Computational design and fabrication



Ahmed Abouelkheir (Egypt), Behdad Shahi (Iran), JI-AH Lee (South Korea) and Peter Wang (China) who are gathered together for a collective one-year project towards Masters in Architecture and Urbanism.


Research context:

Terri-Form is a collaborative ‘research by design’ thesis project undertaken by four students in a twelve month Design Studio within the Design Research Laboratory’s Masters of Architecture + Urbanism, run at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (AADRL). The research was undertaken under the AADRL 2011 Agenda “Protodesign 2” which investigates digital and material methods of computational prototyping in order to develop systemic design applications that are scenario and time based. Within this agenda, the research also responds to the “Proto-tectonics 2” Studio brief written by Robert Stuart- Smith and Yusuke Obuchi that explores non-linear design processes as a medium to generate temporal architecture with a designed life-cycle. Regarding architecture as a product with a life cycle, the Studio interrogates models of production and consumption in architecture, trying to design a building life cycle as a qualitative aspect of architectural production.

Research brief:

Terri-Form is a material based design research that proposes a self-organisational model of material formation that generates a temporal architecture with a designed life-cycle.  TERRI-FORM is an eco-resort on the red sea that has been designed through a zero-waste formative process whose architecture reorganises materials naturally available on the site and redistributes these back into its environment at the end of its cycle.

The research proposes a time-based architecture through a tectonic system that extends Frei Otto’s research of sand formations using sand’s natural angle of repose. Formations are hardened as a surface through the phase changing properties of a saline solution which crystallises when cooled, bonding with the sand.  An onsite fabrication process allows for an annual re-territorialisation of the site by creating a temporary architecture that endures for eight months until the rainy season ensures its dissolution into the landscape.  The materiality and spatial qualities of the project are based on the conical geometries generated through the gravitational process of sand formation.

     SANDWORKS  shows the collaborative design research undertaken by a team of four students at the AA school of architecture in London at the DRL graduate program for 16 months ended by January 2011. The research demonstrated invention, rigour and a constructive team spirit. The work developed on many levels including material development, fabrication systems, assembly logics,algorithmic design through custom written software and programming; all of which was refined through the production of numerous working physical prototypes in addition to a wall installation. The scheme was received enthusiastically by a international jury at the final review, and has made a lasting impact in the studio due to its ideological and performative merits. As such the year long thesis project was awarded a Project Distinction – the highest and rarest recognition of achievement possible within the DRL program.

AA// Architectural Association School of Architecture

                    Unique, dynamic, independent and international, the Architectural Association School of Architecture was originally set up in 1847 as a public forum and learned society, in/famously founded by ‘a pack of troublesome students’. The AA is much more than the UK’s oldest school of architecture; the school is the nexus of a global conglomeration of contemporary architectural culture, as well as its pasts. Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and Peter Cook are among its alumni. The school has been always source of Avant-garde and cutting edge architectural movments including the Archigram, Evolutionary architecture, Emergent and parametric approaches.

DRL// Design research lab

                             The DRL (Design Research Lab) is a 16-month post graduate master programme in Architecture and urbanism. Based on design as research methodology, the DRL investigates experimental digital and analogue forms of computation for the development of proto design systems that are not site or context depended. The DRL agenda for 2009-2011 is “Protodesign2”. It inves­tigates digital design techniques coupled with physical computing and analogue experiments in a dy­namic feedback  design processes. 5 Studios within the agenda focus on the investigation of spatial, structural and material organisation that allows systems to evolve towards an architecture that is both adaptive and responsive. Within “Protodesign” agenda, “Proto-tectonics”  studio by Yosuke Obuchi and Robert Stuart-Smith re­marks the relationship between archi­tecture and production trying to explore how non-linear design processes may be instrumentalised to generate a temporal architecture with a designed life-cycle. Seen as a recursive process of productions and consumptions, the research aims to contribute to contem­porary experimentations on the topic of design ecology.