing. Constructing Realities is generously supported by Populous. — Valeria Muteri, MA Situated Practice Student; Anastasia Perahia Dede, MA Situated Practice Student; Anna Sergi, University of Essex — Bastian Beyer, Architect; Nikoletta Karastathi, Advanced Architectural Research Graduate; Jane Scott, Leeds University — Ilona Nemeth, Artist; Apolonija Sustersis, Architect — Jos Boys, The Bartlett; Sarah Jones, Arup Accessible Environments Consultancy; Abi Palmer, Artist/Writer — Oron Catts, SymbioticA — Merijn Royaards, PhD Student; Henrietta Williams, PhD Student — Ben Cullen-Williams, Artist Prospectives The Bartlett’s B-Pro history and theory lecture series offers a platform for presentation, discussion and theoretical reflection on the links between digital thought, architecture and urban design. — Gabriele Gramelsberger, RWTH University — Venia Krassakopoulou, The Bartlett — William Latham, SoftV Ltd — Vahid Moosavi, Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich — Philippe Morel, EZCT (2000) — Ciro Najle, General Design Bureau, Buenos Aires — Poltak Pandjaitan, Architect and Researcher — Patricia Reed, Artist, Writer and Designer — Malgorzata Starzynska, Architect — Inigo Wilkins, Glass Bead
Situating Architecture Situating Architecture is an architectural history lecture series, affiliated with our renowned Architectural History MA and designed for both current students and members of the public alike. — Professor Lori Brown, Syracuse University — Dr Alexander Eisenschmidt, University of Illinois — Dr Ella Harris, Goldsmiths, London — Dr Anne Hultzsch, UCL — Dr Thomas Mical, Auckland University of Technology — Dr Catherine Rossi, Kingston University Here East Lunchtime Lectures This new series of themed online lunchtime lectures on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays was set up to keep our community connected during the period of remote work and study. Performance Interactions: — Sougwen Chung, artist and researcher — Irini Papadimitriou, FutureEverything — George Profenza, disguise — Andreas Refsgaard, Copenhagen — Jose Luis de Vicente, Sónar+D — Matt Wade, Moving Brands
Making Magic Happen: — George Adamopoulos, The Bartlett — Will Gallia, stillatplay — Amy Goodchild, artist and creative coder — Mariana Popescu, ETH Zurich — Maria Smigielska, HGK FHNW, Basel — Dominik Zisch, Jason Bruges Studio/ Innsbruck University Possible Futures: — Stuart Candy, Carnegie Mellon University — Anab Jain, Superflux — Mariana Pestana, The Decorators — Caroline Sinders, Convocation Design + Research — Elsa Sotiriadis, sci-fi writer Around the B-World in 8 Hours with Sir Peter Cook Hosted by Max Dewdney and featuring Professor Sir Peter Cook, founder of Archigram and former Chair of The Bartlett School of Architecture, this series connects our school community to leaders in architecture around the world. The events can be viewed on the school’s YouTube channel. — Neil Denari, UCLA — Elizabeth Diller, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)/Princeton University — Sou Fujimoto, architect — Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang — Martyn Hook, RMIT University — Thomas Payne, SCI-Arc — Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu, China Academy of Art
Events & Exhibitions The Bartlett plays host to a range of events throughout the year, ranging from PhD conferences to workshops and hackathons. In addition, a vibrant programme of exhibitions runs throughout the year. You can now visit our exhibitions, including the B-Pro and Autumn Shows online at bartlettarchucl.com, an innovative new digital platform showcasing student work. The website was created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and has received several accolades, including being shortlisted for an Archiboo award in the category of ‘Best Visual Design’. In winter 2019 we staged the second Fifteen show, celebrating fifteen months of innovative work by graduating Design for Manufacture, Design for Performance & Interaction and Situated Practice Master’s students. The next Fifteen exhibtion will take place online in early 2021. Our in-person exhibitions this academic year have included displays of student, staff and alumni projects, as well as work by invited guests. In 2019 we hosted ‘Rewiring Brutalism’,
an exhibition of archive material surrounding the Brutalist architecture of Jean Renaudie and Renée Gailhoustet. The display was originally commissioned by the Barbican Hub Space in Summer 2019 and was conceived by Nigel Green and The Bartlett’s Dr Robin Wilson. This reiteration of the exhibition was created in collaboration with a collective of Bartlett PhD students and graduates: Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Sound|Making|Space. Our ‘Kiosk’ is a permanent micro-exhibition space in the front window of the school, exclusively displaying student and staff projects, at street level. Kiosk exhibitions this year included: — The Struggle for Existence, William Victor Camilleri — Drawing with Code, The Bartlett Creative Summer School — Autonomy of Living, BSc graduates, Issui Shioura and Matt Taylor — Ad–Dressing the Landscape, Matei Alexandru, MA Graduate — Evolutionary Drawings to Virtual Reality, William Latham, Founder of SoftV Ltd
Mobile-Cell, ‘Aura’, by Issui Shioura 197
Our Programmes The Bartlett School of Architecture currently teaches undergraduate and graduate students across 25 programmes of study, with a new integrated Master’s, Architecture MSci, welcoming its first students this autumn. Across the school’s portfolio of teaching, research and professional programmes, our rigorous, creative and innovative approach to architecture remains integral. You will find below a list of our current programmes, their duration when taken full time (typical for MPhil/PhDs) and the programme directors. Much more information, including details of forthcoming open days, is available on our website. Undergraduate Architecture BSc (ARB/RIBA Part 1) Three-year programme, directed by Ana Monrabal-Cook & Luke Pearson Architecture MSci Five-year programme, directed by Sara Shafiei Architectural & Interdisciplinary Studies BSc Three or four-year programme, directed by Elizabeth Dow Engineering & Architectural Design MEng Four-year programme, directed by Luke Olsen Postgraduate Architecture MArch (ARB/RIBA Part 2) Two-year programme, directed by Julia Backhaus & Marjan Colletti Architectural Computation MSc/MRes 12-month B-Pro programmes, directed by Manuel Jiménez Garcia Architectural Design MArch 12-month B-Pro programme, directed by Gilles Retsin Architectural History MA One-year programme, directed by Professor Peg Rawes Architecture & Digital Theory MRes One-year B-Pro programme, directed by Professor Mario Carpo & Professor Frédéric Migayrou Architecture & Historic Urban Environments MA One-year programme, directed by Professor Edward Denison 198
Bio-Integrated Design MSc/MArch Two-year B-Pro programmes, directed by Professor Marcos Cruz & Dr Brenda Parker (MSc only) Design for Manufacture MArch 15-month programme, directed by Emmanuel Vercruysse Design for Performance & Interaction MArch 15-month programme, directed by Dr Ruairi Glynn Landscape Architecture MA/MLA One (MA) and two-year (MLA) programmes, directed by Professor Laura Allen & Professor Mark Smout Situated Practice MA 15-month programme, directed by James O’Leary Space Syntax: Architecture & Cities MSc/MRes One-year programmes, directed by Dr Kayvan Karimi Urban Design MArch 12-month B-Pro programme, directed by Roberto Bottazzi Advanced Architectural Research PG Cert Six-month programme, directed by Professor Stephen Gage Architectural Design MPhil/PhD Three to four-year programme, directed by Professor Jonathan Hill Architectural & Urban History & Theory MPhil/PhD Three to four-year programme, directed by Professor Sophia Psarra Architectural Space & Computation MPhil/PhD Three to four-year programme, directed by Ava Fatah gen Schieck Architecture & Digital Theory MPhil/PhD Three to four-year programme, directed by Professor Mario Carpo & Professor Frédéric Migayrou Professional Professional Practice & Management in Architecture PGDip (ARB/RIBA Part 3) 7, 12, 18 or 24-month course, directed by Professor Susan Ware
Alumni The Bartlett’s diverse and vibrant alumni play a vital role in the life of the school, as staff, visiting lecturers, mentors, sponsors, donors and participants. Every year we organise several alumni events, including the R&V Dinner, founded by and for alumni as the ‘Rogues and Vagabonds’ over 60 years ago. The event offers great food, an interesting venue, thought-provoking speakers and a chance to catch up with friends. This year’s dinner took place at 22 Gordon Street, with guest speakers Bartlett alumnus Matthew Barnett Howland and The Bartlett’s Director of Technology Oliver Wilton, together with architect Dido Milne, co-designers of the award-winning project Cork House, which received the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize for the best building under £1m and featured on the fifth series of Channel 4’s Grand Designs: House of the Year. The dinner is chaired by Paul Monaghan, Director at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. We also invite alumni to join us at The Bartlett Summer Show at an exclusive Alumni Late.
All Bartlett School of Architecture alumni are invited to join UCL’s Alumni Online Community to keep in touch with the school and receive benefits including special discounts, UCL’s Portico magazine and more. Registered alumni have access to: — Thousands of e-journals available through UCL Library — A global network of old and new friends in the worldwide alumni community — Free mentoring and the opportunity to become a mentor yourself — Jobs boards for the exclusive alumni community aoc.ucl.ac.uk/alumni
Cork House, by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton. Photo by Ricky Jones 199
Staff, Visitors & Consultants A Thomas Abbs Ana Abram Vasilija Abramovic George Adamopoulos Phoebe Adler Visiting Prof Robert Aish Rezwana Akhter Prof Laura Allen Sabina Andron Arveen Appadoo Azadeh Asgharzadeh Zaferani Abigail Ashton Edwina Attlee B Julia Backhaus Kirsty Badenoch Sam Taylor Baldwin Stefan Bassing Paul Bavister Simon Beames Richard Beckett Ruth Bernatek Bastian Beyer Shajay Bhooshan Vishu Bhooshan Jan Birksted Prof Peter Bishop IsaĂŻe Bloch William Bondin Prof Iain Borden Roberto Bottazzi Visiting Prof Andy Bow Matthew Bowles Dr Eva Branscome Pascal Bronner Alastair Browning Kyle Buchanan Tom Budd Mark Burrows Bim Burton Matthew Butcher C Joel Cady Thomas Callan Blanche Cameron William Victor Camilleri Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange Prof Ben Campkin Alice Carman Dr Brent Carnell Prof Mario Carpo Dan Carter Martyn Carter Ricardo Carvalho De Ostos Tomasso Casucci Dr Megha Chand Inglis Frosso Charalambous Haden Charbel Prof Nat Chard Po-Nien Chen 200
Laura Cherry Prof Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno Sandra Ciampone Ed Clark Mollie Claypool Jason Coe Gonzalo Coello de Portugal Prof Marjan Colletti Emeritus Prof Sir Peter Cook Marc-Olivier Coppens Hannah Corlett Miranda Critchley Prof Marcos Cruz Lisa Cumming D Christina Dahdaleh Amica Dall Gareth Damian Martin Satyajit Das Kate Davies Tom Davies James Daykin Klaas de Rycke Luca Dellatorre Prof Edward Denison Pradeep Devadass Max Dewdney Dr Ashley Dhanani Ilaria di Carlo David Di Duca Simon Dickens Visiting Prof Elizabeth Diller Katerina Dionysopoulou Paul Dobraszczyk Patrick Dobson-Perez Oliver Domeisen Elizabeth Dow Georgios Drakontaeidis Tom Dyckhoff E Kimberley Eade David Edwards Gary Edwards Fatma Ergin Sam Esses Ruth Evison F Pani Fanai-Danesh Ava Fatah gen. Schieck Donat Fatet Timothy Fielder Lucy Flanders Zachary Fluker Emeritus Prof Adrian Forty Emeritus Prof Colin Fournier Prof Murray Fraser Daisy Froud Maria Fulford
G Emeritus Prof Stephen Gage Leo Garbutt Laura Gaskell Christopher Gerard Egmontas Geras Alexis Germanos Octavian Gheorghiu Dr Stelios Giamarelos Pedro Gil Emer Girling Agnieszka Glowacka Dr Ruairi Glynn Alicia Gonzalez-Lafita Perez Dr Jon Goodbun Dr Polly Gould Niamh Grace Marta Granda Nistal James Green Kevin Green Sienna Griffin-Shaw Dr Sam Griffiths Dr Kostas Grigoriadis Peter Guillery Seth Guy H Soomeen Hahm James Hampton Tamsin Hanke Prof Sean Hanna Prof Penelope Haralambidou Jack Hardy Visiting Prof Itsuko Hasegawa Emeritus Prof Christine Hawley Robert Haworth Ben Hayes Mellis Hayward Jose Hernandez Hernandez Colin Herperger Simon Herron Parker Heyl Prof Jonathan Hill Thomas Hillier Ashley Hinchcliffe Mark Hines Bill Hodgson Tom Holberton Adam Holloway Tyson Hosmer Delwar Hossain Oliver Houchell William Huang Dr Anne Hultzsch Elise Hunchuck Vincent Huyghe Johan Hybschmann
I Jessica In Anderson Inge Susanne Isa Cannon Ivers J Clara Jaschke Will Jefferies Manuel Jimenez Garcia Therese Johns Steve Johnson Helen Jones Nina Jotanovic K Jon Kaminsky Dr Kayvan Karimi Dr Jan Kattein Anja Kempa Jonathan Kendall Tom Kendall Maren Klasing Jakub Klaska Fergus Knox Maria Knutsson-Hall Kimon Krenz Dirk Krolikowski Dragana Krsic Sir Banister Fletcher Visiting Prof Perry Kulper Diony Kypraiou L Chee-Kit Lai Elie Lakin Linda Lam Lo Lanfear Ruby Law Jeremy Lecomte Roberto Ledda Dr Guan Lee Benjamin Lee Stefan Lengen Dr Chris Leung Sarah Lever Visiting Prof Amanda Levete Ifigeneia Liangi Prof CJ Lim Prof Christoph Lindner Enriqueta Llabres-Valls Alvaro Lopez Deborah Lopez Tim Lucas Abi Luter Genevieve Lum Samantha Lynch M Abel Maciel Sonia Magdziarz Nazila Maghzian Alexandru Malaescu Shneel Malik
Prof Yeoryia Manolopoulou Jonny Martin Robin Mather Emma-Kate Matthews Billy Mavroupoulos Claire McAndrew Hugh McEwen Prof Niall McLaughlin Dr Clare Melhuish Visiting Prof Jeremy Melvin Prof Josep Miás Bartlett Prof Frédéric Migayrou Doug Miller Sarah Milne Tom Mole Ana Monrabal-Cook Philippe Morel Shaun Murray N Tetsuro Nagata Elliot Nash Filippo Nassetti Rasa Navasaityte Chi Nguyen O Kyrstyn Oberholster Toby O’Connor James O’Leary Luke Olsen Andy O’Reilly Visiting Prof Raf Orlowski Daniel Ovalle Costal P Yael Padan Igor Pantic Marie-Eleni Papandreou Annarita Papeschi Ralph Parker Thomas Parker Dr Brenda Parker Andrew Parsons Jacob Paskins Dr Claudia Pasquero Jane Patterson Gill Peacock Thomas Pearce Dr Luke Pearson Prof Alan Penn Prof Barbara Penner Drew Pessoa Prof Frosso Pimenides Alicia Pivaro Maj Plemenitas Paul Poinet Danae Polyviou Prof Andrew Porter Alan Powers Arthur Prior Prof Sophia Psarra James Purkiss
R Dr Caroline Rabourdin Marcel Rahm Carolina Ramirez Figueroa Robert Randall Prof Peg Rawes Dr Sophie Read Dr Aileen Reid Guang Yu Ren Prof Jane Rendell Gilles Retsin Farlie Reynolds Julie Richardson Sam Riley Rosie Riordan Dr David Roberts Felix Roberts Gavin Robotham Martina Rosati Karolina Rozkosz Javier Ruiz Rodriguez S Martin Sagar Dr Kerstin Sailer Prof Andrew Saint Dr Shahed Saleem Anete Salmane Sanyal Saptarshi Ned Scott Prof Peter Scully Dr Tania Sengupta Alan Sentongo Sara Shafiei David Shanks Alistair Shaw Prof Bob Sheil Don Shillingburg Naz Siddique Maya Simkin Colin Smith Paul Smoothy Prof Mark Smout Valentina Soana Jasmin Sohi James Solly Harmit Soora Amy Spencer Ben Spong Matthew Springett Prof Michael Stacey Brian Stater Iulia Statica Emmanouil Stavrakakis Tijana Stevanovic Rachel Stevenson Emily Stone Sabine Storp Greg Storrar David Storring Kay Stratton Michiko Sumi Tom Svilans
T Jerry Tate Philip Temple Colin Thom Michael Tite Claudia Toma Martha Tsigkari Freddy Tuppen V Melis Van Den Berg Kim Van Poeteren Afra Van’t Land Dr Tasos Varoudis Oliver Vas Prof Laura Vaughan Hamish Veitch Emmanuel Vercruysse Viktoria Viktorija Amilea Vilaplana de Miguel Jordi Vivaldi Piera Dr Nina Vollenbroker W Michael Wagner Andrew Walker Adam Walls Prof Susan Ware Barry Wark Gabriel Warshafsky Tim Waterman Visiting Prof Bill Watts Patrick Weber Paul Weston Alice Whewell Amy White Andy Whiting Alex Whitley Rae Whittow-Williams Daniel Widrig Freya Wigzell Dan Wilkinson Henrietta Williams Graeme Williamson James Williamson Dr Robin Wilson Oliver Wilton Nick Winnard Simon Withers Katy Wood Anna Woodeson Y Sandra Youkhana Michelle Young Z Emmanouil Zaroukas Sepher Zhand Dominik Zisch Fiona Zisch Stamatis Zografos
The B-Pro Show 2019
ucl.ac.uk/architecture bartlettarchucl.com Find us on Publisher The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Copyright 2020 The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
Editor Laura Cherry
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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We endeavour to ensure all information contained in this publication is accurate at the time of printing. ISBN 978-1-9996285-9-8 (digital) The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL 22 Gordon Street London WC1H 0QB +44 (0)20 3108 9646 email@example.com
The Bartlett B-Pro Show Book showcases work carried out in 2019-20 by students on The Bartlett School of Architecture's B-Pro Master's progr...
Published on Nov 27, 2020
The Bartlett B-Pro Show Book showcases work carried out in 2019-20 by students on The Bartlett School of Architecture's B-Pro Master's progr...