The design development for the Forumtorget continues, and is now focused on the integration of lighting systems into the lamella based fabrication principles. Studies are conducted through both physcial an ddigital/parametric development, with a desgn team combining the competences within White Arkitekter and LYX furniture produder (and designer Jonas Wannfors, who designed Topografi, in the LYX line of products). A full-scale prototype is planned to be installed at Forumtorget, Uppsala, in March 2013.
Following an earlier proposal, Dsearch developed a design for a series of 30 unique panels used for fences and view obstruction in the Koggens gränd housing project. Using the Voronoi diagram, a digital design trope overly used in past years and these days integrated as an automated function within Grasshopper, the development was focused on achieving different types of transformations of the pattern, creating panels with shifting densities and local variations that encompass house numbers and protective details for security measures.
The first of three workshop days that will introduce digital design strategies and parametric thinking to Associates of White & Partners was facilitated in March in the Stockholm office. 25 participants from six different White offices took part, and will through the spring try out a number of digital tools while developing small design proposals within teams. The projects will explore parametric design thinking, analytical techniques and fabrication. The workshop is organized by Dsearch in collaboration with White R&D Building technology (Kunskapsbygget Byggteknik), with financial support from the ARQ Research Foundation.
Koggens gränd is one of Sweden´s first large scale, owner occupied apartment buildings, developed by White arkitekter through in-house management. At a very late stage, Dsearch was asked to develop a pattern to be applied on pre-cast concrete elements at the ground level of the building. The parametric principle allowed for a gradually shifting pattern, that would provide unique formal qualities by each individual entrance. Due to construction restraints the proposal was never completed, but the concept is presented in a comprehensive way in the doctoral thesis, where the particular prinicples for specialist / non-specialist collaboration devised in the project are explained.
I presented the paper Cognitive Estrangement in Digital Design Practice at the 2010 ACSA West Central Fall Conference in Chicago. The theme of the year was Flip Your Field, implying to a return to issues explored in architectural research over the past fifteen years in order to define ten opportunities for ideological re-investment with the aim to trade up the discipline. I was part of the Versions panel, and I suggested that there is a need to link speculative design work with global issues in order to not do less experimental work, but rather more, but tied into narratives that opens up the field of exploration.
The paper suggests that there are concepts and definitions within Science Fiction studies that may be useful in order to establish frameworks for this mode of speculative design. This is a trajectory that will be continued in my forthcoming PhD thesis.
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.
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.
I was invited to the final review of the Perfromative Design studio, a 4th and 5th year studio at the KTH School of Architecture. This year´s theme is Architectures of Recursion: Compounds, Contours and Colloids, with task for the semester being An architecture of the interior – connective tissue for an academic environment.
Based on the formal concepts of Compounds, Contours and Colloids, the students were asked to design a building for the Emergent Materials full scale research laboratory, a series of services including bike workshop/bike shop, small bookstore and re-use bookstore, deli and student housing / guest research housing at KTH Campus. The task was set in response to a desire to create a “living campus” for the KTH.
An additional conceptual layer was added through the notion of micro climates, defined as:
A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. Addressing issues of microclimates, whether they are artificial, conceptual or biological, is a way to approach aspects of environmental performance on a conceptual, programmatic and material level. Creating an ecosystem, the combined physical and biological components of an environment, a system or network of relations.
The students accomplished very well developed proposal after a very short semester, that also included a study trip to the cave dwellings in Cappadocia, and the discussions that emerged around techniques, formal strategies and the functional requirements were very rewarding.
Final reviews in DIP16, with interesting new progression that deals with urban conditions. Students have at this stage initiated their investigation of a 1 hectare area, in which their material system, based on particular fabrication techniques will be deployed. This year our students are selecting their own sites around the world, but an initial urban understanding has been built up collectively through a Beijing study trip.
I presented the work of AA DIP 16 at this event which gathered researchers, entrepreneurs, decision makers and architects for a focused discussion on Biomimetics and Biomimicry in a symposium at KTH Albanova, Stockholm. Additional speakers included Christopher Allen and Denise DeLuca from the Biomimicry Institute, Vincent Bulone and Lars Berglund representing Biomime at KTH, Richard Bonser from the University of Reading, Ulrika Karlsson of Servo and KTH, Antonia Ax:son Johnson as founder of Antonia Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Sustainable Development as well as a number of researchers and representatives from the city of Stockholm. My focus was partly on giving examples of biomimetic references in the work of the students at AA DIP16, but also to introduce the student design project as a platform for collaboration and a testbed that could prove beneficial to interests outside eduction. My hope is that this event will lead to new collaboration in student work as well as in my own research.