Digital Media: Writing Form

This course offers an introduction to the field of design and computation through the primal pursuit of writing form.

Setting aside the better-known paradigms of sketching, drafting, 3D modelling, scripting or even coding, writing (in this context) refers to the level of design agency afforded by the essential application of parametric formulations to design thinking. By the same token, our titular appeal to the notion of form is neither aesthetic nor ideological. Unlike shape (with which it is often confused), we understand form as a syntactic, procedural, and – increasingly– technical proposition, with its fair share of architectural disciplinary autonomy.

Hence this is not a technology offering. Rather, it is a course for architectural designers wishing to work out of –and then expand– the canon of architectural typology, by taking on the new, sneaky, ‘invisible’ types.

This crash course in indexical modelling (the deployment of variable analytic surfaces to parametrically define the space, boundaries, structure, and tectonic texture of a given three-dimensional construct) will be organised around semi-monthly lectures and applied workshops in parametric design, leading to the development of a number of intermediate design sketches, and a final design proposal. The outcome in all cases will be numerically fabricated physical models –laser-cut or 3D printed—with supporting diagrams.

On the theoretical side, the course will clarify the tenets of parametricism both practically (mathematically), formally, and theoretically with an assigned reading list stretching from Rosalind Krauss to George L. Legendre, and Greg Lynn.

On the practical side, generative design tools will include PTC MathCAD 15, Rhino 6 /Grasshopper, and the proprietary, third-party Grasshopper plugins Surf_TM, Millipede, and Weaverbird. No experience is necessary, as participants will be issued powerful software templates to work from every week.

Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30 AM – 1 PM, every other week. An optional support class will be held on Mondays from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM. The instructor will provide written progress feedback on a weekly basis.