Realising Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House

Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House is regarded as one of the most visionary projects in the history of 20th Century architecture. It was a project that spanned almost forty years, developed through sketches, drawings, plans and models between mid-1920’s to the 1960’s but it was never built. Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, considered it important to translate Kiesler’s architecture into reality.

Kent School of Architecture and Planning’s 3D CAD Technician, Julien Soosaipillai, built a digital model of the exterior shell from texts, drawings and photographs of Kiesler’s model for his unfinished Endless House project. This is the first step in DARC‘s current project to realise Frederick Kiesler’s ‘Endless House’.

Upcoming Digital Architecture Open Lecture: Christopher Leung, The Bartlett School of Architecture

The next Digital Architecture open lecture will be given by Dr Christopher Leung from The Bartlett School of Architecture with his talk titled, ‘Digital fabrication: Dialogue through manufacturing processes’ on Tuesday 12 February at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Architects have become accustomed to designing the physical fabric of buildings using digital tools. However, in an age of advanced manufacturing where there are possibilities enabled by the adoption of robotics and automation that are now widely available to architectural practice, architects are increasingly designing processes as much as components and assemblies. In this shift, architects can have a role to “Design for” aspects of these processes, where a given process can be for “Assembly”, “Disassembly” or “Measurement” to name a few.

Reflecting on the “Design for” considerations found in other industries such as automotive and aerospace, this lecture surveys a selection of the possibilities now afforded by digital fabrication and considers the implication for design options at the interface between digital representation and processes of making. These are presented through a series of case-study projects that have been carried out in collaboration with other educators, researchers and industry practitioners as well as current work at the Bartlett.

Christopher Leung trained as an architect at the Bartlett with experience in architectural and environmental design practice. He completed his engineering doctorate at UCL on passive variable performance facades. He is the programme director of the Masters in Design for Manufacture at UCL Here East, the new centre dedicated to making based at Stratford in east London.

He has worked on government-funded research projects into low-energy building technology, proof-of-concept build projects and post-doc research on the environmental evaluation of bio-receptive concrete. He has taught at the Bartlett in the Interactive Architecture Lab, BiotA Lab and the M.Sc in Architectural computation. He also carries out research into solar activated materials including bi-metals and shape memory alloys for novel applications in the facades of buildings to improve energy performance in collaboration with leading industry partners.

All welcome!

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: ‘Autonomous Additive Manufacturing on Mars’

The next Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by Josef Musil, Associate and Computational Designer at Foster +  Partners, with his talk, ‘Autonomous Additive Manufacturing on Mars’ which is due to take place on Tuesday 30th October at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Designing an outpost for a long-duration scientific expedition to an extreme environment such as Mars requires the basic qualities of functionality, comfort, and security. In this presentation we look at the key environmental conditions that govern the functionality of a Martian habitat and what it takes to design and build a comfortable home for a crew of four for 500 days with limited communication with Earth and most critically, how to ensure mission success, safety, and robustness through increased redundancy. These factors are collected here into a conceptual design proposal and multi-robot additive regolith construction system. This work is part of ongoing research at F+P specialist modelling group on robotics, large-scale additive construction, and architecture for extreme environments.

Josef Musil is an associate and a computational designer at Foster + Partners in London, where he is part of the research and parametric design oriented Specialist Modelling Group. In his work he focuses on applied research, application of new technologies, and algorithmic design to complex architectural and geometrical challenges.

Some of the projects he worked on include Safra neuron screen, where he built a generative model of a small section of brain also called cortical column with an automated workflow that reads 3D scans of neuroscientific scans as well as implements structural analysis and manufacturing constraints.

He also specialises on the application of small robotics within the office. This has been demonstrated by a working functional prototype of a small number of 3D printing swarm based robots for a NASA organized Mars habitat competition where Foster and Partners received second place. Other projects include a kinetic lighting sculpture activated by muscle wires and reacting to live brain wave signal reads.

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: Rupert Soar

Kent School of Architecture’s first open lecture of the academic year will be given by Dr Rupert Soar, and will be a presentation of his research. The lecture will take place on Tuesday 2nd October 2018 at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Rupert is reader in Construction Technologies at Nottingham Trent University, & Consultant through Freeform Construction and Engineering Ltd.  Rupert works between field research with termites and application in ‘digital construction’ technologies.  His special interest is how organisms integrate multiple functions within the same solution, because this could solve our own ‘resource scarcity’ issues.

Within construction, Rupert’s application work covers façade solutions, based on how termites harvest insolation effects to drive turnover of air, how they regulate moisture levels to extraordinary levels to support the colony, how they harvest transient air flows to drive complex gas exchange methods and how they integrate many functions at once.

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: Claudia Pasquero, Co-Director of ecoLogicStudio

This week’s second Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by Claudia Pasquero, from ecoLogicStudio on Thursday 15th February 2018 at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

The work Claudia has been involved in the past few years experiments on the application of recent scientific findings in Unconventional Computing to multi-scalar realms of architecture and urban design. The aim of this research agenda is to mobilize artificial and biological intelligence in search of a new mode of reasoning and therefore designing within a complex milieu where multiple degrees of stability, instability as well as diversity coexist.

In this framework, the shift to biological intelligence (intended as computation) stands for an attempt to engage with the current disconnection (alienation) between matter, information (big data) and energy, transforming the act of design into the possibility to hack into natural as well as artificial morphogenetic processes, in real time and designate novel realms of operations.

Methodologically OUR [object with universal relevance] aims to enable novel tactics of interaction to emerge where diffuse models supported by collective intelligence and distributed spatial memory are capable to suggest multiple strategies of interventions. Bottom up and top down models of planning become obsolete methods in the wake of OUR.

Claudia Pasquero’s work operates at the intersection of biology, computation and design. She is Director of the Urban Morphogenesis Lab at The Bartlett, Co-Director of ecoLogicStudio, Professor of Landscape Architecture at Innsbruck University and a senior staff member at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.

Claudia is also Head Curator of the Tallinn Architectural Biennale 2017. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally: at the FRAC Centre in Orléans, the Venice Architectural Biennale, ZKM Karlsruhe and the MilanoExpo2015 among others. Claudia has recently completed the BioTechHut Pavilion for Expo Astana 2017, HORTUS Astana 2017, Urban Algae Folly Aarhus 2017 and she is now working on a new commission for the FRAC Centre in Orléans.

Next week’s Digital Architecture Open Lecture: ‘Exploring the Computational Mass’

Next week’s Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by John Harding, Senior Lecturer at UWE on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Parametric design shifts authorship from object to a logical process. Treating machines as clerks however only touches the surface of their potential, and at worst creates a harmful abstraction promoting autonomy of form. The theorist Mario Carpo has recently described the ‘Second Digital Turn’ as the moment architects began developing flexible computational tools for thinking rather than those for making (although in truth, some have been doing this since the 1960s). If we acknowledge that the complexity of design cannot be reduced to a logical process and is inherently ‘messy’, how can computers and humans work together and where does this leave questions of authorship and control? With computers now writing their own algorithms, how best can we join the conversation?

John Harding has studied and practiced as both an architect and engineer for 20 years. In 2014 he received a doctorate from The University of Bath in computational design, focusing on genetic programming for early-stage design exploration. His current research interests lie in structural form-finding, evolutionary computing, and machine learning applications for design. He previously led the Ramboll Computational Design team in London before becoming Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of The West of England, UK.

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: ‘Worlds of possible plans and built forms’

This week’s Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by Philip Steadman from the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at UCL. His lecture entitled, ‘Worlds of possible plans and built forms’ will be held in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1 on Thursday 1st February 2018 at 6PM.

The lecture will describe methods for enumerating and cataloguing certain classes of plans and built forms exhaustively. These are rectangular plans with small numbers of rooms; and more complex rectangular built forms, described in terms of zones. The designs are laid out in what biologists call morphospaces: theoretical worlds of possible forms. Historical building types are shown to occupy particular areas within these worlds, because of their generic geometrical character. The purpose is not so much to provide a design method, as to give a strategic overview of the ranges of choice open to architects in design.

Philip Steadman is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Built Form Studies at the Bartlett School, University College London, and a Senior Research Associate at the UCL Energy Institute. His main research interests are in the geometry of buildings and cities, and their use of energy. With colleagues he is currently building a 3D model of the UK building stock, for use in energy analysis. He has published three books on geometry and architecture: The Geometry of Environment (with Lionel March, 1971), Architectural Morphology (1983) and Why Are Most Buildings Rectangular? (2017). His study of The Evolution of Designs: Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts appeared in 1979 and was republished in 2008. Vermeer’s Camera, his investigation of the Dutch painter’s use of optical aids, came out in 2001. In 2014 he published a book about building types, considered from both historical and geometrical points of view, with the title Building Types and Built Forms. He is currently working on Renaissance Fun: The Machines Behind the Scenes (2020?).

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: ‘A Visual Fabric of Space’

The next Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by Sam McElhinney, Course Leader of the BA Architecture at University of Creative Arts on Tuesday 21st November at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

‘A Visual Fabric of Space’

Sam McElhinney will be presenting his research work on isovist fields and discussing their import into the fundamentals of spatial cognition and understanding. He will demonstrate a new platform for architectural plan analysis, based on advanced digital coding techniques, that he has developed for practitioners, researchers and students to use. The lecture will include an outline of seven key spatial metrics and their relevance to the experience of an observer of a building, as well a history of some of his past digital coding experiments.

Sam currently runs the BA (Hons) Architecture at the Canterbury School of Architecture. He is a former member of the ‘Space Syntax Laboratory’ at UCL and his ongoing research is focussed on developing real-time and motive spatial analytic models. He is also a founding partner of MUD Architecture, a small design and research practice based in Canterbury.

From 2005 to 2012 Sam was a key member of Surface Architects. During this time Surface twice came third in BD’s Young Architect of the Year Award. Sam was Project Architect and Design Lead for Surface’s highest profile built project, a series of Wayfinding Structures in the 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford, East London. After leaving Surface he acted as a Design Manager at Jason Bruges Studio, running the design, construction and commissioning of the prestigious WWF Experience Installation.

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: Phil Radmall, PDP London

This week’s Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by Phil Radmall, entitled ‘Redesigning the past: Virtual Cathedrals: A Digital Reconstruction of a Vanished Monastery’ on Thursday 16th November at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

The dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s was one of the most revolutionary events in English history. King Henry VIII’s courtiers submitted a list of five Abbeys – including Waltham – thought worthy of a reprieve from dissolution, but Henry dismissed them all. Subsequently, Waltham Abbey was plundered and disassembled. All that remains today is the parish church.

What if Henry had said yes?

What would Waltham Abbey look like if, instead of destroying it, Henry VIII had agreed to turn the abbey into a Cathedral?

Phil Radmall proposes an alternate history.

Join Phil’s lecture to learn more about the history of Waltham and explore his alternative history. A counterfactual, in which Henry grants Waltham Abbey cathedral status.

Digital Architecture Open Lecture: Sarat Babu from Betatype

The upcoming Digital Architecture Open Lecture will be given by Sarat Babu from Betataype on Thursday 26th October at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Sarat is a Designer and Engineer based in London, working at the convergence between Architectured Materials, Industrial Design, Computational Geometry and Additive Manufacturing. He founded and currently runs Betatype; which creates technology — from the micron to the metre — to maximise what can be achieved with additive manufacturing, to open doors for all sectors to the benefits of additive manufacturing technologies. We do this through our deep expertise in the fields of design, engineering and computation. We build technologies that help to navigate the new frontiers in the man-made.

Sarat has been the recipient of various awards and grants; including Materials Innovation Fellowship 2015, Proof of Concept Funding for Medical Engineering Solutions in Osteoarthritis 2014, Industrial Fellowship: The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, 2011 and Dyson Foundation Bursary 2009.

He lectures internationally and his work has been published and exhibited internationally.