"So, working with Bentley and MicroStation, we've written a custom piece of software that networks all of the components together into these chunks of information, so that if we change any element along the length of the building, not only does that change distribute through each one of the trusses, but each one of the trusses then distributes that information down the length of the entire facade of the building. So it's a single calculation for every single component of the building that we're adding onto. So, it's tens of millions of calculations just to design one connection between a piece of structural steel and another piece of structural steel. But what it gives us is a harmonic and synthesized relationship of all these components, one to another.
This idea has, kind of, brought me into doing some product design, and it's because design firms that have connections to architects, like, I'm working with Vitra, which is a furniture company, and Alessi, which is a houseware company. They saw this actually solving a problem: this ability to differentiate components but keep them synthetic. So, not to pick on BMW, or to celebrate them, but take BMW as an example. They have to, in 2005, have a distinct identity for all their models of cars. So, the 300 series, or whatever their newest car is, the 100 series that's coming out, has to look like the 700 series, at the other end of their product line, so they need a distinct, coherent identity, which is BMW. At the same time, there's a person paying 30,000 dollars for a 300–series car, and a person paying 70,000 dollars for a 700 series, and that person paying more than double doesn't want their car to look too much like the bottom–of–the–market car. So they have to also discriminate between these products. So, as manufacturing starts to allow more design options, this problem gets exacerbated, of the whole and the parts."
(Greg Lynn, February 2005)
"Architecture as a material practice is predominately based on an approach to design that is characterised by prioritising the elaboration of form over its subsequent materialisation. Since the Renaissance the increasing division between processes of design and making has led to the age–long development and increasing dependence on representational tools intended for explicit, scalar geometric descriptions that at the same time serve as instructions for the translation from drawing to building. Inevitably, and with few exceptions, even in today's digital practice architects embrace design methods that epitomize the hierarchical separation of form definition and materialisation.
The research of the Institute for Computational Design explores an alternative, morphogenetic approach to design that unfolds morphological complexity and performative capacity from material constituents without differentiating between formation and materialisation processes. This requires an understanding of form, material, structure and environment not as separate aspects, but rather as complex interrelations that are embedded in and explored through integral computational processes.
The notion of material system constitutes one central aspect of this research. Material system does not only refer to the material constituents of a building alone, but rather describes, in a system–theoretical sense, the complex reciprocity between materiality, form, structure and space, the related processes of production and assembly, and the multitude of performative effects that emanate from the interaction with environmental influences and forces. This conceptualization of material systems enables the utilization of computational design processes. The ability of computation to simultaneously do both, stochastically derive and systemically process complex datasets within a defined or evolving constraint space, can be utilized to explore a material system's performative capacity within its materially determined limits. Furthermore, continuously informing the form generation with different modes of computational analysis enables a direct link between the ontogeny, the history of structural changes of an individual, and its interaction with external forces and energy respectively, that is its ecological embedding. This enables to conceive of material systems as the synergetic outcome of calibrating and balancing multiple influencing variables and divergent design criteria, which always already include the interaction with the system–external environment. The resultant environmental modulations can now be understood as highly specific patterns in direct relation to the material interventions from which they originate.
The design of space, structure and climate can be synthesized in one integral design process."
(Achim Menges, Achimmenges.net)
"The Guide evolved from the need to have an application that could organize information and ideas in a hierarchical, tree–like structure. Tree–based structures are frequently employed to manage information through a 'divide–and–conquer' approach, wherein each level of the tree represents a further level of specialization of the parent–level topic – the best example of this being a book.
The Guide is an application that allows you create documents ('guides') which inherently have a tree (which you can modify as you please) and text associated with each node of the tree. The text itself is of the rich–text variety, and the editor allows you to modify the style and formatting of the text (fonts, bold, italics etc).
For the initiated, the Guide is a two–pane extrinsic outliner. This concept is similar to mindmapping in some ways."
[While this tool is designed for authoring help guides –it is also very useful for re–structuring large text documents. Once complete the newly re–structured document can be exported as an RDF document (which are MS–Word readable).
Note that there seems to be something wrong with the MSI version of the installer –the EXE version is OK however.]
"Made popular by the International Typographic Style movement and pioneered by legends like Josef Müller–Brockmann and Wim Crouwel, the grid is the foundation of any solid design. The Grid System is an ever–growing resource where graphic designers can learn about grid systems, the golden ratio and baseline grids."