Computation as a Generative Tool for Architecture



DESIGN STUDIO:  Core / 2011, 2009, 2007

LEVEL: M.Arch I / 3rd  Semester Graduate

INSTRUCTOR: Dana Čupková, Core Coordinator


The following is a series of core graduate design studios. The Core Design Studio 3 introduces students to computation as a generative framework for architectural design. The studio integrates computational design techniques and processes in order to speculate on various strategies for intervention in the urban environment. Through iterative investigations of organizational, scalar, formal, tectonic and performative logics, students define their specific design protocols for the specific architectural project. The Core Design Studio 3 introduces an understanding of a design method as a dynamically transformative process of adaptation of the newly developed organization into existing strata/ecology of the site, while negotiating the rules of behavior of both the new systems and their context. Through a range of digitally driven aggregations, logics and  distribution techniques, students initially investigate and develop abstract systems based on the semester’s theme, program and site for the project and evaluate their performative and organizational potential for the future proposal. The goal is to establish a framework for a dynamic feedback between the new systems and to negotiate their final organization into an integrated proposal with a tectonic specificity.

The expected outcome for the Core Design Studio 3 is for students to develop an integrated architectural proposal of intermediate level tectonic strategy. Additionally, students are expected to incorporate a specific programmatic response to the cultural and socioeconomic constraints of the particular urban context. The final project should represent a complete design idea documented by a site plan, plans and sections of the proposed structure, overall and partial views and diagrams illustrating how the computational protocol supports the development of a coherent architectural proposal. Given the importance of digital technologies in architecture as a discipline and profession, this studio introduces students to different digital platforms and tools that address this expanding area of architectural speculation and practice.


Student | Jeannie Chung

2011 / Bathhouse Ecologies: FUZZY LOGICS

Architecture on the water’s edge has to deal with an unprecedented degree of fluctuation. The normative architectural response to such an ever-changing site is to establish control by defining a hard boundary between the water and the land, thus ignoring a potential for softer, more differentiated environments as created by local species in distinctive ecological niches. The hard edge prevents dynamic overlap and exchange between different types of social and ecological environments. This studio explores computationally-based design protocols of adaptative geometric behavior that allow internal organizational logics to respond to its context via the mechanism of an external feedback loop. The goal is to transform the existing Manhattan waterfront site of the abandoned Marine Transfer Station at 135th Street in Harlem; to make it more connected, more fluid and transient – more FUZZY.  We engaged the notion of ‘fuzziness’ in two ways: first by exploring the mathematical and computational implication of ‘fuzzy sets’, which question the binary condition and promote notions of imprecision and gradient; second as systemic physical manifestation of programmatic, ecological and social consequences of architectural intervention: addressing the construction of environments for human experience while supporting the reconstruction of aquatic habitat. The main programmatic focus of the studio is public access to a shared swimming facility and provisions for small-scale water sports such as kayaking and fishing.

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Student | Hilary Pinnington

2007 / Occupiable Lattice Systems

The framework of the studio is rooted in the recent shift within building component systematization and the current tendency to embed performative and programmatic multiplicity into the design of a singular element or system. Such specificity within a single form and the desire for symbiosis of materialities and environments demonstrates a new approach to ecology and underlines a need for a system’s adaptability or dynamic transformation in its process of design

and/or construction.

This studio looks at design as a dynamic transformative process of adaptation of the new / superimposed organization into existing ecology of the site. The studio will operate within the Deleuzian notion of repetitive process. For Deleuze repetition is not the mechanical occurrence of the same thing over and over again but instead, a technique connected to the creative process of discovery which is produced via differentiation / variation and not mimesis. This concept will be tested using the recent technological shift within the construction industry, which only recently started allowing algorithmic progression of built form through digitally controlled manufacturing processes. We will embrace the notion of modularity and challenge its character through understanding the multidimensional geometrical relationships within the built form.



Students | Zongye Lee, Yu Ying Goh

2009 / Architecture and Urbanism: LIQUID GROUNDS9

Architecture and urbanism define the broader theme for research in the core design studio 3 of 2009. The studio pursues a design approach that investigates architecture’s association to urbanism where architectural interventions are inseparable from its relationships to a wider and complex urban milieu.  Moving away from the design of discrete city forms, the studio approaches the development of architectural interventions through the negotiation of a series of parameters that move across the different scales that give shape to the contemporary city. The studio invests in the definition of architectural, infrastructural or landscape strategies that inform new potentials for actively restructuring the urban environment.  The programmatic focus of the studio is to address a brief for The High Bridge Design Ideas Competition, asking to speculate on High Bridge’s architectural expression and its role in urban context, as well as to promote innovative artistic mechanism and urban ideology, while concentrating on the development of a new leisure and art related facility that contributes to and complements the aspiration for a new public realm.

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