Algorithmic Design is one name for a growing field within design, often called, computational design, meta design or generative design.   It encompasses techniques such as form finding and optimisation to generate novel and or optimal forms and designs

Study of the Columns of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia

Instead of having as an output one fixed design, documented as a static 3D model, with this approach we aim to document an open ended set of solutions. This goes much further than parametric solid modelling tools to creating design documentation that can respond to more radical changes and still generate valid solutions. This has application in creating mass-customisable products or in optimising a design to reach the best possible solution to take to the market.

Studies can also be carried out on particular functions or components of designs to find optimal forms. Rather than “a priori” analysis of pre-developed solutions to a problem here a form is found which meets a set of performance criteria. An example of this would be our use of the software “Surface Evolver” to generate a radical new diaphragm form for AWS. Loud1Design proposed a non-straining cushion form that would meet the chosen air capacity required by their engineering research team. The input then to this evolution of the form was a perimeter geometry and a target volume. This kind of problem is difficult to guess or pre-calculate from first principles, so in this way we can then evolve an optimal solution that emerges from the set of conditions subject to physical (or pseudo-physical) laws. This approach allowed many different capacities and perimeter geometries to be explored, contributing to the understanding of the key performance characteristics of the system.

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These techniques allow us to explore forms more directly inspired by nature, not simply in superficial form or style, but also in terms of function and efficiency. Studying the work of D’Arcy Thompson in “On Growth and Form” and the works of Catalan Architect Gaudi’ has inspired the development and research of our design practice.