Volatile Territories

Volatile Territories

arrow(a)synchronous streams

arrowadaptive structural skins

arrowcomputer vision & freeform construction

arrowdigital intuition & prediction


arrowprojections of reality

arrowrobotic foaming

arrowthermal reticulations

arrowtransformable strategies


Volatile Territories will explore speculative urban design solutions through the self-organization of spatial boundaries within a set of hypothetical, yet measurable, political, economic and technological constructs.

The cluster aims to both understand and model urban morphology as the emergent product of its own internal information flows. Here, spatial territories are treated as autonomous entities – expanding contracting, merging, and bifurcating relative to dynamic sets of contextual inputs. Because the rate at which urban organization evolves is largely imperceptible, it is often attributed with a fictional sense of permanence. This cluster sets out to debunk this illusion by accelerating the geologic time scale on which spatial (re)distribution plays out – effectively making visible the volatility of spatial territories.

As such, the cluster will be structured as a set of four increasingly distant forward-looking scenarios – each one presenting a hypothetical paradigmatic shift or “game changer”. Using a current instance of the local urban condition as a starting point, the cluster will speculate on the territorial consequences of each game changer through the use of provided bottom-up space planning software. With each new scenario, the disposition of spatial territories – the nature of their autonomous behaviors - are subject to change, potentially resulting in dramatic reorganization of the collective urban fabric. Boundaries, those which delineate urban form by distinguishing one territory from another, are no longer understood as static but rather as momentary states of equilibrium within a complex dynamic system.

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Volatile Teritorries Bruce Davison

Bruce Davison is a Director at AL_A. He is leading a large media campus development that will redefine the business environment for the twenty-first century. He is also developing a bridge design for a private client at the cutting-edge of steel engineering and fabrication. Davison was the project architect on the award-winning Corian SuperSurfaces installation showcased at the Milan Design Fair in 2009. Davison leads AL_A’s computational research group, integrating this with design development across all the office’s projects. Davison came from a business background in the automotive industry before studying at Syracuse University School of Architecture in New York. He has taught at Syracuse and Columbia University GSAPP.

Volatile Teritorries Dave Reeves

Dave Reeves is a computational design researcher currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He has worked as a member of the computational research group at AL_A developing a variety of project specific digital design tools - and has taught at a number of computational design workshops at institutions such as the Architectural Association in London and the University of Toronto. Inspired by the likes of slime mould, ants, termites, and other social organisms, Dave’s ongoing research focuses on applications of collective intelligence within architectural design discourse. Working primarily with multi-agent systems, Dave explores how iterative distributed decision-making can be applied to complex design challenges in a way that overcomes the inherent limitations involved in approaching them from the top down.

Volatile Territories Elizabeth Tweedale

Elizabeth Tweedale is the director of Recursion Design, a London based software company. Leveraging her education, a degree in computer science and a masters of architecture, she has developed revolutionary adjacency software originally devised for architecture yet applicable across many disciplines. Focusing on complex adjacencies mapped using dynamics and combining that data with agent graphs, she explores how the pairing of these two generative logics lead to new spatial relationships in real time. Her research and software has been used to help develop strategic briefs and has resolved complex brief, adjacency and area/geometry requirements alongside some of the worlds leading architecture firms.


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