Rethinking design and materiality in architecture at the age of computational design
Throughout the history of architecture, designing and making of new forms has been guided by the simple rule of shape economy. Perpendicular and arched forms were prevalent, since they can be easily and quickly translated and built on site. As William Mitchell observed, architects drew what they could build, and built what they could draw. Development of drawing tools also had an influence on development of new geometric forms through different ages and the relationship between drawing tools and fabrication process has still been retained. Along with the development of digital tools for architectural representation, a growing interest in complex architectural forms emerged.
Digital tools changed not only the representation, but also the way of thinking about the design, as well as the way we use and perceive materials. Materiality in the digital age has been enriched with characteristics of computational design, making architecture more versatile and diversified. Such interplay between material and digital processes in construction and fabrication is defined as a new architectural phenomenon called digital materiality (F. Gramazio & M. Kohler), material ecology (N. Oxman) or new structuralism (R. Oxman & R. Oxman). Thus, designing and making new forms in the age of computational design goes far beyond parametric play of complex drawing patterns, towards a new way of thinking about digital design, interwoven with new material and fabrication processes. The lecture explores and illustrates in what way design and materiality have changed in the age of computational design.
Bojan Tepavčević is an architect and an assistant professor at the University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Department of Architecture and Urbanism, where he teaches courses in computational design and architectural representation. He has lectured at UNITEC Institute of Technology, New Zealand as a visiting professor. Currently, he is the head of the master’s program “Digital Techniques, Design and Production in Architecture and Urbanism” at the University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences.
He was awarded the International Trimo Research Award in Ljubljana in 2011, for his PhD dissertation about the influence of geometric representation of space on contemporary architecture. He is a coauthor of the book “Architectural Scale Models in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing“ (Springer Vienna 2013), as well as the author of many research papers in the field of contemporary architectural theory of design, computational design and advanced modelling strategies in architecture.