Design by Data Advanced Master

I have been involved in the Design by Data Advanced Master (directed by Francesco Cingolani) as a lecturer investigating with students the meaning and implication of designing “fluid spaces” and guiding them to conduct research for their computational project. I am also heading the “Art, design and knowledge” area of the advanced master.

To me, it has always been important to reflect on the ways in which technologies affect spaces and transform not only production processes but also the ways in which we relate to space and the world around us. As William J. Mitchell wrote in ME++: The cyborg self and the networked city, space has the same characteristics as the onion—“My natural skin is just layer zero of a nested boundary structure.” (Mitchell, 2003: p. 7). Every layer also connects to others and can change properties.

So it is not enough to learn how to use a software or other tool and technology, one also needs to understand which software to use and to which end, and what does it exactly do. And questions of “optimization” should not be the only ones to be taken into account when building for future generations !

I am happy I have joined the conversation with the team at l’Ecole des Ponts, the best engineering school in France, Francesco Cingolani, also co-founder of the Parisian coworking space / makerspace / food lab Volumes (Subscribe to their mailing list!) and Minh Man Nguyen, co-founder of the Woma, co-working and co-making space in Paris.

If you have any question about the advanced master, join us for breakfast March 14, 2017 :-)

Also very useful.. Twitter handle: @byDataDesign

The Cartography of Ambiance

The paper entitled “The Cartography of Ambiance” that I wrote for the Third International Congress on Ambiances that happened in Volos from September 21 to 24th semester gives a glimpse of my current research on mobility.

Abstract. This paper explores the cartography of ambiance as a means to parametrically generate ambiances that enable “wayfounding”, i.e. the ability to “keep your bearings” in contemporary hypermobile environments. It presents a process of architectural experimentation led by the author at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture (2013-2015) and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Malaquais (2016) in France and Kyoto Seika University (2015) in Japan, that explored the cartography of ambiance as a spatial practice through iteratively “practicing the landscape” (Thibaud, 2015), drawing from memory, gathering data, decoding and encoding parameters of ambiance.

Keywords: Cartography, Ambiance, Liquid Architecture, Wayfounding, Psychogeography, Parametric


Ambiance Computation

In February 2016, I taught an Intensive Studio entitled Cartographie Générative: Paramètres Sensibles and Ambiances to a groupe of architecture students (mixed years) of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure D’Architecture Paris Malaquais:


Students explored spatial production as a series of ambiances generated through the gathering, visualisation and sensory parameters with the aim of computing ambiances.*



Here is a picture of the final review. The jury included in addition to myself: Christian Girard, Philippe Morel and Minh Man Nguyen from the Digital Knowledge group at ENSA-Malaquais.

* Many Thanks to Minh for the sponsorship and his students from the Digital Knowledge group who guided students to using Grasshopper.

Generative Mapping Workshop, Kyoto Seika University, Japan

Got selected to conduct, as visiting professor, an architecture workshop at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. Thank you to Prof. Takayuki Suzuki and the entire team at Kyoto Seika University for the warm welcoming.

The workshop aimed at exploring the architectural process by investigating generating and parameterizing ambiances through mapping mobile and sensory data. An ambiance results from the physical features, sensory data (humidity, smell, etc.) and the movement of people within (with different backgrounds and moods) space.

On a sunny day of early October, students conducted their observations in the Kyoto Station designed by famous architect Hiroshi Hara (1997).

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Teams observed for example that people waiting for others chose particular spots in the station, against a wall, nearby a column, protected from the wind as shown on the map below, which reveals the architecture without showing it (Map recorded by Maho Okada, Libai, Daiki Yanagihara and ESA exchange student Juliette Champêtre).

Map Maho Okada - Libai - Daiki Yanajihara - Juliette Champetre

Others recorded movement in space and the “ballet” of people going around obstacles and created an animation – maps are dynamic! On the bottom right of the picture below, what looks like a wool ball represents the space taken by an individual waiting for someone.

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These observations led to ambiance-based architectural parameters (“architectural attractors” for example) that students could use to generate/parameterize new ambiances expressed through study models.

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Engineering 4 Society

Dk Osseo-Asare and I presented the paper entitled: Investigated 3E Materials at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana at the Raising Awareness for the Societal and Environmental Role of Engineering and (Re)Training Engineers for Participatory Design (Engineering 4 Society) conference that was held in Leuven, Belgium, June 18-19, 2015.

The product life cycles of electrical appliances and electronic devices impact society and the environment, given the hazardous portion present in their materials flow. Scrapping as an industry serves to decommission end-of-life (EOL) equipment, linking materials processing and recovery activities with recycling, but must be controlled against adverse environmental and human health safety factors. This work tracks an on-going effort-the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP)-to use participatory design methods to upgrade capabilities of the scrap, recycling and maker community located at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana through co-creation of technology. The authors explain AMP’s aim to reconceptualize Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE or e-waste) as Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE or 3E): not as waste, but as inter-manipulable assemblages of 3E-materials. AMP seeks to employ a hands-on Makers and Development approach (M&D) as a collaborative process to drive interclass innovation by co-designing and fabricating a makerspace, or open community workshop and lab, and networking e-waste and scrap recyclers starting at Agbogbloshie with students and recent graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics or STEAM fields. The investigation at Agbogbloshie over a period of 24 months suggests opportunities for utilizing participatory design to leverage waste management and 3E-materials processing across informal sector recycling ecosystems as inputs for popular prototyping, i.e. peer-to-peer digital fabrication and distributed manufacturing.

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