I have returned truly inspired by Smartgeometry 2012, hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This partnership of practice, research and academia has consistently pushed the boundaries of design and innovation since its founding in 2001, and this year continued that tradition.


The sg2012 challenge investigated the connections between materials and environment, as informed by materiality and empowered by computational design processes.

The event began with a four day Workshop (March 19-22), during which eleven 2012 Clusters developed their groups’ unique projects in a collaborative design effort.







I may be biased, but in particular draw your attention to the material conflicts cluster, whose aim it was to leverage GenerativeComponents tools—such as EnergyPlus, STAAD, and Darwin—to “test building energy and structural performance, to see how a building can be tuned to balance a number of parameters such as building shape, orientation, amount of glass, depth of floor plate, orientation, amount of ventilation, facade material, to provide good human comfort and low energy and carbon use.”


The workshop days were followed by the Conference-composed of a Talkshop (March 23) and Symposium (March 24).

Talkshop offered roundtable discussions on various topics within intelligent material practices, in an effort to explore both challenges and possibilities for innovation. Subjects included hybrid adaptive systems, the matrix of scale and materials, aggregate behavior of materials and programmed logic, nanotechnology and DNA computing to improve materials, and more.

Symposium included keynote speakers Enric Ruiz-Geli (Director of Cloud- 9 Studio), Robert Hull (Head of Department of Material Science and Engineering at RPI), Manfred Grohmann (Bollinger+Grohmann Engineering), Perry Hall (Artist), and Evan Douglis (Evan Douglis Studio and Dean of the School of Architecture, RPI).  Each speaker was followed by Cluster reports with thematic connections to the keynote.




Smartgeometry Directors Shane Burger (Woods Bagot), Xavier DeKestelier (Fosters + Partners), Lars Hesselgren (PLP Architects), J Parrish (AECOM) and Hugh Whitehead (Foster + Partners) are to be commended for another excellent event, as is RPI’s School of Architecture (in particular RPI Host Directors Jefferson Ellinger & Demetrios Comodromos).

More information can be found at http://www.smartgeometry.org   I encourage you to return to this site again, later, to check out the sg videos of the 2012 sessions and keynotes, as they are posted.