sg2012 Workshop

The sg2012 Workshop is a response to the challenge 'Material Intensities'. Spaces and boundaries are abundant with vibration, fluctuating intensities, shifting gradients and flows. The materials that define them are in a continual state of becoming. Material Intensities strives to energise our digital design prototypes and infuse them with material behaviour.

The SmartGeometry Workshop is a unique creative cauldron attracting attendees from across the world of academia, professional practice as well as many of the brightest students. The workshop is open to 100 applicants who come together for four intensive days of design and collaboration.



The sg2012 Workshop will be organised around Clusters. Clusters are hubs of expertise. They comprise of people, knowledge, tools, materials and machines. The Clusters provide a focus for workshop participants working together, within a common framework.

Clusters provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, processes and techniques and act as a catalyst for design resolution. The Workshop is made up of ten Clusters that respond in diverse ways to the sg2012 Challenge Material Intensities. Workshop applicants should apply to specific clusters.


Beyond Mechanics

Cluster Champions: Mariana Ibanez, Simon Kim, Nick Puckett

This cluster provides the opportunity for architectural designers to participate in the formulation, manufacturing, and implementation of Responsive Polymers.  The cluster will investigate methods for designing the form and behavior of multi-scalar prototypes from a molecular level through to material assemblies.

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Micro Synergetics

Cluster Champions: Sascha Bohnenberger, Peter Liebsch, Anton Savov, Andre Chaszar

The aim of our cluster is to establish a collaborative design workflow for engaging material properties reactive to a range of day-to-day architectural environments. The agenda to pursue a synergy of material performance and social space aims also at testing and implementing different materials with focus on the visualization of micro changes of the inner structure of materials and their influence on the design.

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Composite Territories

Cluster Champions: Paul Nicholas, Martin Tamke, Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Hauke Jungjohann, Jan Knippers

The cluster will use  fibre-reinforced polymers as a basis from which to make our own hyper-specified materials through calibrated simulation.

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Ceramics 2.0

Cluster Champions: Martin Bechthold, Stefano Andreani, Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo, Aurgho Jyoti, Nathan King

Ceramics 2.0 aims to use ceramics to model space, creating complexities in which matter is what really matters. The challenge will be to explore and define the new possibilities that computational design and digital fabrication will bring to the world of ceramics.

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Material Conflicts

Cluster Champions: Volker Mueller, Robert Cervelione, Makai Smith, Sam Wilkinson, Robert Woodbury

The aim of this cluster is to test building energy performance, to see how building can be tuned to balance a number of parameters such as building shape, orientation, amount of glass, depth of floor plate, orientation, amount of ventilation, facade material, to provide good human comfort and low energy and carbon use. 

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Transgranular Perspiration

Cluster Champions: Brian Lilley, Roly Hudson, Kevin Plucknett

Investigation of the relationship between geometry, ambient conditions, and ceramic composite material in the production of an adaptable, environmentally reactive chamber. The chamber is made from prefabricated ceramic parts, and grafts onto an existing framework with the use of a portable kiln.

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Reactive Acoustic Environments

Cluster Champions: Zackery Belanger, Seth Edwards, Eric Ameres, Guillermo Bernal

The Reactive Acoustic Environments cluster will research contemporary adaptable acoustics and advance the state of the art into the realm of intuitive, reactive, gradient-based systems.

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Form Follows Flow

Cluster Champions: Jason Oliver Vollen, David Menicovich, Daniele Gallardo, Edward DeMauro

in spite of the fact that most of our environment consists of fluids or fluid reactions, we have restricted ourselves to approaching the design of interactions between buildings and the environment through solids. The aim of this cluster is to explore alternative relations between the object and the flows around it as an iterative process of parametric modeling, CFD analysis and empirical testing in the wind tunnel, moving away from the traditional approach of Form Follows Function to Flow Follows Form.

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Bioresponsive Building Envelopes

Cluster Champions: Bess Krietemeyer, Anna Dyson, Neil Katz, Satoshi Kiyono

This cluster will harness the behavior of an electropolymeric display technology to design mediated bioresponsive building envelopes that negotiate aesthetic and cultural desires with bioclimatic energy flows. Through interactive visualization techniques and full-scale immersive environments unique to EMPAC, a visual-and quantitative-analysis workflow will examine the tensions and opportunities that these emerging dynamic materials offer for the future of high performance facades.

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Gridshell Digital Tectonics

Cluster Champions: Mark Cabrinha, Andrew Kudless, David Shook

This cluster focuses on how material can become a design parameter through the constraints of fabrication tools, material size limitations, and the productive capacity of material resistance.

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Cluster Champion: Leanna Libourel 

This cluster provides the opportunity for children aged between 5 and 8 years to engage in a variety of activities exploring design and technology. The cluster will contrast other clusters by providing a 'forum for the exchange of ideas, processes and techniques' absent of professional training and cognition.

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RFID Front

RFID Cluster Tracking

The participants that chose to are wearing RFID tags during the workshop. Sensors in the various workshop areas pick up the signal and track the participants through the space. The RFID tags are custom built for this event and allow Smartgeometry to run this unique experiment. Various visualisation modes are available and a stream from Pachube. 


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 

Our hosts for sg2012 are Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center EMPAC.

Rensselaer's history and strengths as a world-class engineering school afford a unique environment for design at the School of Architecture. In addition to it's own Undergraduate emphasis on design, computation, and the built environment, its Graduate research programs include the Lighting Research Center, the Architectural Acoustics Program, and Center for Architectural Science and Ecology (CASE).


EMPAC Studio One

Center for Architectural Science and Ecology (CASE)

CASE's innovative research in emerging architectural and sustainable building systems and technologies exploits the newest methods of data gathering, computation and fabrication techniques.

This research takes place at the intersection of academia and practice through research grants and strategic associations with the building industry.



The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), a pioneering facility devoted to research and performance across a range of digital and physicial media, will be the venue for the Workshop.  

EMPAC offers cascading public mezzanines for Workshop Clusters and 2 high-tech configurable black box studios.



This year's 4-day Workshop will take place at:

Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

8th Street and College Avenue

Troy, NY 12180




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