Material Synthesis: Fusing the Physical and the Computational
A new understanding of the material in architecture is fast emerging. Designers are no longer conceiving of the digital realm as separate from the physical world. Instead computation is being regarded as the key interface for material exploration and vice versa. This represents a significant perceptual shift in which the materiality of architecture is no longer seen to be a fixed property and passive receptor of form, but is transformed into an active generator of design and an adaptive agent of architectural performance. In stark contrast to previous linear and mechanistic modes of fabrication and construction, materialisation is now beginning to coexist with design as explorative robotic processes. This represents a radical departure from both the trite modernist emphasis on 'truth to materials' and the dismissal of materials by the previous generation of digital architects.
The issue features designers, researchers and thinkers that are at the forefront of exploring new modes of material enquiry and its deep interrelationship with technology, biology and culture. Through their work, which unfolds from multifaceted alliances between the fields of design, engineering and natural sciences, it seeks to trace the emergence of a novel material culture in architecture.
- Architectural and engineering contributors include: Sean Ahlquist, Martin Bechthold, Philippe Block, Karola Dierichs, Jan Knippers, Achim Menges, Neri Oxman, Steffen Reichert and Tobias Schwinn.
- Scientific and philosophical perspectives provided by: Mario Carpo, Manuel De Landa, Neil Gershenfeld and Thomas Speck.
- Features the design research of: Harvard's Material Processes and Systems Group, MIT's Mediated Matter Group and Stuttgart University's Institute for Computational Design.
About the Guest-Editor 06
Introduction Fusing the Computational and the Physical: Towards a Novel Material Culture 08
The New Materiality: Towards a Novel Material Culture 16
The New Science of Form-Searching 22
The New Cyber-Physical Making in Architecture: Computational Construction 28
Self-X materials and Structures in Nature and Technology: Bio-inspiration as a Driving Force for Technical Innocation 34
Thomas Speck, Jan Knippers and Olga Speck
Fibrous Tectonics 40
Achim Menges and Jan Knippers
ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2012: Coreless Filament Winding Based on the Morphological Principles of an Arthropod Exoskeleton 48
Jan Knippers, Riccardo, La Magna, Achim Menges, Steffen Reichert, Tobias Schwinn,and Frédéric Waimer
ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2013–14: Modular Coreless Filament Winding Based on Beetle Elytra 54
Moritz Doerstelmann, Jan Knippers, Achim Menges, Stefana Parascho, Marshall Prado, and Tobias Schwinn
ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014–15: Fibre Placement on a Pneumatic Body Based on a Water Spider Web 60
Moritz Doerstelmann, Jan Knippers, Valentin Koslowski, Achim Menges, Marshall Prado, Gundula Schieber, Lauren Vasey
Performative Wood: Physically Programming the Responsive Architecture of the HygroScope and HygroSkin Projects 66
Achim Menges and Steffen Reichert
Structural Stone Surfaces: New Compression Shells Inspired by the Past 74
Philippe Block, Tom Van Mele and Matthias Rippmann
Membrane Morphologies: Heterogeneous Forces and Articulated Material Form 80
Granular Morphologies: Programming Material Behaviour with Designed Aggregates 86
Karola Dierichs and Achim Menges
Fabrication Agency: Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall 92
Tobias Schwinn and Achim Menges
Templating Design for Biology and Biology for Design 100
Hacking Science: The ALivE Group’s Material Design Methods for Interdisciplinary Enivornments 108
Martin Bechthold and Allen Sayegh
Computational Design and Automotive Material:Cross-disciplinary Design Research by the Mercedes-Benz Center of Advanced Design and the Institute for Computational Design (ICD), University of Stuttgart 114
Bastian Baudy, Steffen Koehl, Achim Menges and Steffen Reichert
Macrofabrication with Digital Materials: Robotic Assembly 122
Neil Gershenfeld, Matthew Carney, Benjamin Jenett, Sam Calisch and Spencer Wilson
Counterpoint Actualising (Overlooked) Material Capacities 128