- d_e_form by Tomasz Jaskiewicz, Hyperbody 2010
- Research Strands
- Research Manager
- Dr. Nimish Biloria
1. Complex systems and Interactive architecture
Interactive architecture is a newly emerging branch of architectural design, made possible due to developments in information technology and availability of new materials that allow extending buildings with information processing, sensing and actuating properties. In opposition to traditional architecture the design essence of interactive architectural objects lies not only in their physicality, but also in their behaviour, both densely interwoven with each other. In order to create successful architectural objects of this kind, their spatial and behavioural expression has to be designed in a way that fully opens up the possibilities of interaction with their environment.
The field of complex systems, with its investigations into how relationships between simple parts give rise to complex collective behaviours of a system and how these systems interact and form relationships with their environment serves as a perfect correlation for developing interactive architectural systems. A systemic approach taken up by Hyperbody, which filters through the understanding of complex systems has resulted in generating performative aspects of networked architectural bodies owing to bi-directional relations among its constituting components, these components with the environment and with users.
A resultant outcome: pro-active communication amongst spatial components, users and the environment in a mutually inter-related and meaningful fashion is thus heavily researched upon at Hyperbody. The area of physical interaction where a technologically mediated whole is conceptualised with the central issue of Interaction is thus central to this research stream. The physicality of space itself tends to be perceived as a subject, possessing its own behaviour, which is carefully developed with a user oriented (human computer interaction) perspective. An appropriate response (programmed in accordance with event based scenarios), specifically acting upon the interpreted logic from a received message/action (sensed data) formulates the basis for a successful Interaction.
This componential information driven connectivity among architectural constructs is being researched upon extensively via the following research and design initiatives:
2. Real-time multi-player design environments
Real time computing implies applications and systems, which operate to an input-output latency of seconds, enabling response to stimuli within milli or microseconds. Hyperbody research dwells into exploring Real Time Behaviour via computational concepts based on motion kinematics and dynamics. The combination of the knowledge filtered from Kinematics, a field which studies motion without consideration of mass or external forces, and Dynamics, a field which takes into consideration physical properties such as mass, elasticity and physical forces such as gravity, inertia are researched upon for developing real-time interactive spatial environments.
Such environments owing to their real-time data communication and processing abilities prove to rather efficient in enhancing the performance of space by means of generating possibilities for spatial re-organization and re-configuration. The resultant spatial environment can rightly be termed as ‘Hyperarchitecture’. Like hypertext [html], hyperarchitecture, establishes connections in real time: while hypertext connects users all over the world via Internet, hyper-architecture establishes connections between the building and its user. It responds to specific requests reconfiguring itself in real time based on the premise that interaction can take place only between two active parts, whereas one active part is the user and the other one is the building in a dynamic context. Hyperbody constantly researches and develops alternative solutions for enhancing such real-time information exchanges via developing computational tools and techniques serving as a quintessential backbone for its ambitious Hyperarchitectural prototypes.
Another extension of this real-time behaviour research aims at developing collaborative design systems. Such collaborative systems rely on the concept of shared virtual space, wherein collaborating participants can work synchronously or asynchronously on the same project. Intelligent engines, which reside in this shared space, support the activities of the participants by providing automated services, such as detecting design changes and automatically notifying the participants of changes. Underlying the shared space is a series of databases, which contain information related to the project. Databases include  3D models of the evolving building,  a document management system containing and managing correspondence, contracts, lists  a discussion platform, and  a shared software database that provides software applications to the parties. Such collaborative design systems not only enhance the design and development phases of a project but owing to their real-time data exchange abilities, considerably reduce the amount of time and co-ordination effort usually required in accomplishing a design project. This is primarily due to the ability of such systems to enable experts from multiple disciplines to alter, analyze as well as re-design projects in real-time. Hyperbody continues to extensively research and design such efficiency enhancing collaborative systems under this research umbrella through the following engagements.
3. Architectural singularity
Hyperbody’s Architectural singualrity research specifically aims at conceiving as well as prototyping a novel design and fabrication approach which works as a real-time inter-connected and integrated process. As opposed to the conventional phased processes which architectural design and constructiojn involves till date: conceptualizing, designing, planning, construction and environmental concern, the Architectural sungularity research concentrates upon interlooping these phases into one comprehensive design process, namely, the Architectural singularity. Architectural Singularity can be considered as a projected moment at which such temporally phased architectural processes can be fully integrated, thus shifting the conventional process into a real-time behavioural network of simultaneous operations of design, fabrication, construction and usage.
As architecture approaches the Architectural Singularity, the temporality of the process is compressed towards a singular moment in time. The building can no longer be considered a series-of-one design object, but should be regarded as a potentially infinite series of objects, a flow in any direction and scale. As this happens architecture itself approaches a singularity, to be understood like in mathematics, a point where conventional concepts are unfit to describe the emerging phenomena. Near the A.S., conventional notions of architectural are challenged, and alternative architectural praxis emerges.
4. Digital design and manufacturing techniques
The ability of digital media to frame questions and interrogate issues pertaining to conceptualization, representation and simulation of architectural design challenges the role of traditional media in architecture: computer programs, for instance, influence design, while their use in different phases of the design process establishes a modus operandi new to architecture. Architects generate digital information that can be used in fabrication and construction to directly drive computer-controlled machines and produce building components, challenging the still persistent traditional modes of production.
Hyperbody, in its quest for developing innovative performative morpholgies researches heavily into computational tools and techniques such as evolutionary algorithms, swarm modelling techniques, pointclouds as well as parametric modelling and real-time topology modification. The Digital design and manufacturing research agenda thus professes the role of information technology and the benefits one can reap from the ability of computational tools and techniques to conceive, analyze as well as to fabricate complex geometric design compositions. Generative geometry techniques influenced by contextual logistics as well as master planning and urban design initiatives based upon biotic and natural systems thus formulates a vital part of this research agenda. Communication theory as well as the understanding of Systems per se at Hyperbody also result in developing technological analogies for developing open-systems leading to the generation of novel techniques such as real-time updating database structures which can be mined by multiple users at the same time as well as streaming fabrictaion techniques which can be deployed for precision oriented manufacturing of complex design elements.
Apart from developing such digital design tools and techniques from an engineering architecture perspective, Hyperbody constantly engages it self with Inter-disciplinary tools such as game design based softwares such as Virtools, softwares from the music industry such as Max Msp and Jitter as well as softwares from the structural engineering domain such as Generative components, Gehry technologies and Oasis. A lot of stress upon scripting and coding techniques in a variety of softwares such as Maya, Rhinocerous as well as techniques for connecting sensing devices to attain streaming input of vital contextual parameters is laid under this research stream. Apart from generating emergent spatial morphologies, Hyperbody also lays equal stress upon material research and optimal fabrication techniques such as laser cutting, rapid protyping, computer numercially controlled milling, vacuem forming as well as engages itself with developing customized steel fabrication techniques. The affordances set forth by the digital design tools and techniques as regards generating precise data structures for complex geometries are thus communicated directly to manufacturing machines via our File to Factory manufacturing techniques. On-going research initiatives under this research strand are as follows:
Hyperbody’s Morphogenomics research strand represents a novel information integrated generative design method for developing context oriented performative morphologies. Morphogenomics, a relatively new research area, deals with the intricacies of morphological informatics. It is closely linked with the term Morphogenesis (from the Greek morphê – shape and genesis – creation), which deals with the study of the development of form during its early cellular stages in developmental biology. Morphogenomics focuses upon the informatics constituent behind the emergence of diverse morphologies. This informatics constituent specifically involves studying the structure, behavior, and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process and exchange information. This information intensive communicative process thus serves as a dynamic medium for mapping the morphological genome onto architectural space and structure. Such an informatics based network of information serves as a determining factor for deciphering architectural nomenclature, while allowing digital manipulation of form in the design process, and enabling mass-customization in digital manufacturing.
The Morphogenomics research strand also focuses intensively on developing collaborative team based design and decision making in order to produce generative urban and architectural morphologies. Akin to realistic projects, the views put forth by Governmental and Social reformers as well as the desires, aspirations and needs of people who would be eventually affected by the proposed developments. These views and requirement sets are abstracted as a set of global rules/constraints within which the Morphogenomics agenda creatively operates.
In order to aid this intensive collaborative design-research effort Hyperbody develops a series of computational tools for simulating real-time interactive behavior such as: a dynamic updating data-base with a corresponding data visualization and real time data manipulation web based interface, A swarmCad tools for global and local spatial as well as programmatic layout (operating on the logics of swarm behavior), L-Systems based urban and architectural pattern generation tools and computational tools for generating performative structural solutions for complex geometry. Information pertaining to multi-player collaborative decisions pertaining to breeding programmatic variants, and the Morphogenomic process behind the translation of abstract thought/mechanisms into computationally enriched urban and architectural morphologies thus forms the crux of this research strand.
Research studios such as the MSc 3 are specifically used as testing grounds for conducting a series of Morphogenomic researches for Urban as well as Architectural projects.
6. Corporate environments
Conventional interfaces in the contemporary are almost entirely confined to the conformist graphical user interface comprising of a keyboard, monitor and a mouse. Taking into consideration that the contemporary information era promotes an increasing percentage of non verbal/digital communication, the notion of transforming the physical environment as an interface to digital information, holds an assuring promise to enrich architectural spatiality. This research work is an effort to envision such an interfaced augmented spatiality in the corporate office domain, explicitly focusing upon the behavioural dynamics of occupants operating within such organizations. In order to address this vision, the research agenda focuses upon developing a real-time adaptive (spatial, ambient and informational) office environment acknowledging the dynamic culture of contemporary corporate organizations.
A critical look at the evolutionary transformations, which corporate offices have witnessed, not only on the spatial front (typological, aesthetical and corporate image oriented aspects of office buildings), but also on the managerial and organizational re-structuring front, makes it evident that the so called ‘orthodox’ corporate body is giving way to the development of a self-organizing networked body nurturing dynamic business eco-systems. Architectural substantiations for such bodies embodying dynamic business eco-systems however tend to be spatially inert in essence and deem to remain closed systemic entities owing to their adherence to rather static spatial programs in accordance with which they were initially conceptualised.
This programmatic adherence driven production of architectural typologies compounded by the inherent inert materiality of building components results in the creation of a spatial system which appropriately performs for the set of programmatic demands based in which it was formulated. However, the same architectural construct tends to be inept in responding to evolving programmatic demands; a resultant of the dynamic business eco-system which it houses, owing to its static pre-programmed nature.
Architectural renditions supporting such emergent forms of organizations thus need to be re-thought in order to break apart from the inherent closed system typology of architectural materiality they exhibit, in favour of a dynamic typology, addressing contemporary corporate culture.
7. Quantum architecture
Interactive Architecture, as the new focus of Avant-Garde architectural research, inevitably ask for its own theoretic framework that is composed of the nature of interactivity, the concept of real-time and the innovative ways of computational system construction. The emergence of such a new theoretic framework is only possible when new paradigms are introduced into the traditionally well defined architecture discipline, as the old architecture language has already been proven to be inadequate to announce the spirit of interactivity for this new kind of architecture. It is within these circumstances that quantum paradigm is introduced into the research of architecture, especially interactive architecture.
Quantum theory, one of the most profound discoveries in physics, has already triggered a set of revolutionary redefinitions of the basic concepts such as, space, time, consciousness, reality and causality. The interpretation on these new definitions and the examination on the inner relationships between these concepts have lead to flourishing research activities within the fields of not only natural sciences, but also social sciences like conscious study and social study. Equally exciting examples could be found in literature and art, where new understandings of physical reality are tested and visualized. As for the research of interactive architecture, the impact of the quantum paradigm can be concluded from three aspects.
The first one is that it provides a new understanding of space as a fluctuating field filled with potentialities which could only be described by means of statistical statement, which naturally serves as the most fluent way of describing the complex dynamic design background that architects are facing today. The second one is that it denies the objective deterministic paradigm by pointing out the crucial role that observer carries on in shaping the configuration of the observed system. The architectural interpretation for it will be that architectural space could be very much possible collectively designed and shaped by its real-time user based on a set of explicit simple rules. The third one is that it advocates non-locality by the quantum entanglement principle, which broke down the very notion of locality based causality and the limited information sharing method which was taken as granted, the relevant architectural reflection on it will be the rethinking of the simultaneity of both the non-local information sharing and remote causal-effect relationship as a new concept in designing an interactive system that is not limited by spatial relationship of events.
The Quantum architecture research agenda examines the above mentioned impact of quantum paradigm on architecture both in the construction of a theoretical framework, and a methodological enquiry of how these notions could actually contribute to real-time interactive quantum system setup, which can be applied to architectural design.