Digital Design & Representation

Digital Design and Representation stand at the core of the education of architects and urban designers. Due to the proliferation of computers, the increasing computer literacy amongst incoming students and the fundamental shift in the profession towards the digital, digital design and representation needs to be re-assessed all together.
Neither the computer, nor the program, nor the computer user are supposed to replace the classical role of the architect. Instead, the architect needs to embrace and understand the fundamental capacities and limitations of the digital. The overarching pedagogical concept is the model as information entity. This virtual model can be enhanced with information as needed and later queried in various ways to produce various forms of architectural representations ranging from the classical plans, sections and elevations to advanced forms like building information models (BIM) or computer aided manufacturing (CAM) files. At the undergraduate level, computer aided design (CAD) courses introduce fundamental tools for design alongside concepts of representation. Digital Fabrication continues the digital chain – from inception to production of architecture and urbanism. Parametric Design expands the limits of standard software tools and allows to manipulate data and generate new programmatic and formal relationships. 



Institution: German University of Technology in Oman 
Year: 2012–2013
Type: Coaching of GUtech Student Expert Network
Students: 16 undergraduate students

Institution: German University of Technology in Oman 
Year: 2012–2013
Type: Computer Aided Design classes
Students: 120 undergraduate students over the last 3 years

Institution: Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe 
Year: 2011
Type: Parametric Industrial Design Seminar
Students: 14 graduate students 

Institution: The Ohio State University 
Year: 2007–2009
Type: Digital Design and Representation Classes
Students: 160 undergraduate students over 2 years

Institution: The Ohio State University 
Year: 2007–2009
Type: Digital Fabrication and Manufacturing Classes
Students: 160 undergraduate students over 2 years
Final review with 80+ students and collaborative models
cnc-cut paper model - collaboratively assembled
Card board laser model
Fuse deposit model
cellular foam model
Relief CNC foam cut
Layered laser cut plexi model

Parametric Product Design

Parametric design workshop for industrial designers at Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Karlsruhe on the invitation of Prof. Volker Albus & Stefan Legner. The workshop focussed on concepts of parametric design to generate parametric geometries creating definitions and scripts (Grasshopper for Rhino3D).

Islamic Patterns

Islamic Patterns / CAD 1 @ GUtech 2010 - present The 1st CAD seminar introduces students to fundamental concepts of geometry and scale. Students start with analysing Islamic patterns. These traditional patterns are based on circles, squares and hexagons and can be found in many islamic ornaments throughout Oman. They entail basic vectorial transformations, such as translation, rotation, reflection and scale. While re-drawing the patterns in CAD, the students start to re-interpret the pattern in their drawing. Students resolve linear intersections and treat the drawing like an architectural drawing. Later the 2D CAD drawing is interpreted in 3D using extrusion and rotation. This process requires the addition of information. Students are then asked to re-introduce a scale and to read their shapes against a possible programs.

Additive vs Subtractive

modeling space / CAD 2 @ GUtech 2010- present The 2nd CAD seminar builds upon the drafting skills elaborated in CAD 1. This seminar engages students into constantly shifting from 2D forms of representation, such as plans, sections, elevations and perspectives to 3D models and back. The 3D model is produced through addition of elements (tectonic) or subtraction from a volume (stereolithic). Various scales demand different conventions of drawing. Student gain proficiency in modeling, drafting and layout of their designs and often re-work their studio assignment.

Parametric Urbanism

CAD 4 @ GUtech 2010 - present In their last regular CAD semester students are introduced to parametric modeling. They elaborate protocols and definitions that can handle design relevant parameters and yield 3D geometries. Student evaluate the resulting shapes and re-interpreted them as architectural or urban forms. A special focus is laid upon the production of variations and repetitions. Once students master parametric design from scratch they use building information modeling software. Again, they work and update a digital model that can be enriched with information to produce technical drawing set, a rendering or a fabrication file.

Open Source School

This 2nd year bachelor design studio at TU Berlin introduced parametric planning processes for the design of a school in South Berlin. Students experimented with one-to-one material models aiming at the creation of a particular spatial effect. These models were presented to the primary school pupils and transformed based on their feedback.

DMY 2010 Berlin

The 'Evolving Monument' is proposal to catalogue the objects developed during the Open Design Laboratory. As a process, this display system will grow, change, disrupt and/or project the input of all participants during this 5-day event. This public effort aims to form the workshop’s institutional memory while serving as a generative exercise in digital fabrication for public learning and collaboration. Initiated and moderated by Luis Berríos-Negrón and Aurel von Richthofen

Beyond Rendering, TU Berlin

Aurel speaks on the topic of architectural representation on the conference Beyond Rendering organized by Daniel Lordick at TU Berlin. Architectural representation had only recently moved towards image driven representation forms. The "parametric shift" indicates a tendency towards the text, more explicitly the script.

@ Sultan Qabous University

Aurel von Richthofen lectures at Sultan Qaboos University on the topic of "parametric design beyond form". Kind invitation of Alya Abdul Sattar Yaqoob Al-Hashim to the Dept. of Civil Engineering and Architecture. The lecture is structured around three aspects of parametric design: design that can accommodate different parameters, design that computes and design beyond form.