Interface Design: Integrating Material Perceptions

The course explores the interface between architecture and engineering by examining our perceptions towards materials.

Interdisciplinary research has gained interest in recent years due to its creative potential to solve complex problems through the integration of diverse perspectives. Epistemological convergence across fields, though, is hindered due to different languages, value sets, and frames of reference used in individual domains. On the other hand, computation / computational thinking is becoming a common language across fields today that can facilitate new forms of communication and collaboration.

In this context, the class will focus on linking intrinsic material properties, often examined by engineering fields, to extrinsic material properties and geometry more central to the architectural domain. The course provides insight into the structural and mechanical engineering perspectives of material along with their quantitative analysis, optimization, and evaluation methods. In parallel, students will be exposed to computational workflows used to access and process material information. The discussions and design investigations will be organized as a dialog between numerical and visual, analytical and synthetical, as well as digital and physical with the goal of recognizing the differences and similarities between the fields.

Students will be asked to work in teams to (i) design and develop a simple software tool that assists in the understanding of engineering material knowledge in ways that are intuitive and relevant to architecture design processes, (ii) propose an integrative design application manifested in physical prototypes, and (iii) document the process in an academic paper format.    

Minimal programming skills per team would be desirable but not required.