Posts tagged with "ACADIA":

Acadia 2017: Disciplines & Disruption

Disciplines & Disruption (Nov. 2-4, 2017) initiates a dialog about the state of the discipline of architecture and the impact of technology in shaping or disrupting design, methods and cultural fronts. For the past 30 years, distinctive advancements in technologies have delivered unprecedented possibilities to architects and enabled new expressions, performance, materials, fabrication and construction processes. Simultaneously, digital technology has permeated the social fabric around architecture with broad influences ranging from digital preservation to design with the developing world. Driven by technological, data and material advances, architecture now witnesses the moment of disruption, whereby formerly distinct areas of operation become increasingly connected and accessible to architecture's sphere of concerns in ways never before possible. Distinctions between design and making, building and urban scale, architecture and engineering, real and virtual, on site and remote, physical and digital data, professionals and crowds, are diminishing as technology increases the designer's reach far beyond the confines of the drafting board. This conference provides a platform to investigate the shifting landscape of the discipline today, and to help define and navigate the future. About ACADIA ACADIA was formed for the purpose of facilitating communication and critical thinking regarding the use of computers in architecture, planning and building science. The organization is committed to the research and development of computational methods that enhance design creativity, rather than simply production, and that aim at contributing to the construction of humane physical environments. A particular focus is education and the software, hardware and pedagogy involved in education. Visit the main ACADIA website for more information. View this link for the full schedule for Acadia 2017. Registration tickets are available here.
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A preview of ACADIA 2017, where disciplinary boundaries are blurred

On November 2-4, ACADIA will host its annual conference at MIT. Ahead of the proceedings, The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) spoke with one of this year’s organizers, Skylar Tibbits, Assistant Professor of Design Research in MIT's Department of Architecture and director of the Self-Assembly Lab—to get a preview of what to expect from this year’s impressive lineup. AN: The theme of this year’s conference is Disciplines & Disruption. What are the prime disruptors you’ve identified and what types of research are you expecting to see? ST: If you asked this question in previous years, everyone’s attention was on robots. We had a robotics arms race for a moment and robotics has spun off into its own architectural conferences. The submissions this year are more about AI and Machine Learning, Visualization like AR/VR, and advances in HCI demonstrating the wealth and breadth of tools now available and the velocity of technological change. AN: The most disruptive thing is really the acceleration of technological change, is it not? ST: It’s a given that people participate in ACADIA for the latest and greatest research in technology for the architectural field and yet we are struck also by the context. Disruption isn’t about just rapid change in markets but about people, their contexts, and concerns and the feeling of cultural and technological shifts happening concurrently. AN: Can you speak more to these shifts and how you define disciplines in increasingly co-located and overlapping fields of research? ST: Disciplinary shifts look like convergence and hybridization. Boundaries between disciplines shrink and we ask what are the limits of the discipline today. Is ACADIA a Materials Science conference or a Computer Science Conference? Of course, the work comes out of architecture practice, but we need to ask those disciplinary questions in a bigger way. When everyone is a hybrid, you can get quite existential about what you are doing. We have a great line-up of keynotes from Neri Oxman and Thomas Heatherwick to Nervous Systems and Ben Fry that I think embody these hybrid practices. AN: What has changed in the course of ACADIA’s history? ACADIA started back when CAD was a novel idea and now every architecture student uses tools in really advanced ways. The technologies are now so ubiquitous and yet there is always room for innovation. The pressing questions become about testing the limits of the disciplines and how we can understand and elevate the social/cultural/political impacts while we innovate. AN: What makes hosting the conference at MIT special? The organizers and myself wanted to bring the MIT ethos to ACADIA. I want attendees to come away with a sense of the real MIT, not just that we are tight-knit group of techies, but that there are people here looking seriously at the big picture and developing hybrid research practices. ACADIA kicks off this weekend with a Hackathon at MIT Media Lab followed by three days of workshops at the newly opened Autodesk BUILD Sspace. The conference is happening at MIT November 2-4. Visit 2017.acadia.org
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Thomas Heatherwick wins the ACADIA Design Excellence Award for 2017

[UPDATE 7/17/2017—This article has been updated to reflect that another faculty member from the Bartlett School of Architecture will be attending in lieu of Frederic Migayrou, who was previously listed below.] The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) has announced British designer Thomas Heatherwick as the winner of the institute's 2017 Design Excellence Award. Heatherwick, who founded his eponymous studio in 1994, will receive the award at this year's ACADIA conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he will be a keynote speaker. Running under the title Disciplines & Disruption, the conference will address how technology is impacting architectural design, as well as its methods and culture. Touching on advancements in fabrication, materials, and digital tools, Disciplines & Disruption will also look at how technology has connected—or in some cases, disrupted—once distinct facets of the discipline, making numerous realms of architecture more accessible. "Distinctions between design and making, building and urban scale, architecture and engineering, real and virtual, on site and remote, physical and digital data, professionals and crowds, are diminishing as technology increases the designer's reach far beyond the confines of the drafting board," reads a synopsis in a press release. Heatherwick will headline the conference and appear alongside Ben Fry, founder of Information Design; Neri Oxman, a director at Mediated Matter Group and of MIT's Media Lab; and Jessica Rosenkrantz & Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, founders of Nervous System. Other award winners, who will each deliver a mini keynote themselves, include Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, Heather Roberge, faculty from the B-Pro program at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, Wes McGee from the University of Michigan, and Bob Martens from the Technical University of Vienna. "Thomas Heatherwick's work epitomizes the high caliber of design innovation that ACADIA has sought to foster over the years," Jason Kelly Johnson, ACADIA president and founder of Future Cities Lab in San Francisco told The Architect's Newspaper, speaking of Heatherwick's award. "From furniture to bridges to buildings, his work is consistently experimental, iterative, and well-crafted. It also synthesizes digital and analog techniques in ground breaking ways. Thomas's upcoming ACADIA talk follows in a line of incredible awardee talks and keynote speakers including Zaha Hadid, Liz Diller, Greg Lynn, Manuel De Landa, and many others." The ACADIA conference will run from November 2 through the 4th.
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ACADIA 2016 showcased the diversity of cutting-edge computational design

This year’s meeting of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) was hosted at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. It was the 36th meeting of ACADIA, and was regarded to be an incredibly successful showing. The theme of the conference, Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines, was paired with the Posthuman Frontiers exhibition, featuring jury-selected projects submitted to the conference, as well as the advanced work of Taubman College faculty. The events of the conference were held at multiple venues around Ann Arbor, and were preceded by several workshops that made use of Taubman College’s digital fabrication and instruction facilities.

For those of us on the outside looking in (in our lesser moments, perhaps), the ACADIA community might easily be misconstrued as a group of architects obsessed with robots, or possessing an interest in complicated shapes made in Grasshopper for their own sake. However, the three days this author spent among their ranks at this year’s conference were some of the most inspiring in recent memory. Yes, there were moments of geometric fetishism, and yes, there were a considerable number of time-lapse videos of robot arms in progress. But when taken in aggregate, these projects, papers, and talks reframed and made vibrant the essential ingredients of what we work on as architects: the arrangement of solid and void, the cultural effects of form, and the possibilities of what we might craft in the built environment.

It must be said that the range of work presented was dramatic. Even within the more immediately applicable papers and projects were sober arguments for parametric design in space planning, a smart device for lowering cooling costs in office spaces, newly designed plugins to optimize the unfolding of 3-D meshes, and progress-in-training robots to lay tile in order to relieve the strain on human bodies.

Caress of the Gaze from Pier 9 on Vimeo.

Reaching into more radical territory, we saw prototyped near-body architectures operating on the politics of the posthuman in Behnaz Farahi’s “Caress of the Gaze,” an actuated garment which tracks—and responds to—the eye movement of those regarding the wearer. We saw installations that build intimacy and a sense of cooperative play between humans and digital entities. There was work which adopted uncommon material alliances of “programmable matter,” such as in Jane Scott’s intertwining of hydrophobic fibers that writhe and retract when exposed to water vapor (one of several fabric-oriented works), and too many others of note to mention them all.

But some of the most memorable moments from this conference were the keynote addresses, as they punctuated the proceedings with disparate tones and positions that illuminated the diversity of this community. Theodore Spyropoulos led the charge on Thursday with a talk entitled All Is Behavior (a play on Hans Hollein’s claim that “All are architects. Everything is architecture.”) It quickly became clear that Spyropoulos sees the future of cities, and indeed, that of humanity, in a technologically positivist light. He envisions self-organizing and aggregating structures which allow for adaptivity in the face of changing climatic or social conditions, and seeks to bring us into more sympathetic forms of interaction with robotic and digital entities.

The evening of the same day found the participants exposed to other visionary work, in a dreamy—and at times titillating—conversation between Philip Beesley and Iris Van Herpen, whose ongoing collaborations are advancing both Van Herpen’s work at the forefront of couture, and Beesley’s at, perhaps, the architectural equivalent. Lucidly expressive, Beesley’s tone was one of wonderment—of proposed, barely imaginable relationships between humans and matter. In fact, Beesley’s role is most easily understood, and his work is most easily appreciated, when it is placed in the context of couture, the goal of which is to push the bounds of what is possible in clothing.

Mario Carpo’s discussion of the cultural implications of searchability was a thoughtful meditation and provocation that ultimately concluded the conference Saturday evening, but the real climax of ACADIA 2016 was a keynote lecture Friday evening by Elizabeth Diller, as she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite a playful hesitance to engage with the foreboding finality of “Lifetime Achievement,” Diller generously outlined some of the more seminal works of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), one of the most influential practices in the world over the past 25 years. Early in the talk, Diller emphasized her interest in the fields adjacent to architecture, a propensity for smaller scale works, and a persistent fascination with “the encounter.” By the end, however, she was in a mode of pure architectural shoptalk, sharing in-progress photos of the recently manufactured steel struts and enormous wheels that will comprise The Shed, currently in construction in New York’s Hudson Yards development. Diller concluded her remarks with some reflections upon the way culture has shifted since some of DS+R’s early work. In the present day, she claims:

“...the speed of obsolescence makes technology a liability. Dumber is better than smarter and the best thing to do for culture in the future is to secure real estate. It’s as basic as that.

Then: Systems theory, game theory, cybernetic control systems were tools to democratize culture.

Now: Digital technologies allow culture to be open source, dispersed, and on-demand. However, with democracy comes the ubiquitous condition of being monitored, so it’s a different time.…

Then: Kit of parts and kinetic systems produce flexibility.

Now: Flexibility is a paradox. The more flexibility is built in, the more predetermined, leaving nothing but empty space (this is related to ‘dumb is a virtue’).

Then: Disciplinary borders had to be broken.

Now: Despite academia’s parsing and classification, the richly indeterminate contours of interdisciplinarity, intradisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, cross-disciplinarity—we actually have to push to make these things happen, because somehow, the real world divides everything up again. Because that’s where money comes from—different places. And it’s going to take a long time to change the system.

Then: Government support for culture was assumed.

Now: To avoid the vicissitudes of the economy, the cultural institutions must produce their own financial security.

Then: The architect was a generalist that gathers research from subcommittees.

Now: Professionalization turns the architect into a director/producer that relies on a rolling cadre of subconsultants who bring an ever-widening depth of expertise to ever-more adventurous problems. So, then and now, the architect gets to push the agency of the profession to invent a cultural and civic project on both scores.”

These sage thoughts carried the conference into its final day, which held perhaps the most poignant moment of the proceedings, as Chuck Eastman, one of the original founders of ACADIA in 1981, received the Society Award of Excellence. Hearing Eastman describe the early days of computational design, the work that went into tasks as simple as Boolean operations, put the tools we now take for granted in perspective. It is amazing how far computational design has advanced in just a few decades, and this community shows no sign of slowing. No doubt, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab will rise to the occasion and show us the next chapter a year from now, as they are slated to host ACADIA 2017.

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AN interviews the ACADIA 2016 organizers

In just a few days, ACADIA will host its annual conference at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Ahead of the proceedings, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke with this year’s organizers, Geoffrey Thün and Kathy Velikov—both principals of Ann Arbor, MI- and Toronto-based RVTR and faculty at Taubman Collegeto get a preview of what to expect from this year’s impressive lineup. AN: The theme of this year’s conference is Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines. What is a Cognitive Machine, and what makes this theme especially relevant in 2016? Cognitive machines are programmed with capacities such as sensing, recognition, decision-making, problem-solving, memory, or autonomous behavior. These are not only an increasing part of interactive and responsive built environments, but are increasingly part of the design process itself. Designers are finding ways to work collaboratively with these processes and procedures, and there will be a significant number of papers at the conference where designers are engaging design and fabrication through feedback-based, co-generative approaches using computational tools. How would you characterize the range of work you expect to see from the presentations? Are there any ideological opponents, or ongoing debates for attendees to watch out for? The conference will feature cutting-edge computational design work from around the globe: ACADIA is really an international community, and we’ll have amazing work from North America, South America, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. Presentations will range from algorithmic design to robotic fabrication to human-robot collaboration, to interactive design, to synthetic bio-digital material research. Debate will abound—the climate of ACADIA is a respectful one, less confrontational than some venues, but it’s not a good conference unless there’s at least one heated debate, and we’ll see where exactly that will emerge. We expect that Neil Leach’s paper presentation will produce some ideological frictions. I understand that hosting the conference at Taubman College has afforded some opportunities in terms of both facilities and faculty. How did this shape this year’s offerings or conversations? The faculty members of Taubman College co-chairing the conference have been active members of the ACADIA (and broader digital design/computation/fabrication/ robotics) community for years, so hosting this conference is very meaningful to us. The Posthuman Frontiers exhibition, which is running in tandem with the conference, features large-scale interactive installations by Taubman faculty, as well as the jury-selected projects submitted to the conference. The workshops—taking place in the three days prior to the conference—benefit from the amazing fabrication facilities we have in the FabLAB. Participants will be using the digital knitting machine, possibly all five Kuka robots, the five-axis milling machine, and the digital classrooms in the Duderstadt Center. Attendees will be able to see presentations in some great spaces on the campus—Elizabeth Diller’s keynote, the Philip Beesley and Iris van Herpen lecture, and the main conference proceedings will be held outside Taubman around Ann Arbor. We’ve made an effort to knit many of the events into the town’s fabric, and to connect the proceedings with that broader community of the University of Michigan, so the key evening public lectures and events will be open to the broader public and we hope to engage them with some of the questions and obsessions of the ACADIA community.
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2016 ACADIA Conference announces full keynote schedule

This year’s ACADIA conference, entitled "Post Human Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines" will focus on design and research that lies at the “intersection between procedural design, designed environments and autonomous machines.” ACADIA, the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, has recently announced it keynote line-up, which includes Elizabeth Diller, who will be accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the conference. The conference, which will run from October 27th through the 29th, will be held at the University of Michigan Taubman Collage in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The keynote speakers will range from academics to practitioners, each bringing their own perspective on the state of the growing field of autonomous machines for making architecture. final_diller_keynote Four keynotes will discuss their recent research and practice in the field of computer-aided design. Speaker Mario Carpo, Dr.Arch, PhD, HDR focuses his research on the intersection of architectural theory, cultural history, and the history of media and information technology. Iris van Herpen’s talk will explore her Haute Couture digital fashion, and the relationship between craftsmanship and innovation. Visual artist and architect Philip Beesley, MRAIC OAA RCA will continue the discussion of digital fabrication and design, looking at Beesley’s association with the Living Architecture Systems Group (LASG). LASG is an international consortium of academics, institutional, and industrial partners developing building techniques that have the qualities of living organisms. Director of the Architectural Association’s Design Research Lab (AADRL), Theodore Spyropoulos’s work looks at the intersection of form and communication. Elizabeth Diller, founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), will be awarded the ACADIA 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and will give a keynote address. Keynote Schedule – Thursday, October 27th 1:30 pm – Theodore Spyropoulos Thursday, October, 27th 5:00 pm – Iris van Herpen & Philip Beesely Friday, October 28th 6:30 pm – Elizabeth Diller Saturday, October 29th 6:00 pm – Mario Carpo For the full schedule of events go to 2016.acadia.org.
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Liz Diller awarded 2016 ACADIA Lifetime Achievement Award

The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) has announced Elizabeth Diller as the recipient of their prestigious 2016 ACADIA Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to "exceptional architects and researchers who over the course of their career have made significant and innovative contributions to the fields of architecture and computational design." The highly competitive award was last given in 2014 to the late Zaha Hadid. Diller will receive the award at this year’s conference Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines, October 27-29 at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She will also deliver a keynote lecture during the conference on Friday, October 28 at University of Michigan’s Power Center for the Performing Arts. Elizabeth Diller is a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), an interdisciplinary design studio that works at the intersection of architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. With Ricardo Scofidio, Diller was the first in the field of architecture to receive the “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation, which stated “their work explores how space functions in our culture and illustrates that architecture, when understood as the physical manifestation of social relationships, is everywhere, not just in buildings.” DS+R established its identity through independent, theoretical, and self-generated projects before coming to international prominence with two of the most important planning initiatives in New York: the High Line and the redesign of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts campus. In addition to the nearly completed Columbia University Graduate and Medical Education Building, and The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles, Diller is Principal-in-Charge of The Shed, a new center for artistic invention at the Hudson Yards, and the renovation and expansion of MoMA, both in New York. Diller graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1979, and taught at the school from 1981-1990. She is a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University. Diller is a recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Design, and the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of the Arts and Letters. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2013, Diller was awarded the Barnard Medal of Distinction, and DS+R was presented a Centennial Medal of Honor from the American Academy in Rome. Diller was selected by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” The ACADIA Board of Directors specifically cited “Liz Diller’s pioneering work at the intersections of architecture, art, technology and philosophy. Her critical explorations over many years have integrated design, computation and theory into a radically inventive and culturally relevant body of work from installations to buildings to urban landscapes.” ACADIA President Jason Kelly Johnson said, "From the late 1980's to today, the work of Liz Diller and her studio Diller+Scofidio (now DS+R) has been at the forefront of exploring the spatial, material and generative possibilities of new media in architecture. Their earliest experimental multi-media installations, including projects like Para-Site (1989), Slow House (1991) and Jet Lag (1998), set the stage for a substantial body of recent international built work like the Blur Building (2002) in Switzerland, the Broad (2013) museum in Los Angeles, and upcoming projects like the Museum of Image and Sound (2015-Present) currently under construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
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Mario Carpo and Elizabeth Diller Confirmed as Keynote Speakers for ACADIA 2016

This years ACADIA 2016 conference: Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers & Cognitive Machines has announced Mario Carpo (Reyner Banham Professor of Architectural Theory and History, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL London) and Elizabeth Diller (founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro) as confirmed keynote speakers. In 1999, working alongside Ricardo Scofidio, Ms. Diller was awarded the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, becoming the first in her filed to do so. Now, Diller will also be receiving the ACADIA 2016 Lifetime Achievement award, an esteemed accolade that represents recognition by colleagues worldwide of consistent contributions and impact on the field of architectural computing and design culture. Co-Founder and Design Partner of Future Cities Lab, San Francisco and recently elected member to the ACADIA Board of Directors and ACADIA President, Jason Kelly Johnson cited how "Diller’s pioneering work at the intersections of architecture, art, technology and philosophy" made her an "ideal" choice as a keynote speaker. Johnson went on to add that "the ACADIA community will celebrate Diller's critical explorations integrating design, computation, and theory into a radically inventive and culturally relevant body of work from installations to buildings to urban landscapes." Mario Carpo was also seen by Johnson as a pivotal speaker for ACADIA 2016. "Carpo's keynote will bring a much needed theoretical and historical perspective to the conference," Johnson noted, going on to say, "His research is a catalyst for critical discussions related to digital design, technology and culture."  Carpo has a strong pedigree in the field of architectural research, focusing on architectural theory, cultural history, and the history of media and information technology. Notable publications include The Alphabet and the AlgorithmThe Digital Turn in Architecture 1992-2012 and his award-winning opus: Architecture in the Age of Printing which has been translated into several languages.

The conference will focus on design work and research carried out in the fields of practice and academia  that relate to "procedural design, designed environments and autonomous machines". More specifically, ACADIA 2016 will concentrate on contemporary trends in computational design that has been used to develop "quasi-cognitive machines" and "integration of software, information, fabrication and sensing to generate mechanisms for interfacing with the physical realm." Papers that touch on relative disciplines such as material science, biology, art, computer graphics, civil engineering, and human-computer interaction have been called to contribute to the discussion.

"Every year the ACADIA conferences bring together a world-class group of designers, architects, engineers, fabricators and thinkers exploring the intersection of computation, digital technologies and architecture," said Johnson. "In North America it has become the event to present, explore and debate emerging ideas in the field."

This years event will be held at the University of Michigan Taubman College in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the conference itself will run from October 27 - 29, 2016.
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Computational Ecologies: Inside the 2015 ACADIA Conference in Cincinnati

The 35th annual conference of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) took place in Cincinnati (at Peter Eisenman's infamous DAAP Building) in late October. The international conference is a three-day long academic event presenting peer-reviewed research and experimental work of 50 computational designers, students, and architects. Topics range from material science, biomimesis, geomimesis, robotics, environmental parametrics, and ecological urbanism. The conference was bookended by a series of three-day workshops at the beginning of the week, and a one-day post-conference hackathon, organized by Site Coordinator Brian Ringley (Woods Bagot/Pratt Institute). The workshops provided a range of projects catering to both students, industry leaders, and design professionals. Topics covered ranged from CNC machining to Interaction Design (IxD) to BIM analysis and optimization. Tools featured in the workshops included Processing (Java), Dynamo (Autodesk), and Rhino/Grasshopper. The conference presentations and discussions were distributed between downtown Cincinnati (Deborah Berke's 21c Museum and Zaha Hadid’s Contemporary Arts Center) and the University of Cincinnati two miles north of downtown, where a large portfolio of signature contemporary architecture has been built largely within the past decade. Keynote lectures by Stefan Behnisch, amid.cero9, Francois Roche, and Nader Tehrani were spread throughout the daily sessions. A curated exhibition of installations debuted during the conference, expanding on the ‘computational ecologies’ theme. The exhibition, titled ECO-DIVERSITY: Computation and Identity, will be open to the public through December 6, 2015. “This year’s event was smaller than last year’s Los Angeles-based conference, however the quality of papers and discussions remains at a high level,” according to ACADIA President Jason Kelly Johnson. Ringley saw the conference as a “unique way to showcase innovation embedded within the historical richness of a post-industrial Midwestern context.” Local flavor from this year’s conference included an evening coordinated by Matt Anthony’s Cincinnati Made initiative at a 25,000-square-foot renovated 1850s brewery in the heart of Over-the-Rhine’s brewery district—a neighborhood which contains the country’s largest historic district. Outside the brewery, Giacomo Ciminello showcased his People’s Liberty–funded "Spaced Invaders" projection-mapped video game, an ongoing art project calling attention to underutilized urban spaces in the city. A full list of organizers, sponsors, and participants can be found on the conference website. Papers will soon be added to an open access platform CUMINCAD, a digital library of 8,300 PDF full papers. Next year’s conference will remain in the Midwest: It is coming to Ann Arbor’s Taubman College at the University of Michigan. The theme will be Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers and Cognitive Machines. -- Organizers for "ACADIA 2015 COMPUTATIONAL ECOLOGIES: Design in the Anthropocene" include:
  • Lonn Combs, Technical Chair
  • Chris Perry, Technical Chair
  • William Williams, Site Chair
  • Mara Marcu, Exhibitions, Website, Social Media
  • Brian Ringley, Workshops and Social Media
  • Stephen Slaughter, Site Related Events and Publications
  • Ming Tang, Website, Site Related Events and Publications
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Synthesis 3D prints a rocking chair

Durotaxis rocker features gradient mesh informed by function, ergonomics, and aesthetics.

For Synthesis Design + Architecture founding principal Alvin Huang, there is a lot to love about 3D printing. But he does not always like how the technology is applied. "I see it all the time—a lot of students just 3D print everything," said Huang, who also teaches at the USC School of Architecture. "You see things that could have been done better, faster, or cleaner by hand. I find it a very troublesome predicament we're in, we're letting the tool dictate." When Stratasys contacted Synthesis about designing a piece for their Objet500 Connex3 printer, the architects decided to turn the relationship between human and machine on its head. Instead of asking how they could implement a preconceived design using the Objet printer, they challenged themselves to create something that could only be manufactured using this particular tool. Durotaxis Chair, a prototype of which debuted at the ACADIA 2014 conference, showcases Objet's multi-material 3D printing capabilities with a gradient mesh that visually communicates the rocker's function and ergonomics. Though Synthesis designed the Durotaxis Chair almost entirely in the digital realm, said Huang, "we see the computer very much as an intuitive tool, the same way previous generations thought of the pencil. We try to find a happy medium between the scientific aspect, and the intuitive manipulation of that science." The architects bounced among multiple software programs including Rhino, Grasshopper, Weaverbird, ZBrush, and Maya to craft a form that operates in two positions: upright, as a traditional rocking chair, and horizontally, as a lounger. The chair's structure comprises an interwoven mesh of two materials, one rigid, opaque, and cyan in color, the other flexible, translucent, and white. While the resultant gradients reflect both the physics and ergonomics of the chair, they also deliver an intended aesthetic effect, creating a moiré pattern that encourages the observer to move around the chair. "It wasn't the case of the code creating the form," explained Huang. "We very clearly sculpted it for visual and ergonomic properties."
  • Fabricator Stratasys
  • Designers Synthesis Design + Architecture
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • Material Objet VeroCyan Digital Material, Objet VeroWhite Digital Material
  • Process Rhino, Grasshopper, Weaverbird, ZBrush, Maya, 3D printing
Stratasys manufactured the half-scale prototype at their headquarters in Israel. Unlike a typical 3D printer, which has one head with one nozzle, the Object contains two heads with 96 nozzles each. Using proprietary substances the company calls "digital material," said Huang, "you can print a matrix of gradients between those two heads. In our case, we were able to create gradients not just of color, but also stiffness and transparency." Synthesis remained in constant touch with the Stratasys team throughout fabrication, fine-tuning the design as problems arose. "It was also an experimental process for them," said Huang. "Ultimately, through a lot of back and forth, we were able to arrive at something they were able to print." Synthesis is now tweaking their design for a full-scale version of Durotaxis Chair. The principal challenge they encountered while fabricating the prototype, explained Huang, was an excess of support mesh. "It's still a big manual process. You have to remove all of the support material." The updated design will take advantage of the team's finding that, by printing vertically up to a certain angle, they can eliminate the need for support mesh. "We're trying to take it a step further," said Huang. "How do we expedite the process, and refine the geometry of the lattice so that you're changing direction before the material starts to droop? We're trying to do something where, in a sense, we're growing the chair." Despite his discontent with the way some young practitioners approach 3D printing, Huang thinks that the technology holds great promise, especially in the world of architecture. He points to some of his contemporaries, like fellow Angeleno and architect/jewelry designer Jenny Wu, who is taking 3D printing in exciting new directions. "When you think about architecture and design, most of what we do is the assembly of products, and the more bespoke you can make them, the better," said Huang. "I look at 3D printing as a shift from rapid prototyping to rapid manufacturing. Hopefully someday we can produce bespoke items for the same impact as mass-produced items—that is the theoretical holy grail."
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Reinventing the Facade: SKIN Competition Names Four First Stage Finalists

Tex-Fab has concluded the initial stage of its international competition called SKIN. The two-stage competition invited architects, designers, and researchers to rethink the traditional building envelope by exploring the performative qualities of a facade. Participants selected any context, real or virtual, at any scale and on any building type. Phase one jurors narrowed down 68 entries from across the world to four finalists and four honorable mentions. Jurors Phil Anzalone, Maria Mingallon, Gregg Pasquarelli, Randy Stratman, and Skylar Tibbits conferred on July 9th and initially selected 14 entries to discuss. Varying in type and method, the entries depicted a diverse display of ideas and work, compelling the jury to choose four finalists and four honorable mentions. Finalists include Project 2XmT by Christopher Romero and Nicholas Bruscia, Cellular Complexity by Kais Al-Rawi, Julia Koerner, and Marie Boltenstern, Robot Assisted Sheet Metal Fabrication by Lik Hang Gu, Nathan Shobe, and Qi Su, and Sense by Isak Worre Foged and ANke Pasold. The first of the finalists, Project 2XmT, has a visibly developed working model and reveals the dramatic impact from various viewpoints created by small undulations or shifting panels. Juror Skylar Tibbits commented that “it’s the one most in line with the brief.” The next finalist, Cellular Complexity, has an appealing formal potential that tests the limits of architecture. Juror Phillip Anzalone remarked, “If it’s truly developed 3-dimensionally that would be fantastic.” Robotic Assisted Sheet Metal Fabrication was chosen as a finalist in context with the project per-Forming (HM), which received honorable mention, as both interacted with metal forming in distinctive, yet complimentary aspects. Juror Maria Mingallon trusts that “this one could really push the boundaries of TEX-FAB and could add to the exhibition at ACADIA." The last finalist, Sense, is simple with potential to be very dynamic. Tibbits remarked “it’s a known phenomena that could produce some exciting effects." Honorable mentions include Organized Crime by Kyle Miller, Evaporative Folding by Jeana Ripple, Hydromorph by Camden Greenlee and Brian Vesely, and per-FORMING by Jake Newsum and Ammar Kalo. The phase two jury includes Michele Addington, James Carpenter, Neil Denari, Mic Patterson, and William Zahner. Moving onto the second round, the four finalists will use $1000 stipends to develop prototypes of their projects, which will be installed at the ACADIA Adaptive Architecture Conference at the University of Waterloo in October 2013. At that time, the jurors will select a winner whose scheme will be assembled in full scale for the TEX-FAB 4.0 conference.
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ACADIA Design and Fabrication Competition Winners Announced

Three winning designs to be fabricated by Brooklyn-based Flatcut.

This October, winners of the ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture) design and fabrication competition will show off their parametric chops as part of the organization’s annual conference, now in its 30th year. Announced last week, winners were chosen from 15 finalists by a jury that included Tod Williams of TWBTA, Chris Sharples of SHoP Architects, Tom Wiscombe of Emergent, Dror Benshetrit of Studio Dror, and Thomas Christoffersen of BIG. The competition sought designs in three categories—furniture, partitions, and lighting—and entrants were encouraged to propose hybrid material assemblies that minimized waste and maximized material performance. Tomer Ben-Gal, founder of Brooklyn-based fabrication studio and competition co-sponsor Flatcut, served as technical advisor. Flatcut will fabricate the winning designs in its 100,000-square-foot Passaic, New Jersey, machine shop before they are sent to the conference, held at the University of Calgary, where they will be displayed from October 11-16.
  • Fabricator Flatcut
  • Designers Alison MacLachlan, Bryan Gartner, Richard Cotter, Elizabeth Boone, Adam Buente, Kyle Perry, Andrew Saunders
  • Location International
  • Status Design phase
  • Materials Rubber, heavyweight felt, aluminum, silicone, 3form Ecoresin, aircraft suspension cable
  • Process CNC milling, laser cutting, pressure press
Furniture: RECIP Designs in the furniture category had to be produced using two sheets of flat materials, one rigid and one flexible, no larger than 5 feet by 10 feet. Any material that would be available for sourcing by Flatcut was considered valid. The winning design, RECIP, is a modular furniture system by three students at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design. The project explores scoring techniques applied to 1/8-inch-thick recycled rubber, which is then folded into self-reinforcing and interlocking toothed panels and laminated to heavyweight felt batting. The team showed judges how the rigid yet flexible system could be folded into chairs, tables, shelving, or spatial dividers, then dismantled and recycled at the end of its life. “I think what attracted us [to RECIP] innately in a contemporary way is the fusion of two different materials and the way they performed together,” said competition judge Tom Wiscombe in his comments. “It involved certain types of techniques, like fusing, melting and different modes of manufacturing rather than using a single known tooling process.” Click here to see a PDF of the project boards. Partition: Hyperlaxity Partition category designs were permitted to use three 5-by-10-foot sheets of material to build their designs. The winner, Hyperlaxity: Parabolic Ligaments, was a collaboration between SOM’s Elizabeth Boone and PROJECTiONE design and fabrication studio founded by Adam Buente and Kyle Perry in 2010. The design uses aluminum components, including hundreds of v-clips, o-rings, i-bars, and triangular plates, joined by hexagonal silicone tendons with slits that allow the material to stretch over the aluminum pieces. Judge Dror Benshetrit said the non-modular form pushed parametric design. “I like how technically the inner rings, together with the other shapes create different opposite hexagon forms,” he said. Click here to see a PDF of the project boards. Lighting: Luminescent Limacon Like the furniture category, designs in the lighting category had to be produced using two sheets of rigid and flexible materials within the machine-able dimensions. Inspired in part by the fanciful linen collars of 17th-century Europe, the winning design is made with folded and nested ruffles of laser-cut 3form Ecoresin held together with a lattice of aircraft suspension cable, which produces tensile and compressive forces to create the light’s structural stability. Designer Andrew Saunders, an assistant professor of architecture Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, derived the pendant’s shape from a Limacon curve. The variables of this equation can be changed to produce different lighting effects based on conditions and performance criteria. “That it is two systems, one of a surface system and one of a kind of vector, is what I think together makes it look so beautiful and elegant,” commented Wiscombe. Click here to see the project boards.