MSc./M.Arch Emergent Technologies and Design Installation view of the Emtech space at Projects Review 2015

Directors Michael Weinstock, George Jeronimidis Studio Master Evan Greenberg Tutors Elif Erdine, Manja van de Worp


16 months (four terms)


12 months (three terms, plus thesis work)

The Emergent Technologies & Design programme continues to evolve through the development of our research in the studio, in seminars and in dissertations. The programme aims each year to produce new research that takes forward our interests and expertise in material organisation and the design and development of systems in a variety of scales.

Our work focuses on the interdisciplinary effects of emergence, biomimetics and the evolutionary computation of design and production technologies, which are developed as creative inputs for new architectural and urban design processes. Building on our achievements, we will include greater involvement from experts in the fields of material computation, urban physics and algorithmic urban design, engineering, advanced computation, and computationally driven fabrication. We continue to organise lectures, tutorials and workshops from industry leaders, including Wolf Mangelsdorf (BuroHappold), Francis Aish (Foster + Partners), Achim Menges (ICD Stuttgart), Jordi Truco and Sylvia Felipe (Hybrida/Elisava) and Suryansh Chandra (Automata Technologies).

The instruments of analysis and design in Emergent Technologies are computational processes. The seminar courses and core studio are designed to familiarise students with these instruments, their associated conceptual fields and with their application to architectural design research. The courses are thematically and instrumentally cross-linked with the core studio and each other. Core Studio 1 centres on the exploration of material systems and their development into distinct surfaces and assemblies. These assemblies demonstrate the potential for integrated structural and environmental performance, which produces local ‘microclimatic’ variations that define spatial arrangement. In Core Studio 2 we examine urban systems and generate new material, social and ecological organisations as part of an investigation into a larger, more complex piece of the city.

Core Studio 1 & 2

Core Studio 1 - Material Systems

Evan Greenberg with Manja van de Worp and Elif Erdine, Term 1
Physical and digital computational techniques are used to develop the architectural qualities of different material systems tuned to specific climatic contexts. Digital models will explore possibilities in response to various parameters while physical models will explore the integration of material behaviour and fabrication processes. The studio concludes with fully fabricated and digitally modelled, doubly curved material systems that exhibit integrated structural and environmental properties.
Core Studio 1 is supported by workshops on associative modelling and computational analysis methods in Grasshopper/Rhino.

Core Studio 2 - City Systems

Michael Weinstock and Evan Greenberg with Elif Erdine, Term 2
The Core Studio 2 project extends the system logics explored in Core Studio 1 to a larger and more complex piece of the city. The microclimatic, typological and social organisations of a defined urban tissue are studied, and an analysis is made of interactions across the hierarchical levels analogous to cell, tissue and organ. A generative set of rules at neighbourhood- scale is developed and initiated. The studio concludes with the design of a new urban tissue and its systems with digital and physical models. Core Studio 2 is supported by workshops on Python scripting and computational analysis methods in Grasshopper/Rhino and weekly student-led discussion sessions.

Emergence and Design Seminar Course

Michael Weinstock, Term 2
Emergence has been an important concept in biology, mathematics, artificial intelligence, information theory and computer science, newer domains of climatic modelling and other complex systems analysis and simulations. A survey is presented of the mathematics of evolution and embryological development, the data structures and processes of the genome, population dynamics and pressures. Applications to architectural design are explored in generative design experiments, which conclude with the detailed modelling and analysis of a set of evolved urban block morphologies. The concepts and workflows developed in the Emergence and Design Seminar are developed within a design framework in Core Studio 2.

Natural Systems and Biomimetics Seminar Course

George Jeronimidis with Evan Greenberg, Term 1
An introduction to the ways in which organisms have evolved through form, materials and structures in response to varied functions and environments is followed by an account of engineering design principles that have been abstracted from nature in current research projects for industry and material science. A study is made of a natural system (general form, anatomy, energy flows and behaviour), along with an exploration of interrelations and an abstraction of engineering principles. The methods of analysis as well as system logics and material performance studied in this seminar will be further developed within Core Studio 1.

Design Research Studio and the Thesis/Dissertation

Michael Weinstock, George Jeronimidis and Evan Greenberg with Programme Staff, Terms 3 & 4
Three main fields of design research are offered: Active Material Systems with Advanced Fabrication, Natural Ecological Systems Design (currently focused on shorelines and deltas), and Urban Metabolic Design (presently centred on the algorithmic design for energetic models of new cities in emergent biomes).
Students may choose one of the three fields and will work in pairs. The design research studio facilitates a deeper understanding of emergence and its application to advanced production in architecture, urbanism and ecological engineering, while integrating theoretical discourses, science and the insights gained from experiments. The studio will develop students? abilities to analyse complex issues and to engage in independent research, working towards the presentation of the fully developed individual thesis/dissertation proposal.

Unit Staff

Michael Weinstock was born in Germany, lived as a child in the Far East and West Africa, and then attended an English public school. At the age of 17, after reading Joseph Conrad, he ran away to sea, where he spent years in traditional sailing ships, gaining shipyard and building experience. He studied architecture at the AA where he has taught since 1989. His research interest lies in exploring the convergence of biomimetic engineering, architecture, emergence and material sciences. He received the 2008 Acadia Award for Excellence and has published The Architecture of Emergence and Emergent Technologies and Design ? Towards a Biological Paradigm for Architecture. He has been visiting professor at Rome, Barcelona, Calgary and Yale.

George Jeronimidis is the director of the Centre for Biomimetics in the School of Construction Management and Engineering. He is an active member of the Smart Materials and Structures Committee of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IoM3) and has published extensively in these fields. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute of Colloid and Interfaces in Potsdam and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Virtual and Physical Prototyping.

Evan Greenberg is a researcher, designer and educator with interests in biomimicry, advanced fabrication processes, and resilient systems and urban microclimates. He has worked with architects, engineers, artists and fashion designers around the world. He has taught at the AA since 2008 upon gaining his MSc with distinction in Emergent Technologies and Design. Evan has directed workshops and lectured internationally and is a fellow of the Biomimicry Institute.

Elif Erdine is an architect and researcher. Her recently completed PhD thesis (2015) focuses on the integration of tower subsystems through generative design methodologies informed by biomimetic analogies. Since 2010 she has taught at various AA Visiting School programmes, where her teaching experience explores generative design techniques, the integration of algorithmic design methods with large-scale digital fabrication tools, and physical computing.

Manja van de Worp trained as an architect and structural engineer at the Technical University of Eindhoven and Emtech at the AA. Her interests lie in finding synergies between structural design and architecture through technology, geometry and fabrica- tion. She has worked for Arup in London in the Advanced Geometry Unit and Advanced Technolo- gy and Research Group and is now a Principal at NOUS Engineering London.

Programme site


Graduate Admissions Team AA School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: 020 7887 4067 / 4007

Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2015-16
Foundation Course Booklet

Graduate Prospectus

Travel Insurance Booking Form


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