The Fabric of Architecture. Digital Structures, Operations, and Institutions

Workshop, June 25 – 26, 2015
Universität der Künste Berlin

Collaborative workshop of the Berlin University of the Arts and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in the context of the research project “Architecture and New Media” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Organized by Nathalie Bredella (Berlin University of the Arts) and Carolin Höfler (Cologne University of Applied Sciences)

On June 25 and 26, 2015 international researchers from the realms of architecture, computer science, cultural and media sciences, and history of art discussed at the Berlin University of the Arts approaches and perspectives on Computational Design, and gave special attention to impacts and repercussions of digital media on the practice of architecture and design. The workshop was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and a joint project of University of the Arts Berlin (UdK Universität der Künste Berlin) and Köln International School of Design (KISD).

Every design emerges from a process. The different tools and media constitutive of these processes in turn foster approaches to architecture and design, as well as the creation of new categories of knowledge. With the progressive development of computer-based design techniques, the contemplation of the procedural aspects of architecture becomes increasingly significant for the production and reception of architecture. It is from this perspective that the workshop sets out to examine the specific roles that processes and practices play in computer-based design by seeking to illuminate those techno-cultural contexts and historical and intellectual bonds that unite them. Which traditions and strategies, and what historical correlations among architecture, culture, and technology, have motivated and shaped the development of computer-based design processes?

The image of a fabric serves as an application and expression of the singular and inextricable entanglement of architecture, culture and technology in computer-based design. The interweaving of a textile creates a transitory co-planarity between information and material. It emphasizes the active process of shaping as “structured form,” (Gebildetes) by which elements become enmeshed or knotted with each other. Considering architecture then as an analog to a fabric highlights how those numerous interactions with media and tools leave behind traces in material form. Likewise, processes of the imagination and inspiration effectively unfold in the design. Hence, the increasing automation of operations through digital media also brings to the fore the nature of the interaction between standardized and intuitive design processes. How might the relationship between a rule-governed design process and the transgression of a predefined operational framework – a relationship aiming to produce new artifacts and knowledge – be determined? Furthermore, in what way does the interconnection of media, tools and design shape built architecture and its ensuing structures, control-processes and procedures?

With an eye toward these issues, the workshop discusses forms of knowledge production in architecture, including its technological, political, and economic requirements as well as the possibilities for an investigation into digital design cultures in architecture that transcend disciplinary boundaries.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

2:00 pm
Nathalie Bredella and Carolin Höfler

Norbert Palz, Berlin University of the Arts

Chair: Michael Dürfeld

2:30 pm
T’ai Smith, University of British Columbia, Vancouver:
Synthetics: Frock Coats as Diagrams

3:15 pm
Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen:
The Tent and the Tapestry: Textiles as a Model and Material for Architectural Poetics

4:00 pm

4:30 pm
Robert Aish, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London:
The Influence of Computational Representation on Architecture

5:15 pm
Marie-Ange Brayer, Centre Pompidou, Paris:
Curating Computational Architecture and Design

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chair: Kassandra Nakas

10:00 am
Susanne Hauser, Berlin University of the Arts:
The Process of Designing and Its Ends

10:45 am
Sean Keller, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago:
Automatisms of the Automatic: Architecture Through Computation

11:30 am

12:00 am
Georg Trogemann, lab3, Academy of Media Arts, Cologne:
Poiesis - The Fabric of Making

01:00 pm

Chair: Margarete Pratschke

2:00 pm
Daniel Gethmann, Graz University of Technology:
Integrated Planning and Design of Urban Agglomeration: Bernhard Hafner’s Simulation of Alternative Urban Prototypes

02:45 pm
Reinhold Martin, Columbia University, New York:
Drawn in Sand: Numbers and Things

3:30 pm
Wolfgang Schäffner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin:
Active Matter: 3D-Code in Weaving, Folding, and Building

4:15 pm
Closing Remarks

Universität der Künste Berlin
Hardenbergstraße 33, Raum 102
10623 Berlin

Further information

Program download

Abstracts download

Poster download

Design: CDLX/Codeluxe