An update of Yannis's latest work together with a wonderful team of colleagues and students at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales. Research on the now closer relation between materials, construction and design may prove as a new foundation for architecture's potential role.
The aim for this second‐year second‐semester core studio is to provide an understanding of digital processes and
their application to architectural design. Computation, parametric design, modelling, simulation and other
advanced techniques are employed to tackle a design problem of research nature, that is, prompting towards
experimental uses of digital tools and their synergy with advanced analogue techniques and mainly modelling, in
order to produce design propositions that extend our sense of architectural space and structure. Experimental
design strategies are introduced together with a range of tools and processes of the digital interface. These
strategies unfold along with the development of three assessments set as Analysis, Schematic and Prototyping.
This course focuses on the notion of surface in architecture. First, it draws upon manifestations of surface in
nature in order to revisit common conceptions assuming architectural surface to be a flat element of same
consistency and constant thickness and a consequence of standardising geometric norms, as these were founded
in the modern aesthetics and construction techniques. Furthermore, with the new possibilities that have emerged
due to digital technologies primarily related to CNC fabrication, it is generally conceded that geometricism, i.e. the
analysing of complex forms to simple Euclidian shapes, soon may no longer be a prerequisite to construction. Such
a prospect invites towards a complete turn in defining architectural surface from a fixed element to a malleable
topological entity produced through its dynamic interactions with agents and data inputs defining a project.
Along with geometric definitions of surface developed during modernism, there were a number of pioneering
architects of the same period who questioned its efficacy in meeting design aims. Related studies focused on
observations for example that flat geometries often lack tectonic behaviour, as they promote rigid structures with
large amount of material waste, or that geometric purity is often inefficient in cases requiring higher level of
refinement. Alternative concepts were drawn remarkably without any computational aid, leaning towards softer
geometries and agile structures set in response to local conditions. In retrospect, it is argued that such attempts
prepared the definitions of surface that occurred three decades later, this time supported by the so‐called digital
revolution. References drawn from a large pool of precedents of natural origin combined with advanced
computational tools have offered new meaning and ways of appropriation of surface in architecture.
The course is divided into three phases, coinciding with the assessment items as explained below:
First phase: Analysis: Data Ideation Hypothesis
Second phase: Schematic: Spatial Adaptation
Third phase: Prototyping Architecture
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