Swarm Materiality at the eCAADe 2012 conference Prague – Observe and Report


Just got home back from Prague, where the 30th eCAADe [Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe] was held. It has been pretty successful, both in terms of organization and in terms of context pluralism and innovation. In this conference I had the chance to participate with a paper regarding some of the recent advancements in my research on generative design processes and computational tools, titled Swarm Materiality -A multi-agent approach to stress driven material organization. This paper is available through the CUMINCAD network and you can access it by clicking on this link. Below is the abstract of the paper.

“This paper sets out to introduce and explore a computational tool, thus a methodological framework, for simulating stress driven material growth and organization by employing a multi-agent system based in swarm intelligence algorithms. It consists of an ongoing investigation that underlies the intention for the material system to be perceived as design itself.
The algorithm, developed in the programming language Processing, is operating in a bottom-up manner where components and data flows are self-organized into design outputs. An evaluation process, via testing on different design cases, is providing a coherent understanding on the system‟s capacity to address an acceptable, within the “state-of-the-art” context, solution to material optimization and innovative form-finding. The analysis of the exported data is followed by a possible reconfiguration of the algorithm’s structure and further development by introducing new elements.”

A brief conclusion – report

The conference involved many high level research projects and a rich generative design vocabulary reinforced by an extreme amount of novelty. I was quite content to meet new people and young researchers, socialize and exchange ideas about our projects and the future of Digital design and coding cultures. Amongst them many came from the sessions on generative design. Specifically I would like to mention briefly : Alessandro Zomparelli with “Emergent Reefs”,Jia-Rey Chang from P&A Lab presenting “HyperCell”, Tomasso Casucci‘sBehavioural Surfaces”, “Speculative Structures” by Joshua M.Taron, Alexander Pena de Leon’s “Facade Rationalization Case Studies”, Martin Tamke‘s “Composite Territories” and Sergio Araya with “Living Architecture”.

From the field of Robotic fabrication I was intrigued by the presentations of Johannes Braumann & Sigrid Brell-Cokcan from Robots In Architecture and from Jelle Feringa’s and Asbjarn Sondergaard’s presentation on “Fabrication of topologically optimized structures”.

In addition I enjoyed my friends lectures: “Sensesponsive landscapes – A Pedagogical design approach” by Marianthli Liapi and Konstantinos Oungrinis, “Augmented Visibility” by Tasos Varoudis and “Engaging the Brain” by Panos Mavros.

Last but not least I had the chance to meet with Professor Alessio Erioli from Co-de-it and my friend Mateusz Zwierzycki developer of the “Starling” add-on for Grasshopper, Professor Yannis Zavoleas (Uni of Patras) and Ioanna Symeonidou (TU Graz) [special thanks for the info on the cityof Prague] who held the AB-USE workshop.


AgentTropism – Agent Responsive Canopy Structures

agentropismAgentTropism is a research project developed in Processing as a generative procedure and partially in Grasshopper and VB.Net for the geometrical realisation. The objective of the research project is to develop a emergent and generative approach to architectural defined process of canopy design  (shading + shelter) used in busy urban passages in cities. The generative process takes place in the processing algorithm. A predefined particle-spring system is undergoing dynamic relaxation while adapting to a set of agents ( the behaviours of which depend on the contextual environment and the user input).At the same time the  particle system is affected by a gravitational field enabling the structure to become self-sustained [not evaluated through structural analysis software though 😦 ] The results of the algorithm are always emergent. 

Street view_ AgentTropismIn the end a simple text file is exported from Processing containing the exact position of  each particle of the system, the lines connecting the nodes and the position of the most frequently used by the agents space voxels in the process. The data are imported into Rhino via Rhinoscript and then manipulated in Grasshopper. In this particular case a simple piping for the node links and a pneumatic ( cushion) panelling process are implemented in the geometrical evaluation. The panels that are closer to the mostly used voxels are left blank enabling the circulation of air an the Sunlight to reach the street level.

Geometrical ManipulationThis is an ongoing Research into Agent produced Design Systems. I find Agents quite interesting to study and especially the capabilities offered, in terms of the system’s programmed behaviours. I hope to be able to advance in this project and make the particle system more adaptable to the context (searching for building boundaries , covering larger areas ect.)

the algorithm

Generative Fluid Dynamics by Angelos Chronis

generative fluid dynamics- a.chronis

Just to get along on posting stuff regarding friends projects (or just of my own incompetence to gather and present some of  my personal research…) I will present this amazing project of  dear friend and classmate Angelos Chronis .  Angelos was always kind of closer to the mathematical perception of issues regarding design. His initial interest in Sustainability led to the idea of using wind as a morphogenetic and at the same time, analytical tool. The research outcome of this interest was GFD – Generative Fluid Dynamics – a methodology on using CFD – Computational Fluid Dynamics as a generative tool. This process consisted of custom designed CFD algorithm written in Processing and a genetic algorithm running simultaneously optimizing the performance of the  examined building envelope or piece of design.

Specifically :

The integration of simulation environments in generative, performance-driven form-finding methods is expected to enable an exploration into performative solutions of unprecedented complexity in architectural design problems. Computational fluid dynamics simulations have a wide range of applications in architecture, yet they are mainly applied at final design stages for evaluation and validation of design intentions, due to their computational and expertise requirements.

This paper investigates the potential of a fast fluid dynamics simulation scheme in a generative optimization process, through the use of a genetic algorithm, for wind loading optimization of a free form surface. A problem-specific optimization environment has been developed for experimentation. The optimization process has provided valuable insight on both the performance objectives and the representation of the problem. The manipulation of the parametric description of the problem has enabled control over the solution space highlighting the relation of the representation to the performance outcome of the problem.

[Digital Tectonics]

gfd2The research was presented as a paper  at the SimAUD 2011 conference, part of the 2011 Spring Simulation Conference (SpringSim’11) in Boston, USA and  recieved an “ Outstanding Paper Award “. You can explore the conference proceedings here.  And to get a better idea about the project please watch the following videos.

Angelos is currently employed at Foster+Partners as an analyst in the Special Modelling Group of the firm conducting research and dealing with advanced geometry problems.  For more info please visit his personal site Digital Tectonics.