Digital Design

Fabricate 2017: Rethinking Design and Construction brings together building projects involving digital fabrication.

New design and fabrication technologies have improved the understanding of concert hall acoustics, benefitting projects such as Herzog and de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

The book is the official supporting publication of Fabricate, the international triennial conference for those working at the intersection of design, architecture, construction and computation.

Academics at the University of Stuttgart turned a flimsy membrane into a supported building envelope using digital fabrication
The Elytra Filament Pavilion, installed at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 2016, demonstrates the future potential of fibrous building systems

The projects chosen show the high-tech strategy in which design, engineering and production are leading to a fourth industrial revolution.”

Parametric modelling and advanced structural analysis were used in BIG’s 2016 Serpentine Pavilion in London which featured interlocking bricks


AL_A worked with specialist fabricator ShapeShift and engineers to create the translucent petals of the Mpavilion in Melbourne.

Copies of Fabricate 2017: Rethinking Design and Construction are available to download for free or purchase in hardback for £35 via UCL Press.


There is a new exhibition of mobile sculpture by Alexander Calder at the Whitney Gallery in New York. Scientist can monitor the changes. The resulting patterns mean that Calder’s art can be extended to create new rhythms, shapes and relationships.

Double-click on the image below.

Long Exposures

Jason Shulman photographs entire movies with ultra-long exposures, creating impressionist photographic images:

Alice in Wonderland 1951 –


Dr Strangelove 1964 –



Le Voyage dans la Lune 1902 –


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 –


The Wizard of Oz 1939 –3543-3.jpg

Digital Grotesque


Digital Grotesque is an architecture that defies classification and reductionism. It explores unseen levels of resolution and topological complexity in architecture by developing compositional strategies based on purely geometric processes.


In the Digital Grotesque project,  algorithms create a form that appears at once synthetic and organic. The design process thus strikes a delicate balance between the expected and the unexpected, between control and relinquishment. The algorithms are deterministic as they do not incorporate randomness, but the results are not necessarily entirely forseeable. Instead, they have the power to surprise.


The resulting architecture does not lend itself to a visual reductionism. Rather, the processes can devise truly surprising topographies and topologies that go far beyond what one could have traditionally conceived.

Digital Grotesque is between chaos and order, both natural and the artificial, neither foreign nor familiar. Any references to nature or existing styles are not integrated into the design process, but are evoked only as associations in the eye of the beholder.

The leading architects of this new approach are M. Hansmeyer, Zurich, and B. Dillenburger, Toronto.

Pub Crawl

After a few drinks it’s hard to walk in a straight line. The straightest walk between all 24,727 pubs listed in the UK sets mathematical challenges.


The project is led by Professor William Cook from the University of Waterloo, Canada. He says it is one of the most intensively studied problems in computational mathematics.


The line is 45,495km long and looks good on the outline map of the UK. But as an algorithm written in computer code, it does not excite the average blog reader.

A team plotted the coordinates of all 24,727 pubs listed on the comprehensive Pubs Galore website, and spent two years calculating the shortest possible route between them all.


The Wasdale Head, Cumbria

(Thanks to The Guardian, October 21, 2016)

Deep-Time Maps

The “Ancient World” as Deep Time Maps have just become available at a new website from Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc. The series of paleogeographic global maps is based on the latest geologic information. Go to

Global Paleogeography and Tectonics in Deep Time
©2016 Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc.


The global maps go back more than 300 million years and show the latest interpretations of plate movement, boundaries and present national outlines. Some of the land masses have familiar shapes but there are mysterious connections that represent a ghost-like world.

Computer Art

Harold Cohen (1 May 1928 – 27 April 2016) has died in San Diego California. He was the creator of AARON, a computer program designed to produce art autonomously.


Cohen went to the United States as a visiting lecturer at the University of California, San Diego in 1968, but he was given the rank of professor and stayed on for nearly three decades, part of the time as chairman of the Visual Arts Department. In addition, he served as director of the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts at University of California, San Diego from 1992 to 1998.


harold-cohen-2.jpgAfter his retirement from UCSD, he continued to work on AARON and produce new art.

Cohen’s work on AARON began in 1968 at the University of California, San Diego.[3] He initially wrote AARON in the C programming language but eventually converted to Lisp, citing that C was “too inflexible, too inexpressive, to deal with something as conceptually complex as colour.”cohen.jpg