MArch in Architecture & Urbanism (Design Research Laboratory) 2014 DRL Final Phase 2 Jury with invited critics Jeff Kipnis, Falvio Manzoni, Jim Eyre, Mark Foster Gage, Michael Hansmeyer, Mark Cousins, Brett Steele and others

Design Research: Experimentation and Innovation (v.17)

Theodore Spyropoulos, Patrik Schumacher, Robert Stuart-Smith, Shajay Bhooshan, Ryan Dillon, Pierandrea Angius, Doreen Bernath, Mollie Claypool, Apostolos Despotidis, Mostafa El-Sayed, Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu, Tyson Hosmer

MArch, 16 months (four terms)

Experimentation and Innovation (v.17) The DRL is a 16-month post-professional design programme leading to a Masters of Architecture and Urbanism (MArch) degree. The DRL investigates digital and analogue forms of computation in the pursuit of systemic design applications that are scenario- and time-based. Considering controls systems as open acts of design experimentation, the DRL examines production processes as active agents in the development of Proto-Design systems.

Course Structure Four terms of study are divided into two phases. Phase I, a three-term academic year beginning each autumn, introduces design techniques and topics through a combination of team-based studio, workshop and seminar courses. In Phase II, which begins the following autumn, teams carry forward their Phase I work in the form of comprehensive design thesis projects. At the end of January these projects are presented to a panel of distinguished visiting critics, after which each team documents their 16 months of design research work in a hardbound book.

Phase I Design Research Agenda: Behaviour Complexity (v.2) The DRL continues its exploration of prototypical design systems with the introduction of our next design research agenda, Behavioural Complexity, which will investigate architecture as an instrument that engages material and social forms of interaction. Social scenarios will be coupled with material life-cycles as a way of speculating on architecture's role in how we live. Behavioural, parametric and generative methodologies of computational design are coupled with physical computing and analogue experiments to create dynamic and reflexive feedback processes. New forms of spatial organisation are explored that are neither type- nor site-dependent, but instead evolve as ecologies and environments seeking adaptive and hyper-specific features. This performance-driven approach seeks to develop novel design proposals concerned with the everyday. The iterative methodologies focus on investigations of spatial, structural and material organisation, engaging in contemporary discourses of architecture and urbanism.

Phase II Design Research Agenda: Behavioural Complexity (v.1) The possibilities of Behavioural Complexity are explored in four parallel research studios, run by Theodore Spyropoulos, Patrik Schumacher, Robert Stuart-Smith and Shajay Bhooshan. Theodore Spyropoulos's studio, Behavioural Agency, investigates autonomous self-aware and assembled systems that look at machine learning, collective building and environmental conditioning. Tectonic Articulation - Making Engineering Logics Speak, led by Patrik Schumacher, instrumentalises engineering and fabrication logics for the purpose of articulation - the adaptive differentiation of load-bearing structures as well as the adaptive differentiation of volumes and envelopes according to the building's environmental performance.
Robert Stuart-Smith's studio, Behavioural Production, develops adaptive, rapid and on-demand construction enabled by swarm 3D-printing that orchestrates design and production as a singular creative process able to respond to diverse social and economic time-based scenarios. Shajay Bhooshan's studio, Synthetic Equilibria, researches 'when machines will design and build', in terms of architectural design and how can we describe, evaluate and search for the right designs.

Phase I Design Workshops: Material Behaviour
Theodore Spyropoulos, Robert Stuart-Smith, Shajay Bhooshan, Pierandrea Angius, Mostafa El-Sayed

Term 1
Term 1 begins with two sets of three design workshop modules emphasising computational and material prototyping as an analytical methodology and the prime mode of design production and representation. Each five-week module focuses on a set of methods and intended design output, introducing Phase I students to a range of concepts and techniques that can be taken forward to future workshops and the year-long Phase I and Phase II studio projects.

Phase II Prototyping Workshop: Adaptive Systems and Structures
Theodore Spyropoulos, Robert Stuart-Smith, Mostafa El-Sayed, Shajay Bhooshan

Term 1
This five-week workshop at the midpoint of Phase II addresses a detailed part of the spatial, structural, material and environmental systems of each team's thesis project, with an emphasis on modelling techniques which act as feedback for the testing and development of the larger-scale proposals. A presentation in November will serve as a major interim review.

Phase I Core Seminars:

Design as Research I – Open Source
Robert Stuart-Smith with Mollie Claypool
Term 1
Pursuing design as a form of research raises a series of questions that this course will examine in relation to larger technological, economic and cultural contexts. The seminar will explore ways of associating design with forms of research, as well as the implications of this for architectural and design practice. Weekly sessions will include presentations related to course readings.

Synthesis: Project Submission
Writing & Research Documentation
Winston Hampel & Doreen Bernath
Terms 1 & 2
These weekly sessions will review the basics of writing and research related to DRL course submissions. Presentations will cover resources in London and beyond, the preparation of thesis abstracts, writing styles and issues related to essays, papers and project booklets. Tutorials will discuss ongoing research topics and seminar and studio presentations.

Behaviour: Examining the Proto-Systemic
Theodore Spyropoulos with Ryan Dillon
Term 2
This core seminar will articulate a behaviour-based agenda that engages experimental forms of material and computational practice. Examining cybernetic and systemic thinking through seminal forms of prototyping and experimentation, the seminar will look at the thought experiments that have manifested since the early 1950s as maverick machines, architectures and ideologies. Team-based presentations will examine these methods and outputs as case studies for studio experimentation.

Conceptualising Computing
Shajay Bhooshan and Mostafa El-Sayed
Term 1
This seminar will provide a foundation in the contemporary history of design computation, leading to the deployment and conceptualisation of computational logics and strategies relative to design objectives.

Design as Research II: Computational Space
Robert Stuart-Smith with Mollie Claypool
Term 2
This seminar is an overview of computational approaches to architectural design, strategies and processes. Weekly readings on software technologies and design systems will relate computational work in art, music, new media, science and other sources to contemporary architectural discourses around parametric design. Teams will make weekly presentations related to the readings and an analysis of selected projects.

Software Platforms: Maya, Rhino, 3D Studio, Processing, Arduino, Softimage, Adobe Suite, Python, Openframeworking & Scripting
Shajay Bhooshan, Mostafa El-Sayed, Paul Jeffries, Torsten Broeder, Tyson Hosmer, Karoly Markos, Jorge X Méndez-Cáceres, Ashwin Shah
Terms 1 & 2
These optional workshops introduce the digital tools and systems used in the DRL, giving a grounding in the basic skills required to construct and control parametric models and interactive presentations. Sessions will build up to advanced scripting, programming and dynamic modelling techniques.

Unit Staff

Theodore Spyropoulos is director of Minimaforms. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at MIT and cofounded the New Media Research Initiative at the AA. He has taught in the graduate school of the University of Pennsylvania and the Royal College of Art, Innovation Design Engineering Department and previously worked as a project architect for the offices of Peter Eisenman and Zaha Hadid Architects.

Patrik Schumacher is partner at Zaha Hadid Architects. He studied philosophy and architecture in Bonn, Stuttgart and London and received his doctorate at the Institute for Cultural Science at Klagenfurt University. He is a visiting professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and university professor at Innsbruck University.

Robert Stuart-Smith is a director of Robert Stuart-Smith Design and co-founding director of the research practice Kokkugia. He has practised architecture in the UK, USA and Australia for the offices of Lab Architecture Studio, Grimshaw Architects, Arup's AGU (Advanced Geometry Unit) and Balmond Studio as an algorithmic design consultant. Kokkugia and RS- SDesign's work have been widely published and exhibited including recent acquisitions for the FRAC permanent collection and three consecutive nominations for Russia's Chernikov Prize.

Shajay Bhooshan is a MPhil candidate at the University of Bath and a Research Fellow at Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH, Zurich where he is a research assistant in Block Research Group. He also heads the research activities of the Computation and Design (co|de) group at Zaha Hadid Architects, London. He completed his MArch at the AA in 2006.

Pierandrea Angius works for Zaha Hadid Architects. He holds a degree in architecture and a PhD in Building Technology from the Politecnico of Milan and an MArch in Architecture and Urbanism from the AA. Since 2009 he has been teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Visiting Design Studio.

Doreen Bernathis an architect and a theorist across disciplines of design, technology, philosophy, visual art, media and cultures. Trained in Cambridge and at the AA, she won a RIBA scholarship and was a finalist in 2011 RIBA President's Award for Outstanding Thesis. She teaches at AA, UCL, Leeds and is the founding director of SpaceMedia Int and DEZACT.

Mollie Claypool has held teaching positions at the AA since 2009 in the DRL and History and Theory Studies programmes, as well as at the University of Reading and University of Brighton. She has worked with the RCA, AA Publications and Phaidon Press. She studied architecture at Pratt Institute and received her Masters from the AA.

Ryan Dillon studied at Syracuse University and the AA. Currently he is Unit Master of AA Intermediate 5, teaches in the History and Theory programme and works as a designer at EGG Office. Previously he worked at Moshe Safdie Architects.

Tyson Hosmer works as a project architect and computational researcher with Cecil Balmond in London. He has worked in the offices of Asymptote Architecture, Axi:Ome and Kokkugia. He holds a Masters from the AA. He has lectured and taught in the US and Europe.

Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu is a space and motion designer and his work has been exhibited in the UK, US, Australia, Japan and Europe. He runs 'CtrlArchDel' Studio and teaches and holds workshops at institutions such as the AA, Princeton University School of Architecture, Bartlett School of Architecture and the University of Nottingham.

Mostafa El-Sayed iis currently working as a member of the Computation and Design group at Zaha Hadid Architects. He is a graduate of the AA and the American University of Sharjah. He has taught and presented work at various events, workshops and institutions both in London and internationally.

Albert Williamson-Taylor has been the lead technical tutor on the DRL MArch programme since 2011. As cofounder of design-led structural engineering firm AKT II he brings a passion for cutting-edge technology to the many projects that he oversees. He has extensive experience in award-winning designs that emphasise innovation and computational research in combination with a sustainable approach to technology and respect for heritage.

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