EmTech explores the concepts and convergent interdisciplinary effects of emergence on design and production, and seeks to develop creative inputs to new architectural design processes. Seminars and a core studio familiarise students with EmTech computational processes, their associated conceptual fields and their application to architectural design research. The culminating design thesis derives from this coursework.
The theoretical context of EmTech, encompassing its origins, conceptual structures, instruments and practice is explored in relation to contemporary architectural discourse. The philosophy of emergence forms the logic and processes of evolutionary computation; the application to architectural design focuses on genetic algorithms for structural form-finding and generative design. Emergence is also a central concept of biomimetics, in which biological structures are analysed and understood as self-organised material hierarchies achieved by bottom-up processes – from these structures, properties and performances emerge. Emergent behaviours are also demonstrated by the culture of production at large, a dynamic interaction of diverse forces that follow local rules rather than instructions imposed from above. Larger coherent patterns or ‘macrobehaviours’ are discernible, arising from material productions that are localised by author, time and geography.
The design research studio enables students to further develop the themes of the course, in three main fields: Active Material Systems with Advanced Fabrication; Natural Ecological Systems Design (currently focused on shorelines and deltas); and Urban Ecological Design (focused on algorithmic design for energetic models of new cities in emergent biomes).