Generative Processes in Architecture and Urbanism

Workshop 1 – 2008

Phase 1 workshop ‘Associative Assemblies’, taught by Tom Verebes, Jeroen van Ameijde and Riccardo Merello. AA Design Research Lab (DRL), London, October–November 2008

This workshop module investigated the modernist engineering paradigm of structure as space, with an emphasis on the associativity of simple structural and tectonic components, applied towards the design of an integrated set of differentiated design systems. The broader aim of the workshop was to generate a performance-driven design language and aesthetic sensibility which could be carried forward to further workshop and design studio projects in Phase I.

As an approach to design prototyping, this module experimented with bottom-up form-finding computational methods to the investigation of distributed components nested together as a complex system while maintaining the simplicity of individual parts, and the relation of the specific configuration of these design systems to top-down performance criteria. This module also focused on the logistics of designing large assemblies of components conceived directly in relation to manufacturing and construction systems.

Brief: Performative Canopy
The brief for this workshop project was the design of a Performative Canopy filling not exceeding a 10x10x10m dimensioned space. There was no proposed site for the canopy, and a design brief for the particular structural, environmental and occupational performance of the scheme was specified by each design team.

Media & Methods
In combination with material modelling techniques, the module introduced and develop simple parametric modelling tools in Maya, focusing on blendshapes, animation and expressions, to achieve iterations of component arrays in relation to performance criteria established by each design team. The development of proposals was documented in a series of computational models, updated and optimised via feedback from demonstrations of the performance of canopy scheme, at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

Alongside continuous computational design development, a series of physical prototypes was developed by each design team in an autopoetic, recursive mode. The use of the laser cutters at the AA Digital Prototyping Lab was encouraged for the testing of larger assemblies, while design teams were required to work in manual processes to explore the three-dimensional characteristics and embedded logic of the material and connection specifications of the individual components.

Associative Assemblies
Tom Verebes, Jeroen van Ameijde, Riccardo Merello

Amrita Deshpande
Xiasheng Li
Yuxi Fu
(images above)

Amro Ghazzawi
Subharthi Guha
Yichi Zhang

Atul Mhatre
Jiali Zhou
Jie Yuan
Juan Camilø Mogollón

Michalis Roidis
Akhil Laddha
Ning Duo
Kanop Mangklapruk

Maria Tsironis
Spiros Kaprinis
Nick Williams
Gerry Cruz

Roland Jarosz
Ling Han
Jiawei Song
Saahil Parikh