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Constructing for Uncertainty

Design and construction, increasingly more information-centric, must also address issues of computational ambiguity. We are limited by the fact that only a subset of the relevant factors in design can be represented in standard CAD systems. As users, we must drive computational systems to assume new roles and subsume more domains to meet the needs before us. We must consider issues of time and permanence within a cultural and technological landscape of constant change - our most grand gestures will define our environment physically, culturally and economically for generations. As designers, we must deal with realities and future uncertainties of context, material and immaterial, and their manifestations in scale from spaces to buildings to cities.

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In designing for the built environment, sg2013 will exploit digital technologies to help us move beyond traditional dichotomies and find new paths. How can we explore computational techniques such as optimization beyond the limits of quantifiable phenomenon to the qualities of an uncertain future? What is the role of efficiency in a dynamic environment? How will we resolve the gaps between the certainty of digitally calibrated fabrication and the roughness of existing conditions, construction tolerances, and the uncertainty of future occupant behavior?

constructing uncertainty

Where historic responses to uncertainty constructed a simplistic environment with basic mechanisms for aggregation and subdivision, we augment these with smart, dynamic and interactive systems. Where modeling capacity has been limited, we now take advantage of vast amounts of data collected by sensing and scanning devices, processed by cluster or grid computing, filtered by machine learning algorithms into patterns, and communicated by ubiquitous devices. Our past data trajectories can guide us in discovering robust and tolerant design systems to meet the demands of a malleable present and uncertain future.


sg2010 Working Prototypes emancipated digital design from the hard drive, moving from the virtual to the actual, and wrestled with the tangible world of physical fabrication.

sg2011 Building the Invisible worked to inform digital design by engaging with real world data.

sg2012 Material Intensities energized our digital prototypes by infusing them with material behaviour.

sg2013 Constructing for Uncertainty: transition computational design from the hard space of the ideal to the soft reality of an uncertain built environment.


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