Simple Systems - Complex Capacities. Integrative Processes of Computational Morphogenesis in Architecture

Achim Menges


The complexity of the cultural, social, economical and particularly ecological context in which architecture is practised today necessitates design strategies and tactics that achieve a high level of integration of seemingly opposed demands and criteria within the material and construction systems we design. One possibility of unfolding novel synergies in such extreme conditions is to utilize the capacity of computers in the design process in an alternative way, one that foregrounds and instrumentalizes the innate capacities of materials, manufacturing and construction processes rather than merely elaborating form in the digital realm. The computational approach that will be presented here questions the nature of current design processes, but it is not a call for the replacement of the architect by computer driven design. Rather, under this approach, architects, instead of creating exuberant shapes subsequently rationalised for constructability and superimposed functions, are able to define specific material and construction systems by the combined logics of formation and materialisation encoded in generative processes of computational morphogenesis.


Design process; Computational approach; Computational Morphogenesis; Material and construction systems

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