Animated Computation 2

Visual Studies

Spring 2013

John Whitelaw, instructor

Architects have been employing computation as a design strategy and/or tool for years.  It is seen as a way of engaging problems that are too complex to engage without the use of algorithms.  The implementation of computation in architecture has recently been through a set of tools to manage data as bits and bytes, more specifically through scripting. The employment of computer algorithms (scripting) is, however, preceded by the use of analog computational models to engage issues of complexity in architecture.  Popular early examples of this are Antoni Gaudi’s catenary models using strings and bags of sand to find the structural solutions that would become the lines of his structural arches, and Frei Otto’s thin film soap bubbles used to develop minimal surfaces for use as structural shells.

Animated Computation introduced students to a fluid and visually responsive method for engaging the power of computation as a design tool through the transformation of traditional animation tools into computational modeling devices.  These computer models were visually responsive and intuitive, capable of responding to sets of external and internal stimuli (their environment, other computer models, user input, themselves).