Special Subject: Architecture Design — Creative Computation


Architecture has a deep history of integrating drawing and making; however, the Albertian orthographic mandate has produced a schism in this reciprocal relationship. It has relegated architects to producing representations of architectural intent while handing over the responsibility of means and methods of making to builders. With recent advances in digital technologies, this relationship is once again becoming entangled. In doing so, it brings into question the renewed roles of architects, designers, creators, computers, and makers. This course disputes the compartmentalization present in architectural practice today. Through the tools of computation and fabrication, it empowers students to design as architect, engineer, and craftsman.

This course employs modes of computation that hold resonance with the creation of physical conditions – gravity, materiality, fabrication constraints, and more. In doing so, students develop reciprocal methodologies of design, simultaneously informing virtual with physical and vice versa. The class will share a the single topic of ‘mass’ as a vehicle to interrogate how to design, compute, develop, and produce with a physical concept. Exercises are structured in a two-week cadence. Each exercise produces a physical artifact that demonstrates the advantages and/or disadvantages of a particular computation and fabrication approach to a condition of mass. For example, balance an object on a finger, while simultaneously dealing with the draft angle constraints of 2-part molds, or developing a spinning top that can also be carved from a 4-axis mill. Each exercise couples constraints of production with challenges of ‘mass’. In this course, students will learn equal parts virtual & physical [or] computation & creation.