This year the DRL concluded the first full cycle of the three-year design research agenda Proto-Design, which investigated digital and analogue forms of computation in the pursuit of systemic design applications that are scenario- and time-based. Considering controls systems as open acts of design experimentation, the DRL examines production processes as active agents in the development of architecture. Behavioural, parametric and generative methodologies of computational design are coupled with physical computing and analogue experiments to create dynamic and reflexive feedback processes. New forms of spatial organisation are explored not as type or context-dependent but by examining scenarios that evolve as ecologies and environments that seek adaptive and hyper-specific features. This performance-driven approach aims to develop novel design proposals concerned with the everyday. The iterative methodology of the design studio focuses on the investigation of spatial, structural and material organisations, engaging in contemporary discourses on computation and materialisation in the disciplines of architecture and urbanism.
Five research studios run parallel to each other exploring the possibilities of Proto-Design. Theodore Spyropoulos’ studio, Digital Materialism, investigates behaviour as the means to explore self-regulating and deployable soft systems. Proto-Tower, led by Patrik Schumacher, Mirco Becker and Christos Passas, focuses on the design of inherently adaptive prototypes that intelligently vary general topological schemata across a wide range of parametrically specifiable site-conditions and briefs. Alisa Andrasek’s studio, Protocols, looks at infrastructure implants within the context of heterogeneous networks and non-linear time. Marta Malé-Alemany, Daniel Piker and Jeroen van Ameijde’s studio, Machinic Control, examines architectural design processes incorporating novel digital fabrication methods that challenge current industrial (repetitive) modes of production. Lastly, Proto Tectonics, led by Yusuke Obuchi and Robert Stuart Smith, explores how non-linear design processes may be instrumental in generating a temporal architecture with a designed life-cycle.