Building technology | Bouwhouse Symposium

Student Experience in the course Building technology

After finishing a bachelor's degree in Architecture, I worked as a design architect in an architecture firm that undertook large scale healthcare projects. Working on large scale projects in an interdisciplinary team made me realise the need to move beyond a generalist’s role and specialize in some discipline. Technology and sustainability were my primary interests. The building technology track at TU delft was the only one that offered courses in a range of technical disciplines in sustainable design for me to explore.

After completing the first semester of building technology, I realised that my inclination lied towards the field of design informatics and decided to pursue courses in the same further. In the second semester I could take up elective courses like Design informatics and 1:1 interactive prototypes where I could further develop my computational design skills, and in MEGA I was able to use those to solve a design problem that dealt with large scale complex buildings with multiple functions, dealing with complex design and engineering challenges.

The course Earthy in the third semester of my studies was the most influential one for me. It exposed me towards the field of generative design and approaching an Architectural design problem in a scientific and structured way. It introduced possibilities of thinking about the design of a building as a set of interconnected systems and the designer as the person responsible for building and controlling those systems. The studio focused on computational methods for spatial configuration, design, and construction of a settlement for displaced communities. We developed a tool Terra Tetris, a participatory game for procedurally designing the Zaatari Refugee camp temporary housing into earthy ( Adobe brick construction) buildings. All the three stages of an Architectural project Configuration (Floor Planning), Shaping (Form generation), Structuring (Construction and Structure) were programmed in the game and were interlinked in feedback loops.

The tool developed in Earthy led me towards a topic for my graduation project. I am currently developing a generative design methodology for solving the 3d layout problem in complex projects with multiple requirements and interdependencies. My project’s central problem concerns the controllable generation of a spatial system consisting of routes pertaining to a graph with closeness weights, spatial zones fitting into locations fulfilling their requirements and fitting their goals, and the compactness of the entire system into a space-efficient mass. The criterion of controllability stems from my goal to provide a participatory design mechanism, one that does not provide an answer as a black-box but one with which the prospective inhabitants and architects can interact and understand its behaviour, at least at an abstract but direct level. The project one realised will not only democratise the design process but will also offer a definitive alternative to the manual process for developing architectural configurations.

After completing my graduation, my goal is further to continue my research as part of doctoral studies or undertake a job as a computational designer in an architecture or engineering firm to push the boundaries of technology and innovation in Architecture.

An article written by Aditya Soman, building technology student, Board member Bout