The capabilities and limitations of architects’ tools influence directly the spaces architects design. Computational machines, tools once considered only more efficient versions of paper-based media, have a demonstrated potential beyond mere imitation. This potential is revealed through design computation, the creative application of the processes and reasoning underlying all digital technology, from e-mail to artificial intelligence. Just as geometry is fundamental to drawing, computation affords a fundamental understanding of how data works, which is essential to advance the development of BIM, performative design, and other emerging methodologies. This seminar introduces design computation as a means to enable architects to operate exempt from limitations of generalized commercial software; to devise problem-specific tools, techniques, and workflows; to control the growing complexities of contemporary architectural design; and to explore forms generated only by computation itself. Topics include data manipulation and translation, algorithms, information visualization, computational geometry, human-computer interaction, custom tooling, generative form-finding, emergent behavior, simulation, and system modeling. Using Processing, students develop computational toolsets and models through short, directed assignments ultimately comprising a unified, term-long project.

All Semesters

Spring 2017
Design Computation
Michael Szivos