The first internal event organized by Dsearch in November 2010 was a collaboration with the White R&D Building Technology network. Facilitated in the Stockholm office, this event presented the initial aganda of the Dsearch development team, as well as provided a background to the current state of digital design strategies in practice. Special guests included Pablo Miranda and Åsmund Gamlesater from Aedas R&D, and Gustav Fagerström from UN Studio.
Since August 2010 I am the director of Dsearch, a recently established environment for digital design and development within White Arkitekter AB. The aim is to continuously develop methodology and design tools in order to ensure that White retains a high international standard in regards to project design and implementation. This is achieved through the formulation of strategies, independent method development and direct support in projects. The internal Dsearch network allows the competences present within White to converge in order to generate new knowledge within the field of digital design, and disseminate it throughout the organisation. The external network of Dsearch is part of an international community with a high degree of knowledge sharing within the realm of contemporary digital methodology, which will affect our design processes and the architecture we create in the future.
With ten offices in Sweden and Denmark White is one of the largest firms in Scandinavia. The strong focus on research & development with project integration is a major reason why I took on this challenge. We are currently operating primarily internally, but we are also setting up an external network for future collaboration and exchanges of ideas. If you are interested in what we are up to, please contact me at jonas.runberger[at]white.se.
The annual UFO meeting in Greece included a very enjoyable 3-day sailing trip around the Saronic Islands, in preparation for the final meeting on the hill facing Acropolis. A much needed getaway for all of us, and a very rewarding conversation on where our field of architectural exploration is heading in the near future.
We have now launched the new design studio Architectures of Interdisciplinarity at the KTH School of Architecture. The teaching team consists of Professor Hanif Kara, Lina Martinsson Achi, Paul Scott and Jonas Runberger. The studio is part of the 4th+5th year curriculum and will focus on design based collaborations between different disciplines.
Studio 11 will seek to synthesise technological investigations and design through an interdisciplinary discourse to produce Architecture. We will research architectural, cultural, sociological and technological implications of contemporary design strategies. The studio will emphasise methods for testing proposals and evaluating relative values of quantitative and qualitative modelling with the aim of testing a real proposition on a chosen site. Our interests will include high performance materials, digital design technique, rapid prototyping methods and computer aided manufacturing systems.
Each year the studio will select a particular typology and, during the 2010-2011 cycle of the studio, the overarching theme will be industrial architecture with a final project combining an Energy-from-Waste power plant with a public program.
The studio is founded on inter-disciplinary design methodologies led by Architects; linking technology and concepts at the intersection of architecture and structural/environmental engineering in order to develop innovative design solutions. Students will learn how to employ advanced digital design techniques at a strategic and detailed level. The interdisciplinary approach will provide skills in communication and collaboration with external specialists, as well as a general understanding of advanced structural and environmental concerns. Principles of fabrication, production and construction will be developed in the final output.
The Contemporary Practice: Beyond the Crisis invited designers, clients, developers, and educators to discuss interdisciplinary challenges affecting the built environment.
Regional and international speakers with multi-disciplinary backgrounds initiated discussions about: political vision and the built environment (Leadership); specialisation, scale and region (Construction); process, fabrication, education (Design). The initiative supports the Research Cluster Design and Technology for a Sustainable Built Environment launched by the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH, in January 2010.
Among the speakers were Christer Larsson (Director of Development, Malmö), Kristina Alvendal (Vice Mayor at City of Stockholm), Sarah Jackson (Director of Design Review, CABE, UK), Klaus Bode (founding Partner, BDSP, London), Hugh Whitehead (Specialist Modeling Group, Foster and Partners, London), Rikard Espling (Skanska Sweden), Frank Barkow (Barkow Leibinger Arkitekten, Berlin), Erik Stening (Skandinaviska Glassystem, Gothenburg), Neri Oxman (MIT, Cambridge), Ole Gustavsson (Snöhetta, Oslo) and Cristiano Ceccato (Zaha Hadid Architects, London).
The event was organized by Architectural Technologies Research at the KTH School of Architecture, through Tim Anstey, Hanif Kara, Lina Martinsson and Erik Törnkvist, in association with the cross-department Forum for Industrial Building Practices (KTH FIND) and with the support of Stockholms Arkitektförening. I was an advisor on early stages of planning, and a moderator for the second session (with Louise Masreliez), themed: Construction – Specialisation, scale and region.
Article published in Conditions # 4: THE PRODUCTION OF ADDED VALUE , 2010
This issue of CONDITIONS is an investigation into the production of added value in architecture. The economic crisis has put architecture under increased pressure. Everybody wants “more for less” from architecture. The promise of “more” is everywhere in the world of architecture. Architects are in danger of getting reduced to mere service providers, unless they are able to increase the ambition beyond the given assignment.
The past 15 years have seen an open-ended, innovation driven development in the field of digital design in architecture, where the current ambitions are focused on fabrication and production. In many ways this is concluding a phase of free exploration by proving that things before envisioned can be actualized as built work. In parallel, the discourse has targeted critical practice, suggesting its replacement with projective practice, and design intelligence has been defined as a mode of operation that allows innovative architecture in a commercial arena. Recent attempts to conjecture a heterogeneous discourse into a collective manifesto, as well as a regard of the first decade of this century being characterized as “un-serious” in its formal approach, has been answered by critical voices that suggest that this trajectory of architectural development is superficial, internal, self-absorbed or even subversive.
This text is investigating the shifting field of digitally based design within architecture, and its recent turns, including internal discourse, external debate, and samples of especially potential design. It suggests that we need to multiply our agendas and combine techniques with agency. This needs to be supported by the establishment of new conceptual tools that incorporate digital techniques, the notion of the parametric and the potential of network practices in order to step up to the challenges of the future while building on the recent past. The text is illustrated by the work of Elliot Krause, Diploma Unit 16 2010.
This lecture introduced notions of digital and physical prototyping as techniques and effects as an introduction to a five day workshop exploring parametric principles and Islamic patterns. Examples from contemporary built architecture suggested how this field is expanding into practice, and the experimental work of Krets as well as selected student projects from AA Dip16 provided in depth ideas of different approaches. As the curriculum at Virginia Commonwealth University in Doha covers interior design, fashion and graphic design, a particular focus was given on small scale and installation work.
This short but intense workshop at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Doha was looking at parametric adaptation of Islamic patterns. It was conducted as team efforts, with students and teachers collaborating on projects in different scales. Rhinoceros and Grasshopper were introduced as the working platform, and the projects explored how a contemporary view of patters could be implemented in terrain, furniture or product scale. Facilitated over five evenings, the teams managed to both get a basic understanding of parametric principles, and deliver project outcomes. I was invited by assistant professor Johan Granberg, teaching in the department of interior design, but the participants came from several departments including fashion and graphic design.
I was invited as a jury member in the diploma reviews at the KTH School of Architecture, along with Maria Larsson and Bård Helland. Since the jury by definition is external, this was a rare opportunity at a time when I have no affiliation to the architecture school. After 10 years of teaching this was a first time in the diploma jury for me, and a chance to discuss the conditions of the diploma thesis as well as to review a wide range of projects with different supervisors from an outside perspective. With my return to teaching in the fall, it will probably be a while before I do this again.
As the agenda of many digitally driven practices has shifted to physical fabrication and full scale production, this paper suggests that new conceptual layers need to be integrated into the design agenda. Throughout the field, architects are formulating conceptual frameworks for future development, often defined by aesthetic identity or fabrication principles, and in some cases full manifests for implementation of parametric principles in all scales of the built environment are stated. I would argue that there may be alternate ways of widening the scope of experimental digital practice by looking at fields outside of architecture all together, and I suggest that one such field is literature, in particular Science Fiction. Rather than seeing the possibility of rational fabrication as the only motivation for the full implementation of recent digital explorations, or considering the digital design field mature enough for the establishment of a common manifest, this line of thought suggests a more open framework, situated between technology and utopian thought. By looking at a number of concepts identified within Science Fiction theory, the paper proposes that a design approach in analogy with the way an SF author designs worlds to be explored through a narrative, could be a fruitful way forward as the digital design field risks either an introverted discourse or a mundane application.