Material Computation: Higher Integration in Morphogenetic Design by Achim Menges – Notes

  • Menges, Achim. “Material Computation: Higher Integration in Morphogenetic Design.” Material Computation: Higher Integration in Morphogenetic Design 82.2 (2012): 14-21. AD Reader. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. <>.
    • Menges argues for materiality to be more than a passive property assigned once the form is decided and outlines ways of integrating material information as a generative driver in design computation.

“Computational design enables architects to integrate ever more multifaceted and complex design information, while the industrial logics of conventional building construction are eroding rapidly in a context of increasingly ubiquitous computer-controlled manufacturing and fabrication.”(16)
The architectural industry is being radically altered by computational design and fabrication. CNC manufacturing is increasingly predominate in the construction of architectural components.

“Materiality and materialisation can become the starting points of an exploratory, open-ended design process, and thus serve, quite literally, as the raw materials for design research and architectural inquiry.”(16)
Defense of my research method and starting point for this project.

“Materiality is usually conceptualised as a mere passive property assigned to geometrically defined elements, and materialisation is implicitly conceived as a secondary process of facilitating a scheme’s realisation within the physical world. Consequently, material information is understood as facilitative rather than generative.”(17)
By understanding metal and the process of incremental deformation, I will be in a better place to design the system in which it is used.

Feedback loops between computational design, advanced simulation and robotic fabrication will enable a complex performative structure from a simple system.(17)

“computational process that moves between virtual generation and physical materialisation”(20)

Skylar Tibbets identifies a “fundamental lack of finesse in contemporary modes of construction when compared to the increasing sophistication of combined design computation and digital fabrication”(20)

Cristiano Ceccato “explains the work of Zaha Hadid Architects on reconciling advanced forms of digital design that exist within a multidimensional envelope of material performance, production capabilities, logistics and cost, with today’s comparatively archaic methods of procurement, fabrication and construction.”(21)
Roboforming has the opportunity to close this gap between complex forms generated by computational methods, such as those by Zaha, and the constraints of manufacturing.


Computation: the processing of information

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