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: Swim Thames
Project Name: Swim10
Students: Ron Chua Savio (Philippines), Yue Pei (China), Guillermo Oliver (Mexico), Henry David Louth (USA)
Tutor: Shajay Bhooshan
Description: The aim of this project is to revitalise a central part of the city, particularly the River Thames, through the introduction of swimming facilities within the river, between bridges and along its edge. London embodies a rich history of river sport along its riverbanks that includes the opening of Tower Beach in 1943, with over half a million people using the beach between 1934 and 1939. However, the beach was closed in 1971 due to pollution and safety concerns and leisure swimming or specifically wild river swimming is no longer a public amenity. Today, concerted efforts are ongoing to stabilise the river ecology, and cleanliness is on the rise. The research aims to embrace the growing contemporary need for swimming infrastructure in London by proposing architectural strategies that reintroduce an oppurtunity for Londoners to swim Thames.