Intermediate 13 Hyper Volume, Soomeen Hahm (tutor), ShuYing Mi (student)


Soomeen Hahm

The contemporary design paradigm has shifted towards non-standardised architectural production, avoiding serial repetition of parts and allowing for mass customisation. The ideal scenario suggests a file-to-factory digital manufacturing workflow through the use of contemporary design techniques. The evolution and constant development of digital fabrication processes, such as 3D printing and robotic fabrication seems to resolve the problems of customised production. However, the manner in which these techniques are utilised remains, in most cases, fundamentally Fordist - parts are still assembled according to a singular, prescribed blueprint and produced to fit a specific form. In opposition to this prevailing trend in digital design, Intermediate 13 will conduct research into combinatorics and rule-based design systems as a different way of understanding the relationship from part to whole. The mathematical term of combinatorics describes a system composed of finite or countable discrete elements. Our unit will be investigating this idea, while closely looking into the computational logic behind such systems and their open-ended outcomes.

The design brief will focus on developing a multi-functional componentshape grammar with the ability to be assembled and re-assembled into different functional objects. Each project starts by setting up the individual design briefs for two objects of different functions in product/furniture and/or architectural/building scale. The investigation then focuses on two main topics: geometry and materiality. We will investigate geometries (body-plans) of these discrete components at product level and establish the rules and computational methods for their assembly. This will form the basis of the shape grammar, which will be further developed and tested against sets of functional criteria. Parallel to this, students will explore different fabrication methods and materials with a focus on phase-changing materials or multi-material systems.

The unit will heavily utilise computational and algorithmic design techniques. Apart from learning the basic CAD and 3D modelling software, students will be taught and expected to gain basic to advanced coding skills.

Unit Staff

Soomeen Hahm is founder of SoomeenHahm Design, a London-based firm focusing on architectural design, research and education. Her research interests are focused on the changing paradigm of architectural design thinking under the impact of increasing computational power. She is specialised in designing through the use of coding, digital simulations and 3D modelling. She teaches at the Bartlett and the AA.


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