Material Ecology at the Forum

Neri Oxman – In Conversation


This week at the forum: an open conversation with Neri Oxman. Her bio and projects can be found here.
Image: Carpal Skin – by Neri Oxman

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Posted at 7am on 05/05/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, General

Logic matter, Gibsonian interfaces and pre-fab fixtures

Thesis Workshop I


Summaries of the projects discussed during last friday’s experimental “thesis workshop”:

Shapes Grammars as a Computational Model for The Perception of Affordances-Mark Watabe
James J Gibson, a psychologist who wrote prolifically about his theories of visual perception argued there is a difference between direct information, that is the perception of the affordances in an environment, and indirect information, that is the information contained in signals and

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Posted at 11am on 04/11/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Comment, Forum+News, Uncategorized

Dennis Michaud on kinetics, parametrics and houses

Houses as products: The real BIM


This week MIT alumnus and parametric design expert Dennis Michaud will join us at the Forum to discuss his work at Massachusetts-based company Blu Homes. His talk will give us a chance to take a look inside industry’s use of BIM, parametrics and kinetics in housing development. Pre-fabbers watch out!

Talk blurb
The aim of this talk will be to describe and show

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Posted at 7pm on 03/31/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, Uncategorized

A Parametric Expressionism of sorts

Omar Khan’s Reflexive Architecture Machines


Omar Khan’s Reflexive Architecture Machines, presented in the Computation group lecture, tapped into the ambition of an ever increasing number of architects: to incorporate responsiveness, unpredictability and movement as both expressive and performative strategies in spatial design.

Khan positioned the work -products of his research group in University of Buffalo- within the cybernetic tradition of Ross Ashby’s Homeostat, a machine built with

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Posted at 11am on 03/16/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Comment, lecture

SMArchS Computation Mid-term Thesis Reviews

SMArchS Mid-term Thesis Reviews


Friday, March 12th, in Room 9-250 (note change in room) 1:00-1:20  Murat Mutlu  (Yoon, Tehrani, Kassabian) 1:20-1:40   Steffen Reichert  (Knight, Yoon, Ortiz) 1:40-2:00  Mark Watabe  (Stiny, Ochsendorf, Lepinay) 2:00-2:20  Varvara Toulkeridou  (Stiny, Nagakura) 2:20-2:40  Junno Ophir  (Larson, O’Reilly, Knight) 2:40-3:00  German Aparicio (Sass, Shelden, Danziger) BREAK 3:10-3:30  Shani Sharif (Sass, Knight) 3:30-3:50  Adela Kalenja (Nagakura, Knight, Shelden) 3:50-4:10  Skylar Tibbits (Knight, Winston, Demaine) 4:10-4:30  Joseph Nunez (Sass, Nagakura). Image from Steffen Reichert’s Thesis presentation.

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Posted at 6am on 03/12/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Research Directions, Uncategorized

The Mathematics of Sensible Things Conference

Talking about Math and Architecture


This coming Friday at the Harvard GSD six panelists will present their views on the relationship between math and architectural practice. See details below, or clic here for more info.

“Architecture and mathematics have constantly balanced between two extremes: an experiential dimension, often imbued with contemplative connotations, and the quest for operative techniques that do not necessarily present a spatial meaning. Hence

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Posted at 6pm on 03/01/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Conference+Journals, Forum+News, lecture, Uncategorized

Alise Upitis on the origins of CAD

Two architectures and the process of design


This week Alise Upitis will join us at the Forum. In her talk “Two architectures and the design process” she will discuss how post-war technological changes dramatically shaped conceptions of the design process. A great opportunity to understand the technological context -and the sensibility- that gave origin to the tools that define architectural and design practices today. Not to be

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Posted at 4pm on 02/25/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, Uncategorized

Jan Kokol visits the forum

The life and work of Jan Kokol


This week Jan Kokol will be at the forum sharing his work. Jan is a visiting student from Technical University in Graz, Austria, and is currently doing research on Mass Customization here at MIT under Prof. Nader Tehrani’s supervision.

See below for more details. Please note that the Forum’s new room is 9-250. The forum meets from 6-8 PM on

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Posted at 6pm on 02/16/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Uncategorized

SIGRADI 2010 Conference, Call for Papers

Sigradi2010 Conference


This year the Sigradi conference (a sister conference to ACADIA and ECAADE) will take place in Bogotá, Colombia, in November 17-19, and will be held jointly by the Architecture, Arts, and Math Schools of Universidad de los Andes.

The conference is currently accepting papers, check the author guidelines and start the submission process in

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Posted at 10am on 02/10/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Conference+Journals, General

Notes on the “Only Tools?” IAP Workshop at MIT

Talking about sketching and scripting


Image By Ella Piechovich

The ‘enlivened’ geometric models within modeling environments invite a redefinition of what we understand as a design representation. Designers who learn how to program often use idioms that render the very notion of representation as atavic, seeking to emphasize the perception of scripts as performative, or ‘alive’. This became once more evident during the last two weeks of

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Posted at 7am on 01/31/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Comment, General, Uncategorized

Computation Group Forum Kickoff 2010

Des-Comp Alumni Symposium 2010


The Computation Group Forum this Spring starts big with the opening of the 2010 Des-Comp Alumni Symposium. Come and learn the work and whereabouts of previous generations of SMArchS and Ph.D. students in Design & Computation.

“The goal of the symposium is to strengthen the network within the MIT Design and Computation community and to provide exposure of and for this unique group to

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Posted at 2pm on 01/21/10 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Conference+Journals, Forum+News, General, Uncategorized

Alexander is back!

12/4 Guest Announcement: Marrikka Trotter


Marrikka Trotter will be at the forum on Dec 4th talking about her thesis work on Christopher Alexander. The following is an extract:

“With his background in mathematics and chemistry, Christopher Alexander developed a unique understanding of architecture in the early 1960’s. Like J. S. Haldane’s single, complected organism of a living lung and the atmosphere, Alexander believed that living

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Posted at 12am on 12/01/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News

Bioluminescence – The Design of Living Light

12/11 Guest Announcement: Nicola Burggraf


Nicola Burggraf will be at the forum on December 11 showing her intriguing design thesis “Bioluminescence – The Design of living Light”, recently completed under Professor Achim Menges’s supervision. Next lines from Nicola Burggraf’s abstract:

Bioluminescence is the ability of living organisms to produce and emit their own light. The thesis deals with the question if and how this phenomena could be adapted for

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Posted at 12pm on 11/20/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, General

Notes on Prof. Kostas Terzidis’s idea of Supernatural Computation

Design as search through discreet spaces


A concern that commercial CAD systems prescribe design processes as the deterministic generation of form “out of nothing” leads Professor Kostas Terzidis to propose, as an alternative, algorithmic devices capable of producing -I use his words- “any possible solution”. In this view optimization and search techniques become avenues to navigate the vast solution spaces yielded by combinatorial “design machines”, notions that

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Posted at 10am on 11/20/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Comment, Forum+News, General, lecture

Des-Comp at Harvard GSD

Design Scripting Workshop at the GSD


Computation Group Ph.D. Candidates Kenfield Griffith and Daniel Cardoso were invited to teach a short scripting workshop at Harvard’s GSD. The workshop was organized -and co-taught- by Taro Narahara, Computation SMArchS 2007 and currently a DDes Candidate. The 6-hour workshop focused on basic programming techniques for the manipulation of 3-D geometry. The workshop was well attended (35-40 people), and left most

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Posted at 8am on 11/04/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, General, Uncategorized

Halloween Special: Jose Pinto Duarte, Shape Grammarian

Jose Pinto Duarte, Shape Grammarian


Yesterday we had the chance -and the pleasure- of having Jose Pinto Duarte (FA-TU Lisbon) as a guest. Prof. Duarte, an alumni of the Ph.D. program in Computation, gave a lecture entitled “Mass-Customization: Models and Algorithms”, and later joined members of the group in an informal conversation at the group’s forum.

In the lecture Prof. Duarte described with some detail the shape grammars

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Posted at 1pm on 10/31/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Comment, Forum+News, Uncategorized

Notes on Oct 16 Session on Open Source

Open Table on Open Source

Last week’s discussion on open source, if general, succeeded in bringing to the forum diverse and passionate attitudes towards the subject.

The discussion approached open source from three angles: first, open source as a business model, second, open source as an ideological stance towards software systems, and third, open source as an attribute of design tools and environments. A transversal idea –that could be further explored in future Forums- is the emergence

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Posted at 8pm on 10/19/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Forum+News, Research Directions, Uncategorized

Mark Watabe: Let’s do it together

Discussing Collaboration


Despite its many advantages version control software (and workflows) remain unexplored for many of us. In this session of the forum Mark Watabe will discuss how these systems enable collaboration and allow for distributed development of complex projects.

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Posted at 2pm on 10/02/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, General, Uncategorized

Greg Pintille: Sub-cellular structures

The machinery of life


Greg Pintille, an MIT researcher in the field of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) will tell us about his Ph.D. work on surface-finding in point clouds and other types of data at molecular scales.

Next lines from Greg’s abstract:

In biology, much like in real life, understanding structure means understanding function. The first sub-cellular component whose structure was discovered is the DNA molecule, by

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Posted at 2pm on 10/02/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, General, Uncategorized

Janet Echelman at the Forum

Weaving at the urban scale

Swooping I, 2001. A tensile sculpture by Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman will be our guest in the Computation Group forum next week (October 2) and will discuss her exciting work. The following lines are an excerpt taken from her site.

Through her art, Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental public sculptures that respond to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight. Echelman is currently Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

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Posted at 6pm on 09/25/09 | No Comments » | Filed Under: Announcements, Forum+News, General, lecture, Uncategorized