Keywords Abstract
Schubert, Gerhard, Eva Artinger, Violin Yanev, Gudrun Klinker, and Frank Petzold. "3d Virtuality Sketching: Interactive 3d Sketching Based on Real Models in a Virtual Scene." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 409-418. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Sketches and working models are without doubt one of the most widely used tools in the architect’s repertoire. In the early phases of the design process in particular, they represent an essential part of the exploration process. For the most part, however, sketching and model building are separate and sequential steps. This paper examines how both media can be linked to each other more effectively so that the design process is more continuous and the transition between the two media more fluid. Using a multi-touch table with additional 3D real-time object recognition, a prototypical system was developed and realised as part of a research project in which an interactive 3D sketching tool was linked with a real 3D working model.

Larsen, Niels Martin, Ole Egholm Pedersen, and Dave Pigram. "A Method for the Realization of Complex Concrete Gridshell Structures in Pre-Cast Concrete." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 209-216. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper describes a method for the design and fabrication of complex funicular structures fromdiscrete precast concrete elements. The research proposes that through the integration of digitalform-finding techniques, computational file-to-fabrication workflows, and innovative sustainableconcrete casting techniques, complex funicular structures can be constructed using prefabricatedelements in a practical, affordable, and materially efficient manner.A recent case study is examined, in which the methodology has been used to construct a pavilion.Custom-written dynamic relaxation software was used to define the overall form and successivealgorithms; it then defined each component’s unique geometry, unrolled into flat shapes, andnested all parts into cut-files. PETG plastic sheets were two-dimensionally laser cut and folded toproduce the unique casting molds. The case study was carried out in collaboration between theAarhus School of Architecture and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Basic research incasting techniques defined the framework for the design process, and a custom-written dynamicrelaxation software application became the primary form-generating tool in the design process ofa constructed pavilion. Fabrication and construction constraints were embedded within the designof both the overall structure and its components. Finite element analysis [FEA] was completed inorder to verify the form-finding results, to ensure structural stability, and to direct adjustments ofthe structure during the design process.The constructed pavilion case study, constructed in a very short time, for low cost and with relativelyunskilled labor, demonstrates that the integration of algorithmic form-finding techniques, CNCfabrication workflows, and the use of innovative PETG folded-mold techniques enables thepractical realization of freeform funicular structures in precast concrete.

Willis, Bryce R., Timothy L. Hemsath, and Steve Hardy. "A Parametric Multi-Criterion Housing Typology." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 501-510. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Architects have been using computers for documentation but they are yet to engage them within a process designing that goes beyond basic representation. This paper explains a project that explores an alternate way computers could be unitized in architecture. More specifically, for the creation of mass customizable homes whose design quality can be controlled through the use of shape and grammar based rules that reliably produce controlled variation with its structure. The ultimate goal of the project was to develop a prototype within the parametric software grasshopper. The development of this project was based on the idea that homebuilders could engage this type of tool to deliver better products that could be custom tailored for their clients and architects could utilize within their design process.

Pak, Burak, and Johan Verbeke. "A Web-Based Geographic Virtual Environment for the Deliberation of Alternative Urban Development Projects Prepared for Brussels." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 527-538. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

In this paper, we discuss the potentials of affordable GeoWeb 2.0 applications to support the deliberation of urban projects. We first introduce the conceptual design of a web-based geographic virtual environment specifically developed for the Brussels–Capital Region in the framework of a long-term postdoctoral research project. Then, we present two alternative open-source prototypes for the implementation of this conceptual design and compare their usability with experts. Furthermore, we share our experiences from two field applications in the form of a brief case study and discuss the potentials of the proposed prototypes with a focus on their usability and supported forms of design empowerment

Rossi, Dino, Zoltan Nagy, and Arno Schlueter. "Adaptive Distributed Architectural Systems." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 447-456. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Artificial Intelligence has a long and rich history in the field of architecture. Building upon this history, we clarify the term “adaptive” and its use within the field. This allows us to explore the application of adaptive systems to architectural design through the prototyping of an adaptive solar envelope (ASE). The building envelope was chosen because it is a common place to address issues of energy performance and occupant comfort and thereby offers an ideal scenario in which to explore the negotiative potential of adaptive systems in architecture. The ASE prototype addresses issues of distributed shading, solar power generation through integrated thin film photovoltaics, and daylight distribution. In addition, building envelopes, being the most publically visible part of a building, play an important role in the aesthetic result of a design. Therefore, conceiving buildings as dynamic systems with the ability to adapt to the fluctuating environments in which they exist opens new aesthetic possibilities for designers. Additionally we present examples of student work created during workshops based on the theme of integrating adaptive distributed systems into architectural design. We argue that with presently available technology, and an increased exposure of architecture students and practitioners to adaptive design techniques, adaptive architectures will soon become a regular element of the built environment.

Mehann, Ryan, and Elite Sher. "An Exploration into Computational Optimization for Motive Architecture." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 401-405. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper explores the potential of advanced computational methods for architecture. An experiment has been conducted with the aim of applying a computer driven optimization process on the motive behavior of a physical prototype. The choice of the mechanism is arbitrary, and this is to convey that the adaptive behavior of a structure in real time may be improved with the appropriate computational methods, regardless of its mechanical complexity. This provides architects with the opportunity to bring previously static architectural concepts into motion. The paper looks into the fields of embodied AI and mobile robotics research as resources for knowledge on the notions of integrating evolutionary computation into physical artifacts.

Feringa, Jelle, and Asbjørn Søndergaard. "An Integral Approach to Structural Optimization and Fabrication." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 491-497. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Abstract Integral structural optimization and fabrication seeks the synthesis of two original approaches; that of topological optimization (TO) and robotic hotwire cutting (HWC). TO allows for the reduction of up to 70% of the volume of concrete to support a given structure. A strength of the method is that it allows to come up with structural designs that lie beyond the grasp of traditional means of design. A design space is a discretized volume, delimiting where the optimization will take place. The number of cells used to discretize the design space thus sets the resolution of the TO. While the approach of the application of TO as a constitutive design tool centers on structural aspects in the design phase, the outcome of this process are structures that cannot be realized within a conventional budget. As such the ensuing design is optimal in a narrow sense; whilst optimal structurally though, construction can be prove to be prohibitively expensive. This paper reports ongoing research efforts on the development of a cost effective methodology for the realization of TO concrete structures using HWC.

Lally, Sean. "Architecture of an Active Context." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 269-276. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

As we stand with our feet on earth’s outermost surface we build an architecture today that is much like it was several thousand years earlier, in an attempt to extend that outer shell with one of our own making. Artificial masses are built from a refinement of this existing geologic layer into materials of stone, steel, concrete, and glass that assemble to produce new pockets of space through the buildings they create. However, the sixth century BC writer Thales of Miletus put a different perspective on this: he insisted that we live, in reality, not on the summit of a solid earth but at the bottom of an ocean of air (Holmyard 1931). And so, as architecture continues to build up the outermost layer of earth’s surface through a mimicking, embellishing, and enhancing of the materials which it comes from, it raises the question of why we have not brought a similar relationship to the materialities at the bottom of this “ocean” of air to create the spaces we call architecture. If you were looking to level a complaint with the architectural profession, stating that it has not been ambitious enough in scope would not be one. Architects have never shied away from the opportunity to design everything from the building’s shell to the teaspoon used to stir your sugar in its matching cup. But it would seem that the profession has developed a rather large blind spot in terms of what it sees as a malleable material with which to engage. Architects have made assumptions as to what is beyond our scope of action, refraining from engaging a range of material variables due to a belief that the task would be too great or simply beyond our physical control. So even though we are enveloped by them continuously, both on the exterior as well as the interior of our buildings, it must be assumed that the particles, waves, and frequencies of energy that move around us are thought by architects to be too faint and shaky to unload upon them any heavy obligations, that they are too unwieldy for us to control to create the physical boundaries of separation, security, and movement required of architecture. This has resulted in a cultivated set of blinders that essentially defines architecture as a set of mediation devices (surfaces, walls, and inert masses) for tempering the environmental context it is situated in from the individuals and activities within. The spaces we inhabit are defined by their ability to decide what gets in and what stays out (sunlight, precipitation, winds). We place our organizational demands and aesthetic opinions on the surfaces that mediate these variables rather than seeing them as available for manipulation as a building material on their own. The intention here is to recalibrate the materialities that make up that environmental context to build architecture. The starting point is a rather naive question: can we design the energy systems that course in and around us daily as an architectural material so as to take on the needs of activities, securities, and lifestyles associated with architecture? Can the variables that we would normally mediate against instead be heightened and amplified so as to become the architecture itself? That which many would incorrectly dismiss as simply “air” today—thought to be homogeneous, scale-less, and vacant due in part to the limits of our human sensory system to perceive more fully otherwise—might tomorrow be further articulated, populated, and layered so as to become a materiality that will build spatial boundaries, define activities of individuals and movement, and act as architectural space. Our environmental context consists of a diverse range of materials (particles and waves of energy, spectrum of light, sound waves, and chemical particles) that can be manipulated and formed to meet our needs. The opportunity before us today is to embrace the needs of organizational structures and aesthetics by designing the active context that surrounds us through the material energies that define it.

Lilley, Brian, Roland Hudson, Kevin Plucknett, Rory Macdonald, Nancy Yen- Wen Cheng, Stig Anton Nielsen, Olympia Nouska, Monika Grinbergs, Stephen Andematten, Kyle Baumgardner et al. "Ceramic Perspiration: Multi-Scalar Development of Ceramic Material." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 97-108. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Ceramic building material is a useful passive modulator of the environment. The subject area is based on traditional cultural and material knowledge of clay properties: from amphora to rammed earth building; and ranges to present uses: from desiccants and space shuttle tile patterns to bio-ceramics. The primary consideration is to control material density and porosity in a tile component, in response to specific environmental conditions. This depends on a number of key physical principles: the ability of the material to absorb thermal energy, the ability to absorb and then ‘wick’ moisture within the pore structure, and the decrement factor or ‘time lag’ of the effect. The interplay between these properties point to the importance of directionality in the porous microstructure, at the boundary layer. Material characteristics have been investigated in the laboratory at a micron scale and in the ceramics workshop at full scale, with some interplay between the two. Recent work done on monitoring has led to the development of software tools that allow feedback (approaching real time)- a visual representation of the dynamic thermal and hygrometric properties involved.

Vermisso, Emmanouil. "Conditioning Elegance: a Design Experiment on Intuition and Analysis." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 467-478. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper offers an assessment of two methods for design, one based on intuitive design skills, the other on design decision based on feedback from analysis. The author is interested in the students’ perception of the process requirements within two different rule-based systems. The project, given within a class on biologically inspired design, demands a design solution that operates on two layers: the first being “function” the second “aesthetics”: students were asked to resolve a column, while designing for “Elegance”. Their work focused on an elegant building component without compromising structural efficiency. The results are discussed as indicators of possibly integrating analysis tools in creative processes and also understanding different learning paradigms for students.

Fox, Michael, and Allyn Polancic. "Conventions of Control: a Catalog of Gestures for Remotely Interacting with Dynamic Architectural Space." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 429-438. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The intent of this project is to create a catalogue of gestures for remotely controlling dynamic architectural space. This research takes an essential first step towards facilitating the field of architecture in playing a role in developing an agenda for control. The process of the project includes a sequence carried out in four stages: 1) Research of gestural control 2) Creating an initial catalogue of spatial architectural gestures 3) Real-world testing and evaluation and 4) Refining the spatial architectural gestures. In creating a vocabulary for controlling dynamic architectural environments, the research builds upon the current state-of-the-art of gestural control which exists in integrated touch- and gesture-based languages of mobile and media interfaces. The next step was to outline architecturally specific dynamic situational activities as a means to explicitly understand the potential to build gestural control into systems that make up architectural space. A proposed vocabulary was then built upon the cross-referenced validity of existing intuitive gestural languages as applied to architectural situations. The proposed gestural vocabulary was then tested against user-generated gestures in the following areas: frequency of "invention", learnability, memorability, performability, efficiency, and opportunity for error. The means of testing was carried out through a test-cell environment with numerous kinetic architectural elements and a Microsoft Kinect Sensor to track gestures of the test subjects. We conclude that the manipulation of physical building components and physical space itself is more suited to gestural physical manipulation by its users instead of control via device, speech, cognition, or other. In the future it will be possible, if not commonplace to embed architecture with interfaces to allow users to interact with their environments and we believe that gestural language is the most powerful means control through enabling real physical interactions.

As, Imdat, and Maria Angelico. "Crowdsourcing Architecture: a Disruptive Model in Architectural Practice." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 439-443. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper discusses the use of crowdsourcing as a new approach for architectural design acquisition. We will give an overview of the concept of crowdsourcing, and elaborate on its particular application in architecture via concrete projects executed on Arcbazar, a firstof- its-kind crowdsourcing platform for architectural design services. We argue that online crowdsourcing platforms can have an immense impact on smaller-scale design challenges, e.g., home remodeling projects and landscape and interior design challenges, and can potentially carry these often neglected projects into the architectural design sphere. In this paper we will discuss the methods and techniques of architectural crowdsourcing and illustrate the processes and outcomes through a series of projects: a remodeling project for a closet; an interior design challenge for a dining space; and a layout problem for an apartment complex. We will then evaluate the protocol and outcome of architectural crowdsourcing, and convey the professional and popular media response to this new method of architectural design acquisition.

Hsiao, Chih-Pin, Nicholas M. Davis, and Ellen Yi- Luen Do. "Dancing on the Desktop." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 419-428. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Dancing on the Desktop is a gesture-based modeling system. In this prototype, two interactive display screens are projected on the top of a desk and the wall behind it to show the plan and perspective views of an architectural model, respectively. A depth camera detects gestural interactions between these two displays to create an immersive gestural interaction space to manipulate the model. Additionally, visual images and text are projected on the user’s hands to provide different types of feedback about gestural interactions. We argue that Dancing on the Desktop helps users develop an embodied understanding of the spatial and volumetric properties of virtual objects. In this paper, we will review related gestural prototypes and examine their shortcomings. Then, we will introduce distributed cognition and describe how it helped our system address the shortcomings of typical gestural prototypes. Next, we will describe the implementation details and explain each type of gestural interaction in detail. Finally, we will discuss our preliminary tests and conclusions.

Thün, Geoffrey, Kathy Velikov, Lisa Sauvé, and Wes McGee. "Design Ecologies for Responsive Environments: Resonant Chamber, an Acoustically Performative System"." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 373-382. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper positions the development and performance of a responsive acoustic envelope system, called Resonant Chamber, within significant discourses in ecology, systems theory and cybernetics. The project is developed through two dominant threads. First, the synthetic design process that entails engaging simultaneous computational and physical investigations which inform each other through various feedback and control regimes - from simulation and testing frameworks to material limits and behaviors to geometric, technological and manufacturing limitations or constraints. Second, the paper elaborates on the system's embedded sensing, communication, feedback and actuation system that transforms its performance to a kinetic, responsive environment that opens up possibilities for active acoustic control, as well as open-ended interaction and play with inhabitants. Within this paradigm, the designer operates through an adaptive mode, between control and the dynamic shaping of possibilities within digital, physical and effective logics, constraints and opportunities.

Chronis, Angelos, Martha Tsigkari, Adam Davis, and Francis Aish. "Design Systems, Ecology, and Time Angelos Chronis, Martha Tsigkari, Adam Davis, Francis Aish." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 325-332. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Discussion of architecture in ecological terms usually focuses on the spatial and material dimensions of design practice. Yet there is an equally critical temporal dimension in ecology that is just as relevant to design. At the micro scale is the question of 'real time' feedback from our design systems. At the macro scale is the issue of sustainability, in other words long term -- and potentially disastrous -- feedback from terrestrial ecosystems. In between are numerous different units for quantizing time in design and computation. In this paper, we examine some of these units -- 'real time', 'design time', 'development time' -- to suggest how they interact with the ecology of design technology and practice. We contextualize this discussion by reference to relevant literature from the field of ecology and to our work applying custom design and analysis tools on architectural projects within a large interdisciplinary design practice.

Dourtme, Stella, Claudia Ernst, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, and Roberto Garcia. "Digital Plaster: a Prototypical Design System." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 217-230. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Contemporary computational design processes offer more potential in the design of complex formal architectural outcomes when material processes and fabrication techniques are incorporated within a digital working methodology. This paper discusses the research project “Digital Plaster” which show-cases the development of such an architectural machine that enabled a digital design process to incorporate fabrication and structural form finding processes within flexible formwork plaster casting by the means of digitally depicting a material ecology.

Mankouche, Steven, Joshua Bard, and Matthew Schulte. "Digital Steam Bending: Re-Casting Thonet Through Digital Techniques." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 117-126. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Digital Steam Bending is a design and fabrication research project that investigates the historically significant, regional technique of steam bending wood through the lens of digital technology.

Mei-Ling, Lin, Ling Han, Shankara Kothapuram, and Song Jiawei. "Digital Vernacular." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 187-195. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Digital Vernacular investigates the potential of the process of depositing a paste like material with precision using a CNC device which has produced an innovative system for design and fabrication of environmentally responsive housing.

Architectural practice has been greatly impacted by technical innovations in the past, usually new building types emerge as part of new ideologies. Yet the current revolution in computer-aided design and fabrication has architecture focusing on form – without questioning what these new processes can bring for the masses. The research project 'Digital Vernacular' has investigated the potential of using CNC technology for the production of housing. It has focused on the design of the machinic devices as well as computational design tools, and revolves around the concept of fabrication on site. Using an additive and layered manufacturing process and locally available material, the project proposes a revolutionary new digital design and fabrication system that is based on one of the oldest and most sustainable construction methods in the world. The main potentials of this method are not to create complex forms for the sake of design, but to use parametric control to adapt each design to the specificities of its site. Using geometrical rules found during many research experiments with real material behaviour, a new architectural language is created that merges several environmental functionalities into a single integrated design.

Borowski, Darrick, Nikoletta Poulimeni, and Jeroen Janssen. "Edible Infrastructures: Emergent Organizational Patterns for the Productive City." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 511-526. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Edible Infrastructures is an investigation into a projective mode of urbanism which considers food as an integral part of a city's metabolic infrastructure. Working with algorithms as design tools, we explore the generative potential of such a system to create an urban ecology that: provides for its residents via local, multi-scalar, distributed food production, reconnects urbanites with their food sources, and de-couples food costs from fossil fuels by limiting transportation at all levels, from source to table.

The research is conducted through the building up of a sequence of algorithms, beginning with the ‘Settlement Simulation’, which couples consumers to productive surface area within a cellular automata type computational model. Topological analysis informs generative operations, as each stage builds on the output of the last. In this way we explore the hierarchical components for a new Productive City, including: the structure and programming of the urban circulatory network, an emergent urban morphology based around productive urban blocks, and opportunities for new architectural typologies. The resulting prototypical Productive City questions the underlying mechanisms that shape modern urban space and demonstrates the architectural potential of mathematical modeling and simulation in addressing complex urban spatial and programmatic challenges.

Van Ameijde, Jeroen, Brendon Carlin, and Denis Vlieghe. "Emergent Constructions: Experiments Towards Generative On-Site Design and Build Strategies Using Customised Digital Devices." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 539-545. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper presents a currently ongoing research trajectory, investigating integrated design and build workflows using generative design strategies and custom built fabrication devices. The aim of the research, which is being developed through a series of experiments and workshops, is to explore scenarios in which these work-flows can produce emergent architectural structures which are highly adapted towards the intended performance within their specific context and site. The research has produced a number of installations and prototypical structures which explore practical and theoretical dimensions of the methodology explored. It introduces intriguing new scenarios in which the architects' role is focused on the indirect control of the process of design, allowing for a more open-ended process of negotiation between structure, users and environment.

Erioli, Alessio, and Alessandro Zomparelli. "Emergent Reefs." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 139-148. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The Emergent Reefs project thrives on the potential that emerge from a coherent utilization of the environment’s inherent ecological structure for its own transformation and evolution, using an approach based on digitally simulated ecosystems and sparkled by the possibilities and potential of large-scale 3D printing technology. Considering tourism as an inevitable vector of environmental change, the project aims to direct its potential and economic resources towards a positive transformation, providing a material substrate for the human-marine ecosystem integration with the realization of spaces for an underwater sculpture exhibition. Such structures will also provide a pattern of cavities which, expanding the gradient of microenvironmental conditions, break the existing homogeneity in favor of systemic heterogeneity, providing the spatial and material preconditions for the repopulation of marine biodiversity.

Starting from a digital simulation of a synthetic local ecosystem, a generative technique based on multi-agent systems and continuous cellular automata (put into practice from the theoretical premises in Alan Turing’s paper “The Chemical basis of Morphogenesis” through reaction-diffusion simulation) is implemented in a voxel field at several scales giving the project a twofold quality: the implementation of reaction diffusion generative strategy within a non-isotropic 3-dimensional field and integration with the large-scale 3D printing fabrication system patented by D-Shape®.

Out of these assumptions and in the intent of exploiting the expressive and tectonic potential of such technology, the project has been tackled exploring voxel-based generative strategies. Working with a discrete lattice eases the simulation of complex systems and processes across multiple scales (including non-linear simulations such as Computational Fluid-Dynamics) starting from local interactions using, for instance, algorithms based on cellular automata, which then can be translated directly to the physical production system. The purpose of Emergent-Reefs is to establish, through strategies based on computational design tools and machine-based fabrication, seamless relationships between three different aspects of the architectural process: generation, simulation and construction, which in the case of the used technology can be specified as guided growth.

Jackson, Jesse, and Luke Stern. "Fabricating Sustainable Concrete Elements: a Physical Instantiation of the Marching Cubes Algorithm." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 239-247. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper explores how an algorithm designed to represent form can be made physical, and how this physical instantiation can be made to respond to a set of design imperatives. Specifically, the paper demonstrates how Marching Cubes (Lorensen and Cline 1987), an algorithm that extracts a polygonal mesh from a scalar field, can be used to initiate the design for a system of modular concrete armature elements that permit a large degree of variability using a small number of discrete parts. The design of these elements was developed in response to a close examination of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Automatic system, an architecturally pertinent historical precedent. The fabricated results positively satisfy contemporary design criteria, including maximal formal freedom, optimal environmental performance, and minimal life-cycle costs.

Leidi, Michele, and Arno Schlüter. "Formal and Functional Implications of Dynamics-Related Solar Design Schemes." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 343-354. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

In recent years several solar radiation simulation tools have been developed to assist architects in analyzing the performance of existing building designs. However it is often unclear how the results of these analyses can help to generate new solutions and thus be truly beneficial for innovation in sustainable architectural design. Recent developments in open source applications that allow links between energy simulation engines and 3D modeling environments open a new layer of understanding. The possibility to better understand the dynamic interaction between incident solar radiation and building envelopes allows the synthesis of new architectural design-schemes. This paper presents the results of a series of experiments based on the case-study of a mid-latitude single-family house in Taiki-Cho, Japan. The first experiment describes how the incident solar energy interacts with the exposed components of the envelope. The second experiment describes how the energy demand of the building can be partially reduced through the design of passive interventions that are based on the dynamics of the demand. Finally, the third experiment exemplifies how, based on the knowledge extracted from the first two experiments, it is possible to synthesize new dynamics-related solar design-schemes that join passive techniques, active technologies, and formal aspects.

Dierichs, Karola, and Achim Menges. "Functionally Graded Aggregate Structures: Digital Additive Manufacturing with Designed Granulates." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 295-304. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

In recent years, loose granulates have come to be investigated as architectural systems in their own right. They are defined as large numbers of elements in loose contact, which continuously reconfigure into variant stable states. In nature they are observed in systems like sand or snow. In architecture, however, they were previously known only from rare vernacular examples and geoengineering projects, and are only now being researched for their innate material potentials. Their relevance for architecture lies in being entirely reconfigurable and in allowing for structures that are functionally graded on a macro level. Hence they are a very relevant yet unexplored field within architectural design. The research presented here is focused on the potential of working with designed granulates, which are aggregates where the individual particles are designed to accomplish a specific architectural effect. Combining these with the use of a computer-controlled emitter-head, the process of pouring these aggregate structures can function as an alternative form of 3D printing or digital additive manufacturing, which allows both for instant solidification, consequent reconfiguration, and graded material properties. In its first part, the paper introduces the field of research into aggregate architectures. In its second part, the focus is laid on designed aggregates, and an analytical design tool for the individual grains is discussed. The third part presents research conducted into the process of additive manufacturing with designed granulates. To conclude, further areas of investigation are outlined especially with regard to the development of the additive manufacturing of functionally graded architectural structures. The potentials of the methodologies developed in this process are shown through the fabrication of a full-scale installation. By integrating material, fabrication, and design constraints into a streamlined computational methodology, the process also serves as a model for a more intuitive production workflow, expanding the understanding of glass as a material with wide-ranging possibilities for a more performative architecture.

Menicovich, David, Daniele Gallardo, Riccardo Bevilaqua, and Jason Vollen. "Generation and Integration of an Aerodynamic Performance Data Base Within the Concept Design Phase of Tall Buildings." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 87-96. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Despite the fact that tall buildings are the most wind affected architectural typology, testing for aerodynamic performance is conducted during the later design phases well after the overall geometry has been developed. In this context, aerodynamic performance studies are limited to evaluating an existing design rather than a systematic performance study of design options driving form generation. Beyond constrains of time and cost of wind tunnel testing, which is still more reliable than Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations for wind conditions around buildings, aerodynamic performance criteria lack an immediate interface with parametric design tools. This study details a framework for empirical data collection through wind tunnel testing of building mechatronic models and the expansion of the collected dataset by determining a mathematical interpolating model using an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) algorithm developing an Aerodynamic Performance Data Base (APDB).

Frederick Keisler called the interacting of forces CO-REALITY, which he defined as The Science of Relationships. In the same article Keisler proclaims that the Form Follows Function is an outmoded understanding that design must demonstrate continuous variability in response to interactions of competing forces. This topographic space is both constant and fleeting where form is developed through the broadcasting of conflict and divergence as a system seeks balance and where one state of matter is passing by another; a decidedly fluid system.

However, in spite of the fact that most of our environment consists of fluids or fluid reactions, instantaneous and geologic, natural and engineered, we have restricted ourselves to approaching the design of buildings and their interactions with the environment through solids, their properties and geometry; flow is considered well after the concept design stage and as validation of form. The research described herein explores alternative relations between the object and the flows around it as an iterative process, moving away from the traditional approach of Form Follows Function to Form Follows Flow.

McGee, Wes, Catie Newell, and Aaron Willette. "Glass Cast: a Reconfigurable Tooling System for Free-Form Glass Manufacturing." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 287-294. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Despite glass’s ubiquity in the modern built environment it is rarely applied in applications requiring complex curvature. The high temperatures and complexity of techniques utilized in forming curved glass panels are typically very expensive to employ, requiring dedicated hard-tooling which ultimately limits the formal variation that can be achieved. This combination of economic and manufacturing barriers limits both the formal possibilities and potentially the overall envelope-performance characteristics of the glazing system.

This research investigates a methodology for utilizing reconfigurable tooling to form glass into doubly curved geometries, offering the potential for improved structural and environmental performance in a material that has remained largely unchanged since the advent of its industrial manufacturing. A custom built forming kiln has been developed and tested, integrated through a parametric modeling workflow to provide manufacturing constraint feedback directly into the design process. The research also investigates the post-form trimming of glass utilizing robotic abrasive waterjet cutting, allowing for the output of machine control data directly from the digital model.

The potentials of the methodologies developed in this process are shown through the fabrication of a full-scale installation. By integrating material, fabrication, and design constraints into a streamlined computational methodology, the process also serves as a model for a more intuitive production workflow, expanding the understanding of glass as a material with wide-ranging possibilities for a more performative architecture.

Nicholas, Paul, Martin Tamke, Matte Ramsgard Thomsen, Hauke Jungjohann, and Ivan Markov. "Graded Territories: Towards the Design, Specification and Simulation of Materially Graded Bending Active Structures"." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 79-86. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

graded materials , composite materials , bending-active structures , material properties , material behaviour , simulation , material specification , performance-based design

Feringa, Jelle. "Implicit Fabrication, Fabrication Beyond Craft: the Potential of Turing Completeness in Construction"." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 383-390. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper addresses the limited shared vocabulary of landscape architecture and architectural design, evident in the application of terms such as “spatial design” and “spatial planning.” In their current usage, such terms emphasize the visible, terrestrial, pedestrian-perspective level, often to the absolute exclusion of a spatial, i.e., volumetric comprehension of the environment. This deficit is acutely evident in the teaching of landscape architecture and architecture and discussion of these fields’ shared ground. The dominant document type for mapping such analysis and design is the plan, or three-dimensional representations of the same, restricted to an extrusion or height map. GIS techniques in spatial design tend to be weighted toward visual, surface-based data (slope analysis, exposure, viewshed, etc.). Within this domain, our goal is to transform aspects of the intangible—the characteristics of open space itself—into a form that is legible, quantifiable, and malleable.

Helm, Volker, Selen Ercan, Fabio Gramazio, and Matthias Kohler. "In-Situ Robotic Construction: Extending the Digital Fabrication Chain in Architecture." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 169-176. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

In this paper, viable applications of mobile robotic units on construction sites are explored. While expanding on potential objectives for in-situ fabrication in the construction sector, the intention is also to build upon innovative man-machine interaction paradigms to deal with the imprecision and tolerances often faced on construction sites. By combining the precision of the machine with the cognitive environmental human skills, a simple but effective mobile fabrication system is experimented for the building of algorithmically designed additive assemblies that would not be possible through conventional manual methods if the large amount of individual building blocks and the size of the structure to be built are taken into account. It is believed that this new approach to man-machine collaboration, aimed at a deeper integration of human ability with the strengths of digitally controlled machines, will result in advances in the construction sector, thus opening up new design and application fields for architects and planners.

Besler, Erin. "Low Fidelity." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 149-153. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Low Fidelity engages in the translational discrepancies that occur through mediums of architectural representation, not as instances of dilemma but as opportunities to subdue tautology and augment the seductive latency of representation(1). Where some might contend the discrepant as unlawful, the methodology that this thesis argues for engages the digital and machinic, and explores the translational discrepancies that challenge and interrupt our interface with matters of materialization and excite material propensities. The discrepant becomes a dynamic catalyst through the engagement of tools and techniques that subvert the homogeneity of digital design. Low Fidelity engages the sphere of translation by reevaluating the role of architectural representation as generator and generated its originations and its limitations. In an attempt to negotiate the digital and physical, this thesis situates itself within the feedback loop between the mediums of translation through ideas their formal logics, material propensities and back again.

Schwinn, Tobias, Oliver David Krieg, Achim Menges, Boyan Mihaylov, and Steffen Reichert. "Machinic Morphospaces: Biomimetic Design Strategies for the Computational Exploration of Robot Constraint Spaces for Wood Fabrication." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 157-168. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The paper presents research into computational design processes that integrate not only criteria of physical producibility but also characteristics of design intelligence and performance. In the first part, the use of an industrial robot’s design space for developing differentiated finger joint connections for planar sheets of plywood is being introduced. Subsequently, biomimetics is proposed as a filter for the possible geometric differentiations with respect performative capacities. The second part focuses on the integration of fabricational and biomimetic principles with structural and architectural demands, as well as by the development of a custom digital data structure for the fabrication of finger joint plate structures resulting in the construction of a full scale prototype. The paper concludes with evaluating the tolerances inherent in construction through 3D laser scan validation of the physical model.

Menges, Achim. "Material Generation: Materiality and Materialisation as Active Drivers in Design Computation." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 21-24. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.
Comodromos, Demetrios A., and Jefferson Ellinger. "Material Intensities." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 109-113. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

As host organizers of the Smartgeometry 2012 Conference, professors of Architecture, and as principals in design firms, our work aims to use as a productive resistance the notion of Material Intensity described below as both a foil and measure to current concepts of simulation and intensive modeling in architectural computation. The holding of SG 2012 aimed to stage this resistance in the form of workshop, round-table discussions, lectures and symposia, with the outcome attempting to define a new synthetic notion of material intensities in modes of architectural production. This paper aims to form the basis of a continued exploration and development of this work. In summary we focused on:

  1. Intensive thinking as derived from the material sciences as an actual and philosophical framework that emphasizes qualitative attributes, which is likened to behavior, simulation, and dynamic modeling. Extensive attributes lead to analytical, representational and static modeling.
  2. Material practices can also be formed and as a result of this method of thinking. As demonstrated by the glasswork of Evan Douglis, ‘paintings’ by Perry Hall—the managed complexity possible by working with materials during intensive states of change allow for scalar, morphological and performative shifts according to a designer’s criteria.
  3. Although both are necessary and actually complement each other, architects need to ‘catch-up’ to intensive thinking in process and modeling strategies. Our methods rely on static modeling that yield often complicated frameworks and results, wherein accepting methods of dynamic modeling suggests the capacity to propose complex and nuanced relationships and frameworks.
Mankouche, Steven, Joshua Bard, and Matthew Schulte. "Morphfaux: Probing the Proto-Synthetic Nature of Plaster Through Robotic Tooling." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 177-186. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Morphfaux is an applied research project that revisits the virtually lost craft of plaster to explore its potential for producing thickened architectural environments through the use of contemporary digital technology. The research challenges the flatness of modern, standardized dry wall construction and explores plaster’s malleability as a material that can be applied thick and thin, finished to appear smooth or textured, and tooled while liquid or cured. If the invention of industrialized modern building products such as drywall led to the demise of the plasterer as a tradesperson, our research seeks alliances between the abilities of the human hand and those of automation. By transforming historic methods using new robotic tools, Morphfaux has broadened the possibilities of architectural plaster. While our research has produced forms not possible by human skill alone, it also clearly illustrates a symbiotic relationship between the human body and robotic machines where human dexterity and robotic precision are choreographed in the production of innovative plastering techniques.

Shireen, Naghmi, Halil Erhan, David Botta, and Robert F. Woodbury. "Parallel Development of Parametric Design Models Using Subjunctive Dependency Graphs." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 57-66. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Exploring problems through multiple alternatives is a key aspect of design. In this paper, we present a prototype system as an extension to existing parametric CAD tools that enables parallel generation and editing of design alternatives. The system is built on two fundamental ideas. First, use of subjunctive dependency graphs enables simultaneous work on multiple design variations. These graphs capture and reveal complex data flow across alternative parametric CAD models. Second, prototype-based modeling provides a weak notion of inheritance enabling incremental description of differences between alternatives. The system is intended to be general enough to be used in different CAD platforms and other systems using graph-based modeling. The three basic system functions are definition of alternatives (variations) using prototype-based modeling, structural and parametric divergences of the prototypes, and interactive comparison. The goal of this research is consistent with the general qualities expected from any creativity support tools: enabling exploration and simultaneous development of variations.

Bell, Brad. "Parametric Precast Concrete Panel System." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The working hypothesis of this research focuses on the potential of utilizing a digital toolset to engage information within a surrounding context for the purpose of creating a more intelligent pre-cast concrete panel system. The Parametric Pre-Cast Concrete Panel System is a research project attempting to parametrically define geometry for the purpose of producing formwork based on quantitative information related to issues such as environmental control systems, sound abatement, as well as qualitative information like non-standard variation paneling, and aesthetic composition.

Castorina, Giulio. "Performative Topologies: an Evolutionary Shape Optimization Framework for Daylighting Performance Coupling a Particle-Spring System with an Energy Simulation Tool." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 479-490. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper develops a methodological approach for use in design practice which combines an external simulation tool (EnergyPlus™) with an evo-lutionary optimisation strategy for the form-finding of complex fenestra-tion systems. On one hand, based on previous research, it presents a novel approach for the shape morphogenesis that exploits a generative algorithm technique to control a limited set of parameters whilst on the other hand it facilitates the integration of a simulation tool capable of handling increasing levels of complexity with greater data interoperabil-ity. In doing so it will argue the heuristic potential of the proposed meth-od in aiding the designers’ decision making whilst increasing the formal possibilities of their final design solutions.

Burry, Jane, Mark Burry, Martin Tamke, Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Phil Ayres, Alex Pena de Leon, Daniel Davis, Abders Deleuran, Stig Nielson, and Jacob Riiber. "Process Through Practice: Synthesizing a Novel Design and Production Ecology." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 127-138. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper describes the development of a design and prototype production system for novel structural use of networked small components of wood deploying elastic and plastic bending. The design process engaged with a significant number of different overlapping and interrelated design criteria and parameters, a high level of complexity, custom component geometry and the development of digital tools and procedures for real time feedback and productivity. The aims were to maximize learning in the second order cybernetic sense through empirical experience from analogue modeling, measurement and digital visual feedback and to capture new knowledge specifically regarding intrinsic material behavior applied and tested in a heterogeneous networked context. The outcome was a prototype system of design ideation, conceptualization, development and production that integrated real time material performance simulation and feedback. The outcome was amplified through carrying out the research over a series of workshops with distinct foci and participation. Two full scale demonstrators have so far been constructed and exhibited as outputs of the process.

Aish, Robert, Al Fisher, Sam Joyce, and Andrew Marsh. "Progress Towards Multi-Criteria Design Optimisation Using Designscript with Smart Form, Robot Structural Analysis and Ecotect Building Performance Analysis." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 47-56. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Important progress towards the development of a system that enables multi-criteria design optimisation has recently been demonstrated during a research collaboration between Autodesk’s DesignScript development team, the University of Bath and the engineering consultancy Buro Happold. This involved integrating aspects of the Robot Structural Analysis application, aspects of the Ecotect building performance application and a specialist form finding solver called SMART Form (developed by Buro Happold) with DesignScript to create a single computation environment. This environment is intended for the generation and evaluation of building designs against both structural and building performance criteria, with the aim of expediently supporting computational optimisation and decision making processes that integrate across multiple design and engineering disciplines.

A framework was developed to enable the integration of modeling environments with analysis and process control, based on the authors’ case studies and experience of applied performance driven design in practice. This more generalised approach (implemented in DesignScript) enables different designers and engineers to selectively configure geometry definition, form finding, analysis and simulation tools in an open-ended system without enforcing any predefined workflows or anticipating specific design strategies and allows for a full range of optimisation and decision making processes to be explored.

This system has been demonstrated to practitioners during the Design Modeling Symposium, Berlin in 2011 and feedback from this has suggested further development.

Winn, Kelly, Jason Vollen, and Anna Dyson. "Re-Framing Architecture for Emerging Ecological and Computational Design Trends for the Built Ecology." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 251-258. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The dualities of ‘Humanity and Nature’, ‘Organic and Inorganic’, Artificial and Synthetic’ are themes that have permeated architectural discourse since the beginning of the 20th c. The interplay between nature and machine can be directly related to the 19th c. discussion of nature and industrialism that was exemplified in the works of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright that spawned the organic architect movement. Echoes of these dichotomous themes have been resuscitated with the introduction of computational and information processing as a fundamental part of contemporary theory and critical praxis. The ability to go beyond simplistic dualities is promised by the introduction of data informed multi-variable processes that allow for complex parametric processes that introduce a range of criteria within evaluative design frameworks.

The investigations detailed herein focuses on surface morphology development that are explored and evaluated for their capacity to reintegrate the ideas from genetic and developmental biology into an architectural discourse that has historically been dominated by the mechanistic metaphor perpetuated throughout the modern era. Biological analogues in nature suggest that the zone of decoration plays an important role in the environmental response and climate adaptability of architecture. The building envelope represents the greatest potential energetic gain or loss, as much as 50 %, therefore the architectural envelope plays the most significant role in energy performance of the building. Indeed, from an environmental performance standpoint, the formal response of the envelope should tend toward complexity, as biology suggests, rather than the reduced modernist aesthetic. Information architecture coupled with environment and contextual data has the potential to return the focus of design to the rhizome, as the functional expressions of climatic performance and thermal comfort interplay within other cultural, social and economic frameworks informing the architectural artifact. Increasing the resolution that ornament requires in terms of geometric surface articulation has a reciprocal affect on the topological relationship between surface and space: the architectural envelope can respond through geometry on the surface scale in order to more responsively interface with the natural environment. This paper responds to increasing computational opportunities in architectural design and manufacturing; first by exploring the historical trajectory of discourse on nature vs. machine in architecture, then exploring the implications for utilizing environmental data to increase the energy performance of architecture at the building periphery, where building meets environment creating the synthetic Built Ecology.

Poulsen, Esben Skouboe, and Hans Jørgen Andersen. "Reactive Light Design in the "Laboratory of the Street"." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 333-342. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

This paper presents and discusses results related to a full-scale responsive urban lighting experiment and introduces a light design methodology inspired by reactive control strategies in robot systems. The experiment investigates how human motion intensities can be used as input to light design in a reactive system. Using video from 3 thermal cameras and computer vision analysis; people’s flow patterns were monitored and send as input into a reactive light system. Using physical as well as digital models 4 different light scenarios is designed and tested in full-scale. Results show that people on the square did not engage in the changing illumination and often they did not realized that the light changed according to their presence. However from the edge of the square people observed the light patterns “painted” on the city square, as such people became actors on the urban stage, often without knowing. Furthermore did the experiment showcase power savings up to 90% depending on the response strategy.

Kelley, Thomas, and Sarah Blankenbaker. "Smart Disassembly: Or, How I Learned to Take Things Apart." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 277-283. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Taking things apart is easy. How something works, or even what it is, is irrelevant to its dismantling. If assembly can be perceived as a rational act, then disassembly is certainly its counterpart: an intuitive, foolproof, and mindless errand of the seemingly curious subject. It is in this unflattering description, however, that disassembly warrants an analysis of its smart potential Smart Disassemblies locates the exploded view drawing, a representation that conveys the instructions for assembly, within its architectural legacy, from its origins in the Renaissance to its more contemporary appropriation by Thom Mayne and Daniel Libeskind. The categorical rules, and the part-to-whole relationships they imply, gleaned from these precedents are then subverted toward the end of disassembling an object. The proposed rule sets (Point of Explosion, Point of View, and Explosion Sequence) and their variants are tested through their application to a complex assembly of objects, a jazz quintet.

Fagerström, Gustav, Marc Hoppermann, Nuno Almeida, Martin Zangerl, Stefano Rocchetti, and Ben Van Berkel. "Softbim: an Open Ended Building Information Model in Design Practice." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

In this paper we present examples from architectural practice in which our definition of the softBIM method has been used to some extent. We discuss its advantages and disadvantages in relation to its use in early project phases. The goal of this study is to propose an integrative, schematic and open-ended model for dealing with complex assemblies of geometric and non-geometric project data, aiming to remain non-reliant on specific software packages.

Fagerström, Gustav, Marc Hoppermann, Nuno Almeida, Martin Zangerl, Stefano Rocchetti, and Ben Van Berkel. "Softbim: an Open Ended Building Information Model in Design Practice." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 37-46. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

In this paper we present examples from architectural practice in which our definition of the softBIM method has been used to some extent. We discuss its advantages and disadvantages in relation to its use in early project phases. The goal of this study is to propose an integrative, schematic and open-ended model for dealing with complex assemblies of geometric and non-geometric project data, aiming to remain non-reliant on specific software packages.

Melsom, James, Luis Fraguada, and Christophe Girot. "Synchronous Horizons: Redefining Spatial Design in Landscape Architecture Through Ambient Data Collection and Volumetric Manipulation." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 355-361. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The premise of this paper addresses the limited shared vocabulary of landscape architecture and architectural design - evident in the application of terms such as ‘spatial design’ and ‘spatial planning’. In their current usage, such terms emphasize the visible, terrestrial, pedestrian perspective level, often to the absolute exclusion of a spatial, ie. volumetric, comprehension of the environment. This deficit is acutely evident in the education of Landscape Architecture and Architecture, and discussion of their shared ground. The dominant document to map such analysis and design is the plan, or 3d-dimensional representations of the same, restricted to an extrusion or height map. GIS techniques in spatial design tend to be weighted towards visual, surface based data (slope analysis, exposure, viewshed etc.).
Our goal within this domain lies in transforming aspects of the intangible - the characteristics of open space itself - into a form that is legible, quantifiable, and malleable.

Gerber, Dr. David Jaso, and Shih-Hsin Lin. "Synthesizing Design Performance: an Evolutionary Approach to Multidisciplinary Design Search." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 67-75. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Design is a goal oriented decision-making activity. Design is ill defined and requiring of synthetic approaches to weighing and understanding tradeoffs amongst soft and hard objectives, and the imprecise and or computationally explicit criteria and goals. In this regard designers in contemporary practice face a crisis of sorts. How do we achieve performance under large degrees of uncertainty and limited design cycle time? How do we better design for integrating performance? Fundamentally design teams, are not typically given enough time nor the best tools to design explore, to generate design alternatives, and then evolve solution quality to search for best fit through expansive design solution spaces. Given the complex criteria for defining performance in architecture our research approach experiments upon an evolutionary and integrative computational strategy to expand the solution space of a design problem as well as pre-sort and qualify candidate designs. We present technology and methodology that supports rapid development of design problem solution spaces in which three design domains objectives have multi-directional impact on each other. The research describes the use of an evolutionary approach in which a genetic algorithm is used as a means to automate the design alternative population as well as to facilitate multidisciplinary design domain optimization. The paper provides a technical description of the prototype design, one that integrates associative parametric modeling with an energy use intensity evaluation and with a financial pro forma. The initial results of the research are presented and analyzed including impacts on design process; the impacts on design uncertainty and design cycle latency; and the affordances for ‘designing-in’ performance and managing project complexity. A summary discussion is developed which describes a future cloud implementation and the future extensions into other domains, scales, tectonic and system detail.

Johnson, Jason, Mark Cabrina, and Kyle Steinfeld. "Synthetic Digital Ecologies." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 15-17. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Why use the terms synthetic and ecology in the context of a conference dedicated to the field of digital architecture, computation and fabrication? How do we begin to unpack the synthetic union of diverse elements, processes, collaborators, and code underlying any single contemporary design or research project? What could our field gain by interrogating these diverse ecologies? What are the relationships and interactions between our design processes, including our various tools and techniques, and the multiple environments with which we routinely work, collaborate and make? It is these questions and more that we hope to address at this year’s “Synthetic Digital Ecologies” conference. A quick scan of the papers and projects that will be presented at ACADIA reveals an extraordinary ecology of experimental research that emerged by working between messy labs, studios, workshops, hacker spaces and the like. In many ways today’s so-called “digital architects” do not feel compelled to distinguish between what is digitally designed and what is not. They are leading the way through a promiscuous and synthetic mixing of skill sets, of pens and paper, hardware and software, electronics and g-code. In a single research project these designers might collaborate with a computer scientist, a robotics expert and a glass blower, and in many cases they might even attempt to do all of these things themselves. It was with this in mind that we put forth an international call inviting, “… architects, fabricators, engineers, media artists, technologists, software developers, hackers and others in related fields of inquiry …” to submit papers and projects for this year’s conference. This year the proceedings have been organized into twelve synthetic categories based around the potential for diverse research topics to inform new and unexpected conversations. Instead of organizing peer-reviewed papers and projects through their formal characteristics, we were interested in forming new synthetic categories by curating unexpected juxtapositions. This ecology of ideas and research was meant to provoke and inspire new ways of thinking, making, building and collaborating.

Imbern, Matias, Felix Raspall, and Qi Su. "Tectonic Tessellations: a Digital Approach to Ceramic Structural Surfaces." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 315-321. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

From the beginning of digital revolution, structural surfaces drew significant attention as a realm that interweaves formal explorations, form-finding and structural optimization. However, after successful experimentation in the virtual domain, it became evident that some of the main challenges lay on how to translate these structural forms into architectural assemblies at the scale of buildings. The development of digital fabrication is crucial in this task, as means to overcome traditional constraints such as need for modular pieces, scaffolding and optimal assembly sequences.

This research focuses on digital workflows that combine form finding with robotic fabrication, surface tessellation and panelization. In the past years, the use of digital tools to assemble identical modules into complex formations has achieved significant results for loadbearing walls. Expanding this line of research, the proposed fabrication system carries these experiments on additive fabrication into the production of structural surfaces. The assembly sequence involves a two-step fabrication: off-site panel manufacturing and on-site assembly. The main components of the system consist of two triangular ceramic pieces that provide structural resistance, refined surface finish, and formwork for thin reinforced-concrete layer. Panelization strategies reduce the requirements on-site work and formwork.

The paper describes background research, concept, construction process, methodology, results and conclusions.

Kock, Jeffrey, Benjamin Bradley, and Evan Levelle. "The Digital-Physical Feedback Loop: a Case Study." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 305-314. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Kukje Art Center, Seoul’s new gallery designed by SO-IL, features a totally bespoke chainmail mesh system (submission note: the authors are not affiliated with SO-IL). A single sheet of complex-curved, tensioned mesh, made up of interlocking 40mm diameter stainless steel rings, wraps the building. This paper discusses the stages of a feedback loop process employed by the authors to refine a digital model of the mesh. The mesh’s perimeter attachment system does not prescribe ring locations, allowing the mesh to form find for itself during installation. As a result, the digital model must capture the behavioral tendencies of the mesh as it negotiates the building’s geometry. Paramount in meeting this challenge was the use of physical mockups. At each stage of the feedback loop process, the working digital model was used to develop a physical mockup of increased scale and complexity, and this mockup was used to refine the digital model. Ultimately, the model output of a mesh relaxation algorithm was used as the basis for engineering simulations and predictions of the mesh vertical ringcount needed at specific locations around the building. Mesh vertical ringcount predictions are validated relative to a 1:1 mockup and the installed Kukje Art Center mesh.

Ajlouni, Rima. "The Forbidden Symmetries." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 391-400. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The emergence of quasi-periodic tiling theories in mathematics and material science is revealing a new class of symmetry, which had never been accessible before. Because of their astounding visual and structural properties, quasi-periodic symmetries can be ideally suited for many applications in art and architecture; providing a rich source of ideas for articulating form, pattern, surface and structure. However, since their discovery, the unique long-range order of quasi-periodic symmetries, is still posing a perplexing puzzle. As rule-based systems, the ability to algorithmically generate these complicated symmetries can be instrumental in understanding and manipulating their geometry.

Recently, the discovery of quasi-periodic patterns in ancient Islamic architecture is providing a unique example of how ancient mathematics can inform our understanding of some basic theories in modern science. The recent investigation into these complex and chaotic formations is providing evidence to show that ancient designers, by using the most primitive tools (a compass and a straightedge) were able to resolve the complicated long-range principles of ten-fold quasi-periodic formations.

Derived from these ancient principles, this paper presents a computational model for describing the long-range order of octagon-based quasi-periodic formations. The objective of the study is to design an algorithm for constructing large patches of octagon-based quasi-crystalline formations. The proposed algorithm is proven to be successful in producing an infinite and defect-free covering of the two-dimensional plane.

Sabin, Jenny E.. "The Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils: Interfacing Nature in the Built Environment." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 259-268. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils was commissioned by the American Philosophical Society Museum, funded by Heritage Philadelphia Program, a program of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils attempts to gather, digest, and disseminate information about nature while also incorporating cutting-edge design and fabrication techniques to ultimately produce a greenhouse of the future. The pavilion structure is populated with cold frame modules and futuristic ceramic and 3D printed curiosities, prefabricated and assembled in the Jefferson Garden, Philadelphia. Taking inspiration from the artifacts in the exhibition, Of Elephants and Roses: Encounters with French Natural History, 1790–1830, the greenhouse revisits 19th-century thematic issues related to nature, culture, and the city to offer new interpretations of greenhouse architecture as urban hybrid ecosystems whose nonstandard form features new material and fabrication logics that inspire a shift away from a technical approach to sustainable architecture to one rooted in design and the built environment. The pavilion mobilizes concepts of event as the public is invited to actively participate in the planting of the cold frames, thus contributing to the actual secondary structure of the greenhouse, and then disassembling the structure at the end of the installation period and disseminating the planted materials. As a conceptual and provocative backdrop to this project, references are made to important contributions recently made by a small group of accomplished scientists, architects, and researchers at a university symposium whose central theme was to discuss next steps for sustaining sustainability.

Tibbits, Skylar. "The Self-Assembly Line." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 365-372. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

As disciplines converge and programmablity becomes ubiquitous from the nano-scale to the human-scale, architecture and construction will likely inherit new processes from design tools, materials, fabrication and construction. This paper outlines the key ingredients for self-assembly and computational construction through a recent project, The Self-Assembly line. This project was commissioned for the 2012 TED Conference, described as “an installation that builds installations,” and was built to show autonomous self-assembly at furniture-scales. A new intuition is proposed for the construction of large-scale structures and gives insight for potentially expanding a designer’s role in self-assembly processes outside of the discipline of architecture. Future applications are outlined for self-assembly and programmable materials at large-scale lengths.

De Landa, Manuel. "The Use of Genetic Algorithms in Art." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 25-31. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.
Oxman, Neri. "Towards a Material Ecology." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 19-20. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.
Shook, David, and Mark Sarkisian. "Weighted Metrics: Synthesizing Elements for Tall Building Design." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 457-466. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

Salient attributes of previously designed projects can be examined to understand how key parameters could inform current design practices. These parameters include gross floor area, number of stories, occupancy, material type, geographic location, seismicity, climatic influences, etc. Two informative analysis tools for intelligent design have been developed which can be used from preliminary planning stages to the final design of individual structures to district-wide developments. These tools can evaluate concurrent influences of these parameters on the built environment.

The first is the Environmental Analysis Tool™ (EA Tool). The EA Tool quantifies the estimated equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of structural components. The second analysis tool is Parametric City Modeling (PCM). PCM estimates the usable area of a tower by estimating net floor area. These tools can also be applied to multiple buildings at a district scale to facilitate a new level of design in urban planning efforts.

Design information embodied in the physical built environment finds new purpose in the informative prediction of performance at the on-set of digital design. Harvesting and mining data as a natural resource brings new potential to informed design. These concepts and subsequent tools are vital to building sustainable and efficient cities of the future.

Beorkrem, Chris, and Dan Corte. "Zero-Waste, Flat-Packed, Tri-Chord Truss: Continued Investigations of Structural Expression in Parametric Design." In Synthetic Digital Ecologies: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 199-208. ACADIA. San Francisco: California College of the Arts, 2012.

The direct and rapid connections between scripting, modeling and prototyping allow for investigations of computation in fabrication. The manipulation of planar materials with two-dimensional CNC cuts can easily create complex and varied forms, volumes, and surfaces. However, the bulk of research on folding using CNC fabrication tools is focused upon surfaces, self-supporting walls and shell structures, which do not integrate well into more conventional building construction models.

This paper attempts to explain the potential for using folding methodologies to develop structural members through a design-build process. Conventional building practice consists of the assembly of off-the-shelf parts. Many times, the plinth, skeleton, and skin are independently designed and fabricated, integrating multiple industries. Using this method of construction as an operative status quo, this investigation focused on a single structural component: the truss.

Using folding methodologies and sheet steel to create a truss, this design investigation employed a recyclable and prolific building material to redefine the fabrication of a conventional structural member. The potential for using digital design and two-dimensional CNC fabrication tools in the design of a foldable truss from sheet steel is viable in the creation of a flat-packed, minimal waste structural member that can adapt to a variety of aesthetic and structural conditions. Applying new methods to a component of the conventional ‘kit of parts’ allowed for a novel investigation that recombines zero waste goals, flat-packing potential, structural expression and computational processes.

This paper will expand (greatly) upon previous research into bi-chord truss designs, developing a tri-chord truss, which is parametrically linked to its structural moment diagram. The cross section of each truss is formed based on the loading condition for each beam. This truss design has been developed through a thorough series of analytical models and tests performed digitally, to scale and in full scale. The tri-chord truss is capable of resisting rotational failures well beyond the capacity of the bi-chord designs previously developed. The results are complex, and elegant expressions of structural logics embodied in a tightly constrained functional design.