Grotto interior view. Fabric  Photo: Dall'Anese

Grotto interior view. Photo: Fabrice Dall’Anese

Digital Grotesque II – a full-scale 3D printed grotto – has premiered at the Centre Pompidou’s Imprimer le monde exhibition.

This fantastically ornamental grotto demonstrates how leaps in computation and fabrication technologies can make new architectural worlds tangible. It turns a computational form of 1.3 billion surfaces into 7 tons of printed sandstone.

The grotto is optimized to present highly differentiated and diverse geometries that forge a rich and stimulating spatial experience for the observer. A subdivision algorithm was exploits the 3D printer’s full potential by creating porous, multi-layered structures with spatial depth. A single volume spawns millions of branches, growing and folding into a complex topological structure. Hundreds of square meters of surface are compressed into a 3.5m high block that forms an organic landscape between the man-made and the natural.

Standing in front of the grotto, one is struck by a hitherto unseen richness of detail that is at times overwhelming. Digital Grotesque II is a testament to and celebration of a new kind of architecture that leaves behind traditional paradigms of rationalization and standardization and instead emphasizes the viewer’s perception, evoking marvel, curiosity and bewilderment.

Digital Grotesque II in figures:
Algorithmically generated geometry with 1.35 billion surfaces
156 GB production data
3D printed out of seven tons of sandstone.
280 μm layer resolution
Dimensions: 3.45m x 3.1m x 2.0m
Design development: 2 years / 3D Printing: 1 month / Assembly: 2 days

Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger

Michael Thoma, Philippe Steiner, Matthias Leschock, Alvaro Lopez, Demetris Shammas, Allegra Stucki, Florentin Duelli, Jan Francisco Anduaga, Katharina Wepler, Lorenz Brunner, Nicolas Harter, Dominik Keller, Max Spett, and Alexander Canario

Partners and Sponsors:
Chair for Digital Buildings Technologies, ETH Zurich
Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Christenguss AG
Bosshard & Co. Ag
Elektro Suter GmbH

Digital Grotesque II is a commission by Centre Pompidou, Paris, for its permanent collection. Research for the project was carried out at the Chair for Digital Building Technologies, ETH Zurich. The geometry was calculated on the High-Performance Computing Cluster EULER at ETH Zurich. Components were printed at Christenguss AG.


Grotto detail. Photo: Michael Hansmeyer

Grotto detail. Photo: Michael Hansmeyer


Grotto interior view. Photo: Demetris Shammas


Grotto front view. Photo: Fabrice Dall’Anese


Grotto top view. Photo: Michael Lyrenmann


Urban Complex Adaptive Systems

Monday 26 June – Thursday 6 July 2017

The main goal of the Visiting School is to explore the complexity of Guatemala with a special focus on finding out the connections between its general extreme conditions and the local or specific responses. Each year, the VS explores a different topic or issue through a 11-day workshop. In 2017, the VS will be focussed on Lake Atitlán, one of the most important natural and cultural icons of Guatemala as well as an important symbolic and spiritual landmark.

We will explore the lake by conducing a wide range of activities. From flying drones to filming interviews to local people, from downloading, visualizing and analysing data from different sources to conducting local surveys to get specific information. We will gain different insights into the lake and its physical and social environment, from different perspectives, and we will eventually work on diverse visions for the future of the lake. Different lectures and conferences will take place throughout the whole workshop, articulating and informing the work in progress and the discussion on the different topics addressed.

The 11-day workshop will take place at three different locations. The meeting point for all participants will be Guatemala City, from where the group will travel to Santa Catarina, where we will have a 5-day stay and will get a first-hand experience at the Lake Atitlán. There, the aim will be to explore the lake, investigate its environmental conditions and meet the particular communities that inhabit the area. After staying at the lake, the workshop will continue with a 2-day stay at the Casa Popenoe, a 1762 colonial villa in Antigua Guatemala, the former capital of the country, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, the workshop will continue with a 4-day stay in Guatemala City, at the facilities of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) campus, where we will develop different proposals based on the previous analysis and insights.

The deadline for applications is 20 April 2017

 Apply here: guatemala.aaschool.ac.uk Read the rest of this entry »


Workshop with graphic Designer Wayne Daly. photo: Ping Ping Lu

Architecture & Ecriture celebrates writing as a critical and creative practice. As the literary branch of the Architectural Association Visiting School, we welcome architects as well as writers, curators or artists interested in spatial theory and literature to join us in Paris from 30 June to 9 July 2017 for the production of exciting new written and performative pieces.

Modeled on the Literary Salon, Architecture & Ecriture draws largely, though not exclusively, from French cultural studies and literature. For this second edition we will read Montaigne and his essays, Barthes and his lectures, Butor and his multifaceted and nomadic writings, Cixous and her memoirs. We will enter the libraries of the world, real and imaginary, with the Virtual Exhibition ‘La Bibliothèque, la nuit’ at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Conceived by director Robert Lepage and his company Ex Machina, the exhibition is based on Alberto Manguel’s spellbinding book The Library at Night.

Architecture & Ecriture explores a space through translation, a Mobile space, which invites us to constant movement and repositioning. This year we will move from fact to fiction and back, from theory to poetry and back.

Deadline for applications: 15 June 2017.

Apply now: paris.aaschool.ac.uk

Participants will take part in a series of workshops, talks and seminars led by guest writers and thinkers from both inside and outside the AA School of Architecture. The Salon is a space of discussion and total immersion and Architecture & Ecriture operates as a research platform where participants are taught as well as invited to contribute new ideas to the current discussion about architectural writing and spatial theories.

The residency will culminate in a public event and exhibition open to a wider audience on July 8th 2017, where participants will be able to showcase their final work.

contact: rabourdin@aaschol.ac.uk Read the rest of this entry »

ying yang architecture 4

Copenhagen Zoo, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Schønherr Landscape Architects and MOE have collaborated on a new yin and yang-shaped Panda House that resembles the Panda’s natural habitat and creates a peaceful environment for one of the world’s rarest mammals.

The new Panda House is scheduled to open in 2018, just in time for the arrival of the two giant Pandas from Chengdu in China – a gesture of goodwill from the Chinese government following Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark’s visit to the country in 2014. Encompassing a 1,250 m2 indoor site and 1,200 m2 outdoor area, the circular shape fits perfectly between the existing buildings at one of the oldest Zoos in Europe, including the award-winning Elephant House by Norman Foster. The construction is scheduled to commence later this year, once the 150 million DKK construction budget has been secured.

“Copenhagen Zoo’s idea-driven organization was key in defining the team we wanted to work with on the new Panda House project. It’s part of our DNA to let everyone from zookeepers, to gardeners and vets, influence the design and function of the facilities to secure the well-being of our animals. The team understood our approach and successfully integrated it into their design process to create a world-class home for these adored Pandas.” Steffen Stræde, Zoo Director, Copenhagen Zoo.

The design of the new Panda House begins with a circular shape, formed by the surrounding existing facilities at the intersection of multiple walkways. Panda House is designed to feel like humans are the visitors in the Pandas’ home, rather than Pandas being the exotic guests from faraway lands. The habitat forms the freest and most naturalistic possible environment for their lives and relationship with each other, providing the freedom to roam about and the ideal conditions to mate – one of the major challenges facing Pandas from becoming endangered.

“Architecture is like portraiture. To design a home for someone is like capturing their essence, their character and personality in built form. In the case of the two great Pandas, their unique solitary nature requires two similar but separate habitats – one for her and one for him. The habitat is formed like a giant yin and yang symbol, two halves: the male and the female, complete each other to form a single circular whole. The curvy lines are undulating in section to create the necessary separation between him and her – as well as between them and us. Located at the heart of the park, we have made the entire enclosure accessible from 360 degrees, turning the two pandas into the new rotation point for Copenhagen Zoo.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG. Read the rest of this entry »

crystal towers 2

The crystalline towers designed by MA2 are a study on office space design for related disciplines. Towers that are fragmented yet connected through bridging and public commercial space is the interest in this conceptualization of the midrise. By creating an office space to accommodate the design disciplines, it allows for a sharing of ideas in various studios and discourse, along with an exhibition showroom for the public to engage with. The study is placed in the setting of Shenzhen Bay, a developing community in the midst of a dense metropolis. With views facing the sea and city backdrop, it was important in the study to consider the scale and morphology of the design office center with these as focal points in the investigation. The torqueing of the crystalline massing allows for multi-angled views and projection walls for digital installations. Cityscapes and natural formations have a dynamic relationship on the formation on cultural buildings and design practices within each site and project condition. By exploring the concept of office space and culture within these conditions, it becomes an actor in its manifestation.  Read the rest of this entry »

VS_Hawaii_Flying Machine at Kaka'ako Park_©_ Costantino_di Sambuy _2016_06_17_4

© Costantino di Sambuy

The AA Visiting School Hawaii is a design workshop dedicated to the investigation of architecturally constructed flying machines.
Gliding between its leisurely vocation and its scientific relevance, we will immerse into this legacy designing the world’s oldest form of air-craft: the kite.
Ranging from abstract sculptures to flying photographic devices, the design, construction and flying techniques of our machines are going to be at the core of our studies and our explorations into the urban and tropical landscape of the island of Oahu.

Deadline for applications: June 6, 2017

-> Apply Now

VS_Hawaii_Flying Machine_©_ Costantino_di Sambuy _2016_06_17_7

© Costantino di Sambuy

VS_Hawaii_Flying Machine_©_ Costantino_di Sambuy _2016_06_17_1

© Costantino di Sambuy


From cubicle to bean bag, from white collar to t-shirt; the office has transformed rapidly from a professional to a personalized environment. Today your personality is part of your job, which has radically changed the nature of workspace. As a response to this evolution a group of researchers and architecture students will explore and propose a new balance between personal and social work, between individual and collective.

For two weeks participants will engage in the research based design workshop ‘Space Program’ which is followed by a conference and public exhibition. The workshop and research takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, which pioneered the info-society and is a hotbed for disruptive ideas. From visiting the most innovative work places around the bay, and analysing the most crucial spatial components within each environment, the research gives a unique understanding for how the design of workspace can change the basis of our human relationships. This first hand research in combination with seminars and in-depth discussions with key individuals across different professional fields gives the Space Program group new tools for tackling one of the fastest changing forms of architecture – the office. By experiencing the existing condition in person and focusing on the social effects of spatial qualities, it becomes possible to design strategically in an era of tech companies and sharing economy phenomena.

Space Program San Francisco is organised by the AA School of Architecture and directed by Martin Brandsdal, Magnus Casselbrant and Jesper Henriksson, founders of the London-based architectural practice Hesselbrand. The concluding conference will have keynote speakers from the fields of art and architecture, and include round table discussions based on the research and designs of the Space Program workshop.

To join the workshop and team of researchers, apply online through the Space Program website. It is open to architecture students and architects form around the world. The workshop will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area from March 24 to April 7, and the registration deadline is March 10. The public exhibition and conference concludes the workshop on the final day, and tickets will be available through the Space Program website.

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Handout photo provided by London art-architecture studio Atmos and shows 'Dreamscape', a new room at the Ô365Õ Ice Hotel Sweden.

Photo provided by London art-architecture studio Atmos and shows ‘Dreamscape’, a new room at the Ice Hotel Sweden.

London art-architecture studio atmos has just opened Dreamscape, a new type of hotel room for a new type of Ice Hotel – the ‘365’ at ICEHOTEL Sweden, which will offer its guests icy escapes all year round.

Dreamscape presents an entirely new form of art suite, physically dramatising the mental journey into sleep and dreams.

A carpet of ice welcomes the visitor at the door, and whisks them up a dramatically curling ice stair (imprinted with an intricate unfurling pattern of radiating ‘grip’ grooves), widening to become a welcoming bed held aloft far above the floor.

Ice tentacles burst from the rear wall of the room to frame the bed, curling downwards as sculptural columns that bury into the snowy floor, or as pincers that carry the stair treads towards the door. Read the rest of this entry »

Gmond International Building, Shenzhen, China_01

Designed by Aedas, Gmond International Building is a representative regeneration project in the old town in Shenzhen. The project will house the headquarters for Tellus-Gmond, Grade 5A lettable office spaces and a jewellery trading centre. The well-facilitated transport hub nearby brings enormous circulation to the complex and generates excellent development potentials.

The architectural form of this 200-metre super high-rise is referenced to the traditional Chinese totem of bamboo which symbolises prosperity and moral integrity. The ascending podium massing recaptures a growing bamboo, featuring exterior landscaped staircases, public platforms, eco-friendly rooftop gardens and an art centre that will also serve as a jewellery exhibition venue. The podium façade expresses as large bamboo leaves to enclose the commercial component forming an interesting duet with the blooming tower. Read the rest of this entry »

LA Kretz Innovation Campus - JFAK Architects

LA Kretz Innovation Campus – JFAK Architects

This vital new work and research campus designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK) has quickly become a dynamic hub where government, business entrepreneurs, and community come together to forge creative new partnerships. The goal: to foster innovations that advance LA’s green economies within the framework of an unusual public-private coalition. The campus includes a transformed 61,000 SF warehouse in the vibrant Arts District. Offices, conference rooms, labs, prototyping workshops, and event space, in addition to facilities serving one of the City’s major public utility companies, exist alongside PV-shaded parking, greywater filtration, and a microgrid system.

Flexible open areas support new collaborations. An open circulation “loop’” supports a “village” concept that connects the existing 8 bowstring truss warehouse bays. Natural light penetrates deeply. As people don’t always want to work in the open, a variety of semi-open and closed workspaces is provided. The main event space, a “village square,” accommodates up to 120 seated people. The constant buzz of shared activity and knowledge gives rise to constant innovation and activism. Read the rest of this entry »