Michael Hansmeyer - Bartlett International Lecture Series 2011/12

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Undrawable - A Lecture by Michael Hansmeyer

Can architecture be computed? The potential of computational architecture goes far beyond curved surfaces and free-form geometries. Rather, it is an entirely novel method of design. This method can not only generate previously inconceivable forms, but can also enable designs that incorporate complex sets of relationships with out resorting to reductionism.

In using these technologies, the architect no longer designs the geometry, but rather designs the process by which the geometry is generated. The architect forfeits direct control over the form's appearance, while asserting control over the form's desired attributes. It is through an abstracted specification of these attributes that design decisions are performed. Once a solution space has been encoded, the architect assumes the role of a nurturer and moderator, recursively applying the processes until the most ideal configuration has evolved. Entire families and landscapes of objects can be generated: singularity turns to plurality. In the best case, the computer devises surprising typologies that go far beyond what one may have conceived of.

Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural form. He is currently based in the CAAD group at ETH's architecture department in Zurich. He holds an MBA degree from Insead Fontainebleau as well as a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University. He previously worked with McKinsey & Company, J.P. Morgan, and at Herzog & de Meuron architects.

Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, MArch Graduate Architectural Design course: bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/architecture/programmes/postgraduate/march-graduate-architectural-design

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