Achim Menges: Material Synthesis: Fusing the Physical and the Computational in Architecture
Edgar A. Tafel Lecture Series
Achim Menges is a registered architect in Frankfurt and professor at Stuttgart University, where he founded the Institute for Computational Design in 2008. Since 2009, he has also been a visiting professor in architecture at Harvard GSD. He graduated with honors from the AA School of Architecture where he subsequently taught as studio master of the Emergent Technologies and Design Graduate Program, and as unit master in the AA Diploma School.
Menges's practice and research focuses on the development of integral design processes at the intersection of morphogenetic design computation, biomimetic engineering, and robotic fabrication that enables a highly articulated, performative built environment. His projects and design research work has received various international awards, has been published and exhibited worldwide, and forms part of several renowned museum collections, including the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
A new understanding of the material in architecture is fast emerging. Designers are no longer conceiving of the digital realm as separate from the physical world. Instead computation is being regarded as the key interface for material exploration and vice versa. In this lecture, Menges will discuss how this represents a significant perceptual shift in which the materiality of architecture is no longer seen to be a fixed property and passive receptor of form, but is transformed into an active generator of design and an adaptive agent of architectural performance. In stark contrast to previous linear and mechanistic modes of fabrication and construction, materialization is now beginning to coexist with design as explorative robotic processes. This represents a radical departure from both the trite modernist emphasis on 'truth to materials' and the dismissal of materials by the previous generation of digital architects.
Achim Menges's Website