IoA Institute of Architecture

University of Applied Arts Vienna

Research

Agent Based Parametric Semiology

Architecture and urbanism order social processes via their semantic associations as much as via physical separation and connection. The built environment functions through its visual appearance, via its legibility and its related capacity to frame and prime communication. The built environment is not just channelling bodies. It is orienting sentient, socialized beings who must actively comprehend and navigate ever more complex urban scenes. As a communicative frame, a designed space is itself a communication as premise for all communications that take place within its territory.

In a conventional design process, every designer adapts to and intervenes intuitively within the spontaneous and historically evolving semiological system of the built environment. The aim of agent based parametric semiology is it to move from an intuitive participation within an evolving semiosis to an explicit design agenda that understands the design of a large scale architectural complex as an opportunity to design a new, coherent system of signification, a new artificial architectural language, without relying on the familiar codes found in the existing built environments.

To operationalize the semantic layer of the designed environment within the design process the research proposes to develop agent based life process simulations. The semiological code is defined in terms of the agents’ behavioural rules or scripts being triggered by designed environmental features. This is the most original innovation within the proposed research project.

The aim of the research project is to develop new computational simulation capacities and thus a new approach to architectural design that better engages with the opportunities and challenges of today's networked society and which might lead to a new compelling type of architectural service that can meet the aspirations of contemporary clients. Collaborating with leading experts in the field of crowd simulation, as well as in structural and environmental optimization, the research involves the development of a new approach, setting a new task, developing new tools. The research culminates in exemplary creative design works that demonstrate the capacity and potential impact of the new approach on contemporary architectural and urban design. This research project is thus at the same time an artistic project, a form of research by design.

The research project will be headed by Patrik Schumacher, a leading figure in the fields of parametric design and architectural design research. Schumacher will be leading a team of distinguished researchers, who each can look back on a proven track record of academic research and experimental digital design practice, focusing on advanced scripting techniques, digital formal experimentation and the understanding of our built environment as an interface for interaction with its users.

Patrik Schumacher, Hon.Prof. Dr. phil. Dipl.-Ing..
Robert R. Neumayr, MArch
Josip Bajcer, Mag.arch
Daniel Bolojan, Mag.arch


Active Public Spaces / Creative Europe
in Cooperation with IAAC Barcelon & CCEA Prague

Active Public Spaces is a European co-funded project, focussing on fostering the exchange of knowledge and best practices in the application of smart urban technologies for the transformation of public spaces into active ones, by increasing architecture’s integrating and innovative role in implementing sustainable urban development. Public spaces have the potential of being transformed into Active Public Space, fostering people´s interaction with flows of energy, materials, services, and finances to catalyze sustainable economic development, resilience, and high quality of life. Aim is to contributing to bridging the existing skills gaps on smart urban technologies among architects and urban-planners, as much as raising public awareness about the role of architecture and urban planning in sustainable urban development.Within the Institute of Architecture the project is developed in partnership by the departments Energy Design and Urban Strategies. The project partners are composed of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona (lead), the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and the Centre for Central European Architecture in Prague and the, combining knowledge on smart materials and technologies with citizen participation, urban strategies and energy design. 

Andrea Börner, Univ.-Lekt. Dipl.Ing.
Anna Gulinska, Ass.MArch, Dipl.Ing.
Galo Moncayo
Bernhard Sommer, Univ.-Ass. Arch Dipl.Ing.

www.activepublicspace.org

nformations

An Atlas of Experiments in Materialized Information

nformations is an arts-based research cluster of architects, artists, designers and engineers, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), located at the University of Applied Arts (Vienna). Within the field of generative workflow of contemporary design, a collection of strategies, methods, tools and prototypic models is being developed. The research project focuses on the dissection, reinterpretation and documentation of contemporary digital production practice by means of serial experimentation. An interactive atlas of correlated aesthetics, entities and formulations shall contribute to the growing community of open source design practitioners and makers in the digital chain.

Today, designing characterizes itself rather by manipulating digital systems than determined articulation, and the question of the ‘how’ has become as big as ‘what’ we design. Parametric modeling and open systems allow a simple formulation of intricate generative processes, though a model’s ability to adapt to changes is limited by its own complexity. There is a desire to be designing with systems of simple rules, which are able to temporarily stabilize but stay open to changes of any kind, to be capable of reflecting any unforeseen state.

Modern parametric modeling bears great potential in the research of novel interfaces, representations, their flexibility, and the theoretically unlimited pool of formal languages waiting to be described. We want to fundamentally question the ways in which parametric design platforms are used and rethink modes of operation - smart representations will foster flexibility and persistence of a model. A series of experiments serve as means for synthesized innovation to establish a knowledge base of components, forms, formulations and dependencies. The main aim is to go after the ‘fabric’ of design(ing) that is orchestrated by systems and based on computational processes that are ‘self-organizing’ and can flexibly react on change.  Emerging abilities in dealing with articulated complexities lead to new possibilities in the perception and production of space.

Within the context of digital production goal of the research project is to interface more immediately between intuitive associative concepts and numeric control. Currently the underlying structures of semi-automated and automated processes in geometrical compilation resemble characteristics of a closed system that fully operates on chains of measurable numerical values. But architecture, art and design in the sense of an aesthetical organizational system, require an openness, imperfection and blur because in the process of making not all ideas and decisions develop equal nor linear. Aspects of a digital design workflow should be investigated that help to translate and evaluate early conceptual aspects that cope with the discrepancy of seizing slowly solidifying design ideas.

Through simulation processes that implement in a parametric design model, the making of design decisions accelerates. That kind of information can be valuated spatially by perception but also measured numerically and so allow for an additional level of design evaluation. The exploration of design assisting processes leads to new insights in behaviors of form, structure or shape, and results in exploitation of those internal logics. By evaluating specific effects or performances, geometric organizations will gain a level of additional intelligence, which helps to develop smarter configurations or geometries. Within the research project, interfaces that allow intuitive input and feed-back of design relevant data should be developed and applied as case studies. This may lead to starting points for new performative and morphological design vocabularies. Based on personal notions and an interdisciplinary context these conceptions can fuel artist’s, architect’s or personal innovations. Open source plug-in tools are about to establish a new collaborative design society, where the seed of new methods and profound reflection of the existing is greatly needed.

As a cluster of media artists, architects and computer scientists, we aim to fuse varying academic resources to an open productive process of creative and innovative research in the field of ‘art based (in)formation design’. With the support of our international partners the interdisciplinary team aims to dissect and intertwine contemporary concerns and concepts of all contributing disciplines, with the goal to create an articulated understanding regarding a rapidly transforming culture in the making of digital and physical space.

Klaus Bollinger, o.Univ.-Prof.Dipl.Ing.Dr.techn.
Moritz Heimrath, Mag.arch.
Daniela Kröhnert, Mag.arch.
Clemens Preisinger, Dr.Ing.
Robert Vierlinger, MSc.
Christoph Zimmel, BSc.