Theodore Spyropoulos, Patrik Schumacher, Philippe Morel and Robert Stuart-Smith

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. 



Theodore Spyropoulos 



Patrik Schumacher 


Course Masters 

Shajay Bhoosan

Philippe Morel 

Robert Stuart-Smith 


Course Tutors 

Pierandrea Angius 

Mollie Claypool 

Ryan Dillon 

Mostafa El-Sayed

Manuel Jiménez García 

Jose Sanchez 


Technical Tutors 

Albert Taylor & AKT


Software Tutors 

Torsten Broeder 

Paul Jeffries 

Tyson Hosmer


Programme Coordinator 

Ryan Dillon 


Invited Critics 

Lucy Bullivant

Helen Castle

Mark Cousins

Didier Faustino

David Jason Gerber

David Greene

Adrian Lahoud

Marta Malé-  Alemany 

David Ruy

Marcelo Spina

Brett Steele 

Albert Taylor

Peter Testa 

Tom Wiscombe


Team Name: iArch
Project Name: Design Me

Students: Xuexin Duan (China), Vahid Eshraghi (Iran), Jie Shen (China), Wei You (China)

Studio: Patrik Schumacher with Pierandrea Angius

In an opportunity to design a new, coherent system of signification that adapts to, and intervenes within the semiological systems of the built environment, a new artificial architectural language is needed that does not rely on the familiar codes found in the existing built environments. Such a system demands an architec- tural language grounded on the fundamentals of semiology. This project's proto-system simulates the existing social behaviours of the site. This results in a pattern of occupied territories within the site, demonstrating path networks and the density of occupation. The obtained data is later used for the placement and orientation of buildings.
On the global scale, architectural forms are generated to maintain multiple readings by temporarily being clustered. Such possibilities maintain flexibility in the interior organisation and size of space. In the interior scale, the organisation is semiologically encoded through gestalt grouping principles and furniture configurations. Gestalt principles perceptually decompose the space to define the interior organisation while the furniture configuration amplifies this perception while characterising the spaces as events, which become possible through ‘gestalt switches’ made by different light condition and furniture movement and transformation.