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, 3D modeling, scripting or coding, writing –in this context– refers to the design potential of applied parametric formulations. Our appeal to form in this context is neither aesthetic nor ideological. Unlike shape (with which it is often confused), we understand form as a syntactic, procedural, and –increasingly– technical problem, with its fair share of architectural disciplinary autonomy. This is not just a technology offering, but an opportunity for architectural designers to expand their understanding of the canon of architectural typology, by taking on 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, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM, and and Wednesdays, 11:30 AM – 1:00 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.