computational craft


Ezio Blasetti & Dave Pigram 90 Clermont Av, Suite PH, 11205 Brooklyn NY | [ph] +1 718 974 7937 | [ph] +1 917 664 5710

AA Summer D-LAB


The terms ‘hard-’, ‘soft-’ or even ‘firm-’ when used as delimiting descriptions of various ‘wares’ are increasingly contestable, inadequate and misleading, more dramatically when the wares in question are attached to discussions of design methodologies. Echoes of Descartes’ mind/body duality emanate betraying a naivety manifest in an inability to recognize the curated hybridity of contemporary praxis with regard to material and virtual domains. Here then, the task is to create a logical system with agency over the formal, material and behavioral definition of a system as artifact incorporating feedback loops that are simultaneously virtual and actual.

The Project

The project is to design and fabricate a full-scale (1:1) working chandelier. The chandelier is to be the outcome of a strictly generative (and morphogenetic) design process. A variety of growth algorithms will be studied with each group assisted to produce their own custom logics of formation. The final chandelier will also contain a population of LED lights that are to be controlled and operated algorithmically. The focus here is not merely on a demonstration of proficiency of the various skills and techniques covered but rather the positioning of the project as a contribution to the larger architectural discussion supporting the value of this methodology. As such the workshop is best understood as the means towards creating a “project-as-proof” of computation’s potential contribution to architecture. Critical to success in this workshop will be a demonstrated exceeding of the potentials of all forms of parametric modeling.


Methods + Materials

Computational design [including scripting], component modeling and the creation of files for fabrication will all be conducted primarily within Rhino [VbScript]. Potential forays into other software environments such as Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, Isosurf, Surface Evolver etc. will be facilitated on a per team basis where necessary or beneficial for specific tasks. The algorithmic control of multiple LED’s will be via Arduino circuit boards within a Processing based scripting environment. The design and testing of full-scale partial prototypes will represent a significant percentage of the working time during the two weeks. It is anticipated that students will primarily employ laser cutting, but milling or 3d-printing of various sub-components will also be possible if time permits. Students will have complete freedom in the selection of physical component materials.


core consultation hours are morning session: 10am-1pm & afternoon session: 3pm-6pm, during this time all programmed content will be delivered and it is assumed that all student will be in attendance. in addition, optional sessions will be held to either extend or where necessary supplement the material covered. finally, social sessions are planned at strategic points to ensure enthusiasm levels remain high. friday 1st august students to attend final juries for summer school

monday 4th august d-lab commences

morning session afternoon session social session
introductory lecture – algorithmic design; concepts, history, methodologies & examples seminar - introduction to rhino scripting – syntax, methods, flow & iteration studio dinner and drinks for personal introductions within and between participants and instructors

tuesday 5th august

morning session afternoon session optional session
seminar - rhino scripting: dynamic arrays, functions & recursion seminar - rhino scripting: cellular automata introduction/refresher to modeling in rhino for those without previous experience

wednesday 6th august

morning session afternoon session guest lecture 7:30pm
seminar - rhino scripting: substitution systems and growth algorithms seminar - using the laser cutter and preparing geometry for cutting [+ scripting exercises] rob stuart-smith: kokkugia; the emergence of character & notes on consulting to arup’s advanced geometry unit

thursday 7th august

morning session afternoon session optional session
studio consultancy: each team to meet with instructors in 1hr blocks to discuss their specific project studio consultancy in teams advanced scripting for those who have previous programming experience & fast learners

friday 8th august

morning session afternoon session
studio consultancy in teams studio consultancy in teams

saturday 9th august

1pm social session
jury review presentation of chandelier morphology & component and connection prototypes invited jury: iain maxwell [supermanoeuvre], rob stuart-smith [kokkugia], dimitris themelis studio dinner and drinks with students and jury

sunday 10th august

morning session afternoon session
recovery seminar – introduction to max/msp

monday 11th august

morning session afternoon session
seminar – introduction to electronics and lighting wiring seminar – max/msp

tuesday 12th august

morning session afternoon session
studio consultancy in teams studio consultancy in teams

wednesday 13th august

morning session afternoon session
studio consultancy in teams studio consultancy in teams

thursday 14th august

morning session afternoon session
studio consultancy in teams studio consultancy in teams

friday 15th august final presentation completed chandelier and algorithmic lighting control

1pm social session
invited jury: iain maxwell [supermanoeuvre], rob stuart-smith [kokkugia], ryan theodore, dimitris themelis [foster and partners], studio party [all d-lab participants invited]