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Versatility and Vicissitude: Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design

Michael Hensel (Guest Editor), Achim Menges (Guest Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-51687-4
144 pages
April 2008
Versatility and Vicissitude: Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design (0470516879) cover image


This third AD by the guest-editors of the highly successful Emergence and techniques and technologies in Morphogenetic Design titles shifts the morpho-ecological design project into the realm of performance. Whereas the dictionary definition of performance -to 'carry out an action' or 'to fulfill a task' - invokes a tired utilitarian debate, Hensel and Menges inject the meaning of the word 'performance' with an entirely new life. In this context, form is redefined not as the shape of a material object alone, but as the multitude of effects, a milieu of conditions, modulations and microclimates that emanate from an object's exchange with its specific environment, a dynamic relationship that is perceived and interacted with by a subject. A synergetic employment of performance and morpho-ecological techniques combine to create integral design solutions that will render an alternative model for sustainability. This issue presents historical precursors and precedents for this approach, as well as the current state of the art of morpho-ecological design. Key contributors include: Klaus Bollinger and Manfred Grohmann of Bollinger & Grohmann, Aleksandra Jaeschke, OCEAN, Professor Remo Pedreschi, Defne Sunguroglu, Peter Trummer and Michael Weinstock.
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Table of Contents

Helen Castle

6 Introduction

Versatility and Vicissitude An Introduction to Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design
Michael Hensel and Achim Menges

Form, Force and Structure A Brief History
Remo Pedreschi

Form, Force, Performance Multi-Parametric Structural Design
Klaus Bollinger, Manfred Grohmann and Oliver Tessmann

Metabolism and Morphology
Michael Weinstock

Material Performance
Michael Hensel, Defne Sungurogólu and Achim Menges

Manufacturing Performance
Achim Menges

Performance-Oriented Design Precursors and Potentials
Michael Hensel

54 Inclusive Performance: Efficiency Versus Effectiveness Towards a Morpho-Ecological Approach for Design
Michael Hensel and Achim Menges

64 Complex Brick Assemblies
Defne Sunguroglu

74 Membrane Spaces
Michael Hensel and Achim Menges

Michael Hensel and Achim Menges

Environmental Intensifiers
Aleksandra Jaeschke

Engineering Ecologies
Peter Trummer

Designing Morpho-Ecologies Versatility and Vicissitude of Heterogeneous Space
Michael Hensel and Achim Menges

Interior Eye
Craftsteak, New York
Jayne Merkel

Building Profile
Public Toilet, Gravesend
David Littlefield

Practice Profile
Mark Taylor

Unit Factor
Renewable Types and the Urban Plan
Christopher Lee and Sam Jacoby

Spiller’s Bits
In Praise of the Blur
Neil Spiller

Yeang’s Eco-Files
Recharging your Bio-Batteries with a Can of Coke
Ken Yeang

McLean’s Nuggets
Will McLean

The Social Call
Valentina Croci

Site Lines
Making Waves at East Beach Café
Howard Watson

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Author Information

Michael U Hensel is an architect, writer and principal researcher in OCEAN and the Emergence and Design Group, as well as a board member of BIONIS (the Biomimetic Network for Industrial Sustainability), and co-founder and co-director of the Emergent Technologies and Design masters programme at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He is also on the editorial boards of AD and JBE (the Journal for Bionic Engineering). Recent publications include AD Emergence: Morphogenetic Design Strategies (2004), AD Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic Design (2006), and Morpho-Ecologies (AA Publications, 2006). Forthcoming publications include a book entitled Heterogeneous Space Reader, which he is co-editing with Professor Christopher Hight and Professor Achim Menges, to be published by John Wiley and Sons in early 2009. He is currently working on the concept and content for a peer-reviewed architectural research journal that will focus on research by design.


Professor Achim Menges is an architect and partner in OCEAN and the Emergence and Design Group. He studied at the Technical University Darmstadt and graduated from the Architectural Association with Honours. He has taught at the AA as Studio Master of the Emergent Technologies and Design masters programme since 2002, and as Unit Master of Diploma Unit 4 from 2003 to 2006. Since 2005 he has been Professor of Form Generation and Materialization at the HfG Offenbach University for Art and Design in Germany. His research focuses on the development of integral design processes at the intersection of evolutionary computation, parametric design, biomimetic engineering and computer-aided manufacturing that enable a highly articulated, performative built environment. His research projects have been published and exhibited in Europe, Asia and the US. He received the FEIDAD (Far Eastern International Digital Architectural Design) Outstanding Design Award in 2002, the FEIDAD Design Merit Award in 2003, the Archiprix International Award 2003, RIBA Tutor Price 2004, the International Bentley Educator of the Year Award 2005 and the ACADIA 2007 Award for Emerging Digital Practice.



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