This year the Design Research Laboratory (DRL) concluded the final year of the four-year design research agenda Proto-Design, which investigated digital and analogue forms of computation in the pursuit of systemic design applications that are scenario- and time-based. Considering controls systems as open acts of design experimentation, the DRL examines production processes as active agents in the development of architecture. Behavioural, parametric and generative methodologies of computational design are coupled with physical computing and analogue experiments to create dynamic and reflexive feedback processes. New forms of spatial organisation are explored not as type- or context-dependent but by examining scenarios that evolve as ecologies and environments that seek adaptive and hyper-specific features.
This performance-driven approach aims to develop novel design proposals concerned with the everyday. The iterative methodology of the design studio focuses on the investigation of spatial, structural and material organisations, engaging with contemporary discourses of architecture and urbanism. Four research studios run in parallel, exploring the possibilities of Proto-Design. Theodore Spyropoulos’ studio, Synthetic Natures: Behavioural Machines, investigates behaviour as the means to explore self-regulating and deployable soft systems. Parametric Semiology 2 – Habitat as System of Signification, led by Patrik Schumacher, focuses on how the societal function of urban and architectural design can act as an innovative ordering and framing of communicative interaction. Robert Stuart-Smith’s studio, Behavioural Matter, explores how non-linear design processes may be instrumentalised to generate a temporal architecture with a designed life-cycle. Reconsidering Elementarism, led by Philippe Morel, addresses the relationships between technology, architecture and mathematics by revisiting research on Elementarism in the 1920s and its cybernetic reinterpretations of the 1960s.
Manuel Jiménez García
Albert Taylor & AKT
David Jason Gerber
Marta Malé- Alemany
Team Name: Soft Infrastructure
Project Name: Porous Medium
Students: Mayank Ravikumar Chavda (India), Sajeena Moorkoth (India), Maryam Kalantari (Iran), Milica Pihler (Serbia)
Tutors: Patrik Schumacher assisted by Pierandrea Angius
Description: The Frank Gehry designed Facebook campus attempts to improve the connectivity issues of an office environment while also claiming that it will be the largest open office plan in the world by the time of completion in 2015. Our proposal, which works on multiple scales from the micro to the urban, will challenge this claim by connecting spaces through a ‘porous medium’ scheme that rethinks the office typology and improves the individual work experience. Investigations of the Facebook work schedule show that employees, despite the fact that most software companies are famous for diversity of programmes and activities, spend most of their time behind desks. Therefore, a comfortable furniture-driven office environment is proposed through algorithmic optimisation, which addresses features such as transparency, communication and interior connection through the porosity of space.