Toni Kotnik and Fabio Gramazio lecture is about rule-based design paradigms, whereby they focus on both design methodologies as well as their meaning for the broader context of digital design culture. The rules that inform design processes can have an aesthetic, constructive or structural nature and are always tightly related to the question of its “making”, meaning on the one side the question of constructability and on the other side the way architecture is finally fabricated and materialized. Materiality is increasingly being enriched with digital characteristics, which substantially affect architecture’s physis, it’s form and matter. Both principles are intricately interwoven. In the physical world one cannot occur without the other: no material is without form and no form exists without materialisation. With the utilization of the computer as design tool, this interdependency of form and material has been translated into an abstract set of interacting causalities. The synthesis of two seemingly distinct worlds – the digital and the physical – generates new, self-evident realities. Data and material, programming and construction are interwoven. This synthesis is enabled by the techniques of digital simulation and digital fabrication, which allows the architect to control the material behaviour and the manufacturing process through design data. Material is thus enriched by information. This new situation transforms the possibilities and thus the professional scope of the architect.
Toni Kotnik is lecturer and senior researcher at the ETH Zurich and principal of d’HKL, a Zurich-based office focusing on research-oriented architectural design. He studied architecture and mathematics in Germany, Switzerland and the US and received his doctoral degree from the University of Zurich. He was research fellow at Center for the Representation of Multi-Dimensional Information, principal researcher at OCEAN design research network, assistant professor at the Institute for Experimental Architecture at the University of Innsbruck and studio master at the Emergent Technology and Design program at the Architectural Association in London. He has been lecturing worldwide including Harvard University, Copenhagen Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Princeton University, The Bartlett School of Architecture, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Sydney University of Technology, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and MoMA New York. His practice and research work has been published and exhibited internationally and is centered on the integration of scientific knowledge into the design process with focus on the relationship between architectural and structural design.