Self-assembly Architectures
#computational design  #physical computing  #self-assembly  #self-organization

Self-assembly occurs everywhere in nature. Can we use the principles of self-assembly as a design method to generate architectural forms? And would this approach enable us to better respond to environmental challenges in the future?

For more than half a century researchers have been studying architectures that mimic how self-assembly generates order in nature. With novel methods to produce microprocessors, self-assembly has proven its industrial applicability at the nanoscale; however, at the macro scale it yet has to prove its industrial potential. I believe thinking about self-assembly as a design method can be a step forward towards finding its industrial applications, and lead us to generate architectures that better respond to specific environments.

Think about a system of building blocks, a kind of LEGO set for nature, that follows the logic of physical phenomena, responds to its environment, and reconfigures itself until it reaches a stable pattern. Such a system could be used to inform design decisions by revealing the natural forces that might affect architecture in a specific environment. Current self-assembly research seeks to design a shape in advance (deterministic self-assembly). This project embraces randomness and chance, and takes advantage of what would otherwise be considered errors (non-deterministic self-assembly). I imagine a future where using self-assembly design methods, we will be able to develop an architecture that draws on and is nurtured by the logic of nature.

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