GSD Course Bulletin - Spring 2014
This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:55:41.
Courses taught by Panagiotis Michalatos
06425: Computational Material Distributions: Gradients of Compliance (SCI 0642500)
Lecture - 4 credits
Thursday 10:00 - 1:00 Gund 318
This course explores the role of computational structural analysis and form finding methods in design and fabrication problems. Such techniques give us indication on how to assemble and distribute materials in a structurally consistent way with implication on the geometric, aesthetic and tectonic expression of the structure.
In a series of experiments, students will be asked to re-interpret and materialize digital structural models. These methods enable a high level of control over material behavior provided the designer has a good understanding of the underlying principles.
The concept of optimization is both relevant and misleading in this context. It is operational at the level of abstraction of the digital model but becomes problematic within the wider design problematic. This is partly because digital models are imperfect approximations of reality and partly because for real world problems the optimal is multiple. In any case the transition from the model to the material artifact is not straightforward and requires design intuition and interpretation.
Therefore the aim of the course is to explore the role of the designer in the creative interpretation of such quasi-optimal outcomes and at the same time speculate about how the engagement with such methods can alter the intuitive understanding of the problem of structure within a design context.
The theme this year is compliance gradients and primarily how can architects start to think about the differentiation in flexibility and rigidity within a structural system. Traditionally we have thought of buildings as minimum compliance structures characterized by a high degree of rigidity. We have also thought of mechanical and kinetic architecture as objects made out of mostly friction-less hinges. This binary conceptualization of material assemblies is reflected in the two disciplines of structural engineering and mechanical engineering. However the increased use of buckling and nonlinear deformations in structures opens up the space of solution where rigidity and flexibility are managed and distributed throughout the structure. New analysis, design and fabrication techniques allow us to think of the problem of rigidity not within the binary system of the rigid part and the friction-less joint but rather through compliant and flexible mechanism as a gradient of controlled and intentional deformations. In that sense the compliance of the structure, the way it responds and deforms under different loads can become an object of design.
Students can work in teams and they will be encouraged to create both digital and physical models. The course is structured as a series of workshops / experiments combining computational tools for structural optimization that will be introduced and developed specifically for the class along with digital fabrication techniques.
06432: Quantitative Aesthetics: Attention (SCI 0643200)
Seminar - 4 credits - Limited enrollment
Tuesday 11:30 - 2:00 20 Sumner 1C
This course is looking at computational approaches to digital media that allow us to analyze and reinterpret our environment as a signal, creating interactive interventions that distort the limits of the sensible. The term aesthetics here has less to do with judgments of beauty and more with its original meaning of the discourse on the “sensible”. Our experience of the cultural social and physical environment is increasingly mediated by digital media that form cascades of filters and surfaces of interaction. In that sense the understanding of the totality of what can be seen, said or heard within these environments [what Jacques Ranciere might call “the distribution of the sensible”] is passing into the realm of signal analysis; a conceptual framework for making sense of and intervening in an environment that exists in a superposition of states that can be analyzed and recombined in different ways.
This year, Stockholm based choreographer Cristina Caprioli, will help us frame the scope for this course. Cristina is currently organizing a new type of traveling conference on dance and politics where new modes of delivery of and listening to speech are tested. Within this context, we will attempt to rethink the communication and media organization of the space of the conference and particularly the problem of attention, forced engagement and ultimately participation. The space of the conference; the space of the delivery of lectures, its format; has been largely codified nowadays into a series of talks delivered by increasingly detached speakers to mentally disconnected audiences. Contemporary discourse on dance can help us trace a trajectory out of this situation. We seek to test the idea that achieving a heightened state of attentiveness and engagement by speakers and audiences alike may involve placing them in unfamiliar situations characterized by discomfort or at least strategic impediment to perception, requiring effort, physical labor and investment from the ones who speak and the ones who listen. As Pier Paolo Pasolini used to say, he expected from the viewers of his films as much attention and effort as he had put into making them.
Students will be required to develop and prototype a site specific intervention that seeks to reconfigure distribution of bodies, attention and signals within the space of the conference. From a technical standpoint the students will be introduced to digital tools specifically developed for the course that would enable them to process and affect various aspects of the sensible environment. Among other subjects we’ll look into vision and movement analysis, sound analysis and synthesis and Arduino micro-controllers.
09304: Independent Thesis for the Degree Master in Design Studies (ADV 0930400)
Research Seminar - 8 credits
Leire Asensio Villoria, Martin Bechthold, Pierre Bélanger, Eve Blau, Neil Brenner, K. Michael Hays, Timothy Hyde, Hanif Kara, Joyce Klein-Rosenthal, Ali Malkawi, Panagiotis Michalatos, Kiel Moe, Holly Samuelson, Allen Sayegh, Charles Waldheim, Andrew Witt, Ed Eigen
A student who selects this independent thesis for the degree Master in Design Studies pursues independent research of relevance to the selected course of study within the Master in Design Studies program, under the direction of a GSD faculty member. This option precludes taking any other independent study.