40 507 ACDL Computation


Prerequisites: Working Knowledge in Rhino
Requirements: Students are required to attend the ACDL elective course

Course content

The ACDL studio foregrounds research by design with strong emphasis on computational design. In the studio students will work in teams of two or three in order to enable lateral exchange of knowledge and skills.

For students that join the studio for the first time main emphasis will be placed on the introduction of specific concepts and approaches in computational design in architecture and related skill building. The design project will act as a vehicle for this purpose and the studio related elective course will serve as a skill building boot camp. For students that may take the studio again in following semesters main emphasis will be placed on the project as a vehicle for research by design and integrated computational design in architecture.

The semester in fall 2014 will commence with detailed design inquiries into relatively small, but well-defined buildings schemes and continues with their gradual proliferation into larger aggregations and urban fabric. A series of computational design methods and tools will be explored towards this end.

The central thematic focus of the studio is the relation between building and urban fabric. The problem of the growth of contemporary cities is that the prevailing expansion and densification modes are predicated on discrete freestanding buildings of which the urban fabric consists. This means that expansion takes up a lot of surface area, while densification entails ever less space between ever-taller buildings. The studio therefore seeks to challenging architectural design that results finite and unconnected objects and instead examines the possibility of expandable architectural designs that can be extended into a continuous urban fabric, such as, for instance the mat-building typology that evolved out of the research and work of GAMMA (the Moroccan CIAM group), Team X (Smithsons, Aldo van Eyck, Candilis-Josic-Woods, etc) and contemporary schemes inspired by this type of urban fabric and building typology (such as OMA’s Agadir Conference Centre or Nexus World Housing project, etc). The aim is to rethink the mat-building typology as a locally specific architecture and tectonic system.

Content and Teaching Methods:
Teaching will take place in the dedicated studio context (ACDL) through lectures, seminars, tutoring and workshops. The studio will have an accompanying elective course that serves as a boot camp to establish a necessary skill base in computational design methods and tools. Topics will be approached both as design factors in an architectonic process and in a scientific way.

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes:

• Students will gain detailed knowledge of the architectural and computational design themes pursued by the studio and develop skill in computational design in architecture;
• Students will gain the ability to develop designs based on specific performative criteria in an integrated manner from the conceptual stage to the material articulation through computational design;
• Knowledge in associative modelling and generative systems;
• Knowledge in use of Virtual and Augmented Reality for architectural visualisation and design;
• The ability to set up and follow through a design process that leads to the desired result;
• The ability to utilize design as a method of research in architecture that facilitates the conception of novel architectural designs;

Working and learning activities

1. Lectures and seminar type instructions regarding architecture and urban design concepts and approaches (seminars require preparation by the students in the form of reading selected texts)
2. Studio tutorials on an individual and group basis regarding design and research by design, as well as instructions towards skill building
3. Instructions towards master level self guided research and project development.
4. Workshop sessions that introduce specific themes and skills

Note: All instructions are based on active participation by the students and 90 % attendance

Professor in charge

Assistant Professor Søren Sørensen

Additional information

Other Teaching Staff:
Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel (20%)
Joakim Hoen (20%)

Studio Capacity: 15 students


Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Annen vurderingsform, definer i kommentarfelt Pass / Fail

See Working and learning activities

Reading lists / teaching materials

Essential Reading:

The ACDL Studio will provide in its dedicated space a hand-library of selected literature on architectural and computational design topics and methods.


·         Risselda, M. and van den Heuvel, D. Eds. (2006) Team 10 1953-81 In Search of a Utopia of the Present. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers.

·         Sarkis, H. (2001) Case: Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital and the Mat Building Revival. Munich, London, New York: Prestel.

·         Woods, S. (1978) Cadilis, Josic, Woods : Decade of Architecture and Urban Design.

Papers and articles:

·         Hensel, M. and Sørensen, S. (2013) ‘En route to Performance-oriented Architecture - The Research Centre for Architecture and Tectonics: Integrating Architectural Education with Research by Design along a practice-oriented Perspective’. In: Prof. Djordje Stojanovic ed, SAJ Serbian Architecture Journal 5 (2): 106-131.

·         Smithson, A (1974). How to recognize and read mat-building. Architectural design 44(9), s.573-590


Recommended Reading:


·         Ayres, P. ed. (2012) Persistent Modelling, London: Routledge.

·         Frazer, J. (1995) An Evolutionary Architecture. London : AA Publications. PDF Online: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/publications/ea/intro.html

·         Hensel, M. (2013) AD Primer: Performance-oriented Architecture – Rethinking Architectural Design and the Built Environment. London: AD Wiley.

·         Hensel, M. and Turko, J. (2015) Grounds and Envelopes – Reshaping Architecture and the Built Environment. Routledge: London.

·         Hensel, M., Menges, A. and Weinstock, M. (2010) Emergent Technologies and Design: A Biological Paradigm for Architecture. London: Routledge.

·         Hensel, M., Hight, C. and Menges, A. Eds. (2009) Space Reader – Heterogeneous Space in Architecture. London: John Wiley and Sons.

·         Kolarevic, B. Ed. (2003) Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and ManufacturingLondon: Taylor and Francis.

·         Kolarevic, B. and Malkavi, A. Eds. (2005) Performative Architecture – Beyond Instrumentality. London: Spon Press.

·         Kolarevic, B. and Klinger, K. Eds. (2008) Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture. London: Routledge.

·         Koolhaas, R. and Mau, B. (1998) S, M. L, XL. Rotterdam: 101 Publishers.

-        Koolhaas, R. and Foster, H. (2013) Junk space with Running Room. London: Notting Hill Editions.