As a studio dedicated to research, there is a constant struggle between what's "work" vs "research".  What is the platform that differentiates the two?  2014 was  the year to put the idea of the LAB on its course - to gain greater control through digital fabrication, parametric modeling and information exchange with the wider design community.

Why control? The architectural process is fraught with delays – waiting on the engineer’s energy analysis response, on-site mock-ups for material performance and constructability verification which actually should have occurred early in the design exploration phase, etc.  Frustrating! Costly! 

​​TEXFAB5:SKIN - DIGITAL ASSEMBLIES
Performance Skins with Ronnie + Gill / ModeLab

2014 was initiated with a defined objective to achieve greater control over the design process. Starting with the elemental return to the hand and craft at TexFab, the year culminated with ACADIA where we questioned "the capacity for computation to inform or challenge traditional design processes; computation as design operation - the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power, and/or computation as design instrumentality - the design mechanism through which power is exerted or an end is achieved"*.  This journey into control has expanded our ability to craft more precise fabrication solutions, take a deeper-dive into sustainable optimization, and discussions with PhD candidates were insightful in revealing avenues for the next design thought processes.

*quote by ModeLab.

!LABnotes 1

FACADES+CHICAGO
Advanced Façade Panelization and Optimization Techniques with Matt Naugle, Alloy Kemp / Thornton Tomasetti. 
ACADIA: DESIGN AGENCY
High-Throughput Computing with Sebastian Claussnitzer, Neil Katz / SOM.  


At blink!LAB exprimentation is a vehicle with which to pull the future forward.

​NASA Sustainability Base was ground-breaking in its integration of an extensive array of renewable energy resources.  However, the design process lacked a dynamic response from mechanism. That was 2010. 

​Focus: The skin itself, understand its properties, complex facade envelope designs techniques for the rationalization of its surfaces for efficient fabrication. 


​Result: A fundamental concept for facade panelization, and optimization. A design process which permits a dynamic feedback loop between architects and engineers. ​ ​


We have attended FaçadePlus every year since its inception. This year there were more engineers than architects and what is clear, due to using the same software we are, as design professionals, closer to speaking the same language.  This can only lead to greater collaboration.

​​Thin shells, aircraft hangers, Munich's 1972 Olympic Stadium, tents, anything by Frei Otto or Felix Candella for decades, shells, skins, and tensile structures have been investigated and successfully engineered but it is only relatively recently that software apps such as Kangaroo have made it possible for architects to re-engage with dynamic forms. 

Focus: Setting up a framework for not only writing the algorithm but also analyzing and visualizing its output. 
Result: A clear functional method for towards solutions. 

    a  r  c  h  i  t  e  c  t  u  r  e

Attending ACADIA was important to discover what were the emerging thoughts and experiments taking place and what is the current trajectory for design.


​Focus: Managing and manipulation of large and varied datasets

Result: Parallel computing is exposing a means to visualize "trade-offs". Given finite resources, compromise is inherent. 
Software: Archsim, Lunchbox, Tableau Public, EnergyPlus, Excel, EPCloud


​This was our first participation in ACADIA.  Exhilarating does not approximate this week-long symposium.  We found an international network of digital design researchers and professionals; discovered very critical investigations into the role of computation beyond the architectural endeavor and evaluated that the application of algorithms as an urban planning methodology is still in the nascent phase but promising.