The Design Modelling Symposium Berlin 2022

„Towards Radical Regeneration“ highlights four areas:
Area A: Design Between Human and Machine Intelligence

The combination of a maturing cloud infrastructure and growing AI capabilities is driving a new crop of digital tools, often developed by new players in the AEC software industry. They promise greater efficiencies for architects, engineers, and developers. They attempt to offer both vertically and horizontally integrated solutions and foreshadow radically new business models. Will they also enable a more sustainable built environment or turbo-charge business as usual?

Area B: Design with Digital and Physical Realities

Extended Reality (XR) is growing. VR, AR, and MR are gathering ever increasing interest in the AEC community. Those technologies hold the promise of creating new design methodologies and enable a new craftsmanship. At the same time, the extension of physical reality with digital environments and overlays offers a unique chance to observe and understand our biases and untold assumptions about what answers we search for in the real world. What are the most impactful application areas in the AEC industry while those technologies transition from playful explorations into practical use?

Area C: Design for Biosphere and Technosphere

Buildings have become much more energy efficient in recent years, but construction sites have hardly changed. Resource depletion, fragile supply-chains and embodied impacts have not been addressed. Computation is a key enabler to understand and direct resource flows to transform from a linear to circular economy for the built environment. Tracking and understanding Materials and their impacts across their entire life-cycle can enable new ways of interacting with nature, using and reinventing natural materials, and fully exploring the circular potential of the built environment.

Area D: Design for Humans & Non-humans

Once we accept that we now live in the Anthropocene, we accept that every environment is human made to some degree. As such we need to stop designing only for one species and move to a regenerative design practice, where building contributes to restoring the health of our planet. Spatial Design can use computation to understand, predict and cater for the needs and behaviours of its human and non-human inhabitants. Can we move beyond the current exploitative or destructive models towards a symbiotic approach, and can digital tools help design healthy environments of cohabitation on our planet for all life forms to prosper and flourish?

Short Description

“Technology is the answer, but what is the question?” famously asked Cedric Price to an audience of architects and engineers in 1966.

For researchers, educators, and practitioners in the Architecture Engineering Construction (AEC) fields, the question could not be clearer, nor the answer more urgently needed. In the age of the growing inequalities, climate crisis, ecosystem collapse, the AEC sector accounts alone for almost 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, it is responsible for eco-systemic changes and plays a central role in creating and perpetuating social injustice.

Among the many campaigners, communities, institutions, and governments all across the world that have declared a state of emergency, what are the radical measures we can take to change the way we plan, build, operate, maintain and dismantle our built environment?

The Design Modelling Symposium 2022 aims to provide critical perspectives on current advances in computational methods in the field of AEC in this age of crisis and hope.

Recent advances in design and construction technology may hold the promise to help us trace a new path, but, at the same time, they hold the threat of turbo-charging existing destructive paradigms. Our collective practices are tantamount to many uncontrolled planetary experiments, deploying technologies and practices at unprecedented scales first and worrying about the consequences later. We urgently need to negotiate a myriad of global and hyper-local equilibria between the built and natural environment.

By synthesizing artistic, theoretical, and technological perspectives and positions, the symposium aims to challenge innovative digital techniques in the design, materialization, operation and assessment of our built environment, examining them in relation to their impact on the future of societies and the environment. In this context the digitalization of design seems to offer multiple routes to identify the material, social, ethical, ecological, and other dimensions of new, necessary, and radically measured equilibria.

The conference is structured around four thematic areas that explore domains in which new, radical measures need to emerge, from the tools that enable design, simulation, and materialization to new ways of approaching the relationship between built and unbuilt environment.


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Newcastle University
Aalborg University Copenhagen
Technical University Berlin
Ingrid Maria
Politecnico Milano
University of the Arts Berlin
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Recap 2019