Intuition and the Machine

This studio combines the experience of a multi-year design research agenda with the fresh outlook of a collaborative design experiment.  The purpose of the experiment is to examine, through projects, the role intuition –as well as rules and protocols– plays in design.  The difference between intuitive and machinic  is not as clear-cut as doing something ‘manually’ versus doing it ‘with the computer’. There are manual moves that are machinic in spirit, just as there are intuitive deployments of algorithmic design, which the designer cannot explain.

The studio offers an open environment where students can chose a given site, brief, and context, and develop a proposal with the approach of their choice, the only requirement being a willingness to ‘play a game’, i.e. to approach the problem with a game-like rigor that will eventually enable comparisons between outcomes.

What does a willingness to ‘play a game’ actually mean? Participants will have two options: they can either learn & use a wide array of bespoke computational design strategies introduced by the instructor, or they can approach the design independently.  The decision to proceed ‘mechanically’ versus ‘intuitively’ will be up to each individual and should take into account a particular combination of site, brief, and context, carefully curated by the instructor to fit either approach–and enable meaningful comparisons between projects. 

There will be five sites/briefs/contexts to choose from, variously located in New York, Montreal, Oslo/Helsinki and Reading UK. All these sites have a key thing in common: over the past 12 years they have hosted international design competitions for small, medium, or large cultural facilities linked to contemporary art (museums, foundations, galleries, art centers). Each site will therefore come with a real-world brief to adhere to. Art spaces is the core brief of this studio, and participants will have access to related research from previous years. The sites are small, medium or extra-large. From Tabula Rasa to historic preservation orders, they are subject to varying degrees of pressure from immediate context.

Participants will gain access to a substantial technical and conceptual resources. Relevant research from previous studios (2013, 2015, and 2020) in the following related key areas will be shared on a need-to-use basis: art spaces, industrial (pre) fabrication, urban sedimentation , and, of course, computational morphogenetics. 

Participants interested primarily in the machinic approach may opt to concurrently enroll in the instructor’s elective lecture course VIS-2227 Writing Form

GSD students may view additional information on option studios:
Option Studio Presentations
Schedule for Zoom Q&A sessions