Through the guidance of Faculty Hesham Shawqy and Faculty Assistant Erida Bendo, the students of the Master in Advanced Computation for Architecture & Design (MaCAD) embark on a transformative educational journey, honing their abilities to craft innovative, sustainable, and efficient architectural solutions inspired by the world around us.

Student Laurence Antelme

Student: Laurence Antelme

Human beings have always found inspiration in the natural world and in the efficiency of its structures. From the spirals of a seashell to the hexagonal cells of a honeycomb, nature has perfected the art of form and function for performance. This is the essential question that drives the study of bio-inspired structures: how can we generate efficient designs inspired by the natural world?

The complex forming course of MaCAD aims to explore the generative systems behind natural structures using advanced digital design tools to simulate and evaluate them. The course covers a wide range of topics including the history of biomimicry in architecture, biophilia, bio-utilization, synthetic biology, and more. Students are introduced to the difference between parametric and generative models, and learn parametric algorithms using Grasshopper3d, while advancing their skills in  data structures, physics simulations, and optimization workflows.

The course goes beyond theory, allowing students to put their knowledge into practice by building skeleton and aggregation systems. They explore optimization solvers and work on documenting the iterative computational design process. Through the software Houdini, they were introduced into particle systems, along with the skills necessary to interoperate between this software and Grasshopper. Growth systems inside Houdini were also introduced, allowing students to simulate the growth of natural structures and apply these processes into their own designs.

Efficiency and environmental control are key themes throughout the course. By studying natural systems, students were able to develop a deeper understanding of adaptation and apply this to their own designs. The course emphasized the importance of bio-inspired design in creating sustainable and efficient structures that meet the needs of modern society.

The complex forming course provides an in-depth exploration of bio-inspired structures and their potential applications in architecture. By using advanced digital design tools and studying the natural world, students were able to develop new and innovative solutions to design problems, which can in turn provide performance for sustainability, just as the forms in nature. This course exemplifies the importance of interdisciplinary studies in developing new approaches to complex problems.