Important COVID-19 / Coronavirus information and FAQs

Organised by Kostas Grigoriadis

Future Matters: The Imminent Reality of Multi-materiality

Series: Symposium
Date: Friday 20 February 2015
Time: 10:00
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 169 mins

When describing their research programme for sending out in space by 2020 the world’s first 3D printed satellite, scientists from the European Space Agency pointed out that "in the world of materials it’s the mixing of [...] different chemical elements that is vital [...]: we hardly use pure metals but we do use compounds, alloys and composites; the actual number of combinations and ratios of mixing elements is infinite" (ESA, 2014). Being "closer to alchemy than architectural tectonics [...] multi-materiality is the holy grail of materials scientists" (Wiscombe, 2012), while in architecture initial research in the field of multi-material design is only beginning to become evident, albeit in a dispersed manner.

The symposium will bring together architects, designers, scientists, material researchers, theorists and futurists in order to discuss what this game-changing multi-material shift will bring about for architecture. The elimination of centuries- old messy building processes, the convergence of disciplines, radical energy, resource and material savings, the re- emergence of theories of continuity and material agency, the rethinking of current design methodologies and an ensuing aesthetic of gradients as opposed to sharp boundaries, are some of the themes to be discussed in the event.


Morning Session (10.00- 13.00)
•10.00- Welcome & Intro (Kostas Grigoriadis)
•10.10- Stefan Bassing (Bartlett GAD RC6, Zaha Hadid Architects)
•10.30- Michael Herrmann (Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design, University of Stuttgart)
•10.50- Mostafa El Sayed/Vishu Bhooshan (CODE Group, Zaha Hadid Architects)
•11.10- Alexandros Tsamis (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez)
•11.40- Francis Bitonti (Francis Bitonti Studio)
•12.20- Discussion (Led by Roberto Bottazzi)

Afternoon Session (14.30- 18.00)
•14.30- Daniel Richards/Martyn Amos (Dalton Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University)
•14.50- André Studart (Department of Complex Materials, ETH Zürich)
•15.10- Andy Payne/Panagiotis Michalatos (Lift Architects/Harvard GSD)
•16.10- Lambros Malafouris (Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford)
•16.40- Rachel Armstrong (School of Architecture, Landscape & Planning, University of Newcastle)
•17.20- Discussion (Led by Theodore Spyropoulos)


Martyn Amos is Professor of Novel Computation at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research encompasses complexity, nature-inspired computing and synthetic biology. He is the author of Genesis Machines: The New Science of Biocomputing, and co-editor of Beta-Life, a new collection of “science into fiction” stories centred on artificial life.

Rachel Armstrong is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the Department of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. She is also a 2010 Senior TED Fellow establishing an alternative approach to sustainability that uses the computational properties of the natural world to develop a 21st century production platform for the built environment, which she calls 'living' architecture.

Stefan Bassing studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. In 2012, as a scholar of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), he continued his research at the Bartlett GAD focusing on contemporary design methodologies involving computation and object-orientated research for the capacity to comprehend and respond to architecture and design on a multiplicity of scales He is currently a unit tutor at GAD and a designer for Zaha Hadid Architects.

Vishu Bhooshan currently works as an architect at Zaha Hadid Architects as part of the Computation and Design (CO|DE) group at London. He completed his Bachelor degree from Pune, India (2010) and pursued his masters at the Architectural Association’s Design Research Lab (2013).

Francis Bitonti uses computational methodologies and smart materials to create new aesthetic languages for the built environment. His work has been published internationally in institutions including the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum and most recently has garnered media coverage for his 3D printed gown for fashion icon Dita von Teese. He lives in New York where he runs his design practice.

Mostafa ElSayed is currently a member of the Computation and Design (CO|DE) group at Zaha Hadid Architects and Course Tutor in the Design Research Lab at the Architectural Association. He is a graduate of the AA and the American University of Sharjah. He has taught and presented work at various events, workshops & institutions both in London and internationally.

Michael Herrmann studied civil engineering at the Universities of Stuttgart and Calgary, graduating in 2007. Following his studies he worked as a structural engineer at Werner Sobek Design and since 2009 he has been a research associate at the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) at the University of Stuttgart. His work focuses on gradient concrete and energy efficient construction.

Lambros Malafouris MPhil, PhD (Cambridge) is a Research and Teaching Fellow in Creativity, Cognition, and Material Culture at Keble College and the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. His primary research interests lie in the archaeology of mind and the philosophy of material culture. His publications include How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement (2013) and Material Agency: Towards a Non- Anthropocentric Approach (2008) among others.

Panagiotis Michalatos is an architect and assistant professor of architecture technology at Harvard GSD. He has worked as a computational design researcher for AKT in London, where, he provided consultancy and developed computational solutions for high profile projects. Panagiotis has also worked as a performance space interaction designer in a long lasting collaboration with dance company CCAP.

Andrew Payne is an architect and Senior Building Information Specialist at Case-Inc. He holds a doctoral degree from Harvard’s GSD and a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. Andrew’s research focuses on smart buildings, robotics and 3D printing. He has lectured and taught workshops at institutions throughout the US, Canada and Europe and has held teaching positions at Columbia University and the Pratt Institute.

Daniel Richards is a Research Associate in the Biological and Sensory Computation Group at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests lie at the intersection of architectural design, bio-inspired engineering and computer science. His ongoing work uses bio-inspired computation to create high-performance structures with finely tuned physical properties.

André R. Studart obtained his PhD on Materials Science and Engineering from the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil, in 2002. Following postdoctoral studies at ETH Zürich (2002-2007) and Harvard University (2007-2008), he joined in 2009 the Department of Materials at ETH Zürich as Professor for Complex Materials.

Alexandros Tsamis is a trained architect, currently an Associate Professor and Head of the Post Professional Graduate Program in the School of Design at Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago, Chile. He holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from AUTh in Greece, a SMArchS (Building Technology) and a PhD (Computation) from the MIT Department of Architecture. Previously, Tsamis has been a lecturer at MIT and faculty at The Ohio State University.


Panel Discussion Chairs:

Theodore Spyropoulos is an architect and educator. He directs the innovative architecture and design studio Minimaforms and is the Director of the Architectural Association’s world renowned Design Research Lab (AADRL) in London. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and co-founded the New Media and Information Research initiative at the AA. He has taught in the graduate school of the UPENN and the Royal College of Art, Innovation Design Engineering Department. In 2013 the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture awarded him The ACADIA award of excellence for his educational work directing the AADRL.

Roberto Bottazzi is an architect, researcher, and educator based in London. He is research co-ordinator and Master tutor at the Royal College of Art in London. He also teaches a Master Studio at University of Westminster and previously taught and studied in Canada and Italy. His research analyses the impact of digital technologies on architecture and urbanism through both practical and theoretical works. He has lectured and exhibited internationally including: UK, USA, China, Italy, and Portugal.

All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.

April 2020
Su M Tu W Th F Sa


AA Photo Library has DVD copies of Public Programme lectures dating back to 1974


Online Lectures
Lecture Archive



For any issues with video playback please contact
AA Digital Platforms

The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.



The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.