rat[LAB] Embarks Upon Educating ‘Computational Design’ in India

, a workshop, was held at Indian School of Design Innovation, ISDI Parsons Mumbai from 23rd to 25th of June 2015.
rat[LAB] Education, in association with Super-Architects (S//A) (USA), is an initiative by rat[LAB] to start a new discourse in architecture and parallel design disciplines with the use of computational design and its various subsets. The program aims to ‘fill the void’ through ‘computation’ and its numerous techniques and methodologies.

The studio/workshop was designed as a 3-day event comprised of technical tutorials, teaching sessions and presentations culminated in a symposium, round-table conference, open discussion with leading and emerging professionals that demonstrate computation, parametric design or alternative techniques in their work, practice and academia.

Diverse participants made their presence in the studio, from undergraduate students to professionals in the field of architecture and construction. The studio was intended for the participants to explore opportunities of using computation as problem solving method, form-finding tool and spatial organization technique. At the end of an intensive learning of the tools and its parameters, the participants were disclosed to the design brief to research, identify and examine a ‘void’ in the city at any of the two scales: architecture or urban. A systemic level idea was to be explored and experimented computationally to ‘fill the void’ in a number of potential interpretations. The nature of the studio was experimental and open-ended with a specific agenda of using computation in the Indian context. In addition, the participants were asked to furnish a tentative future scope in all experimental projects developed in the studio. The brief was flexibly structured for the participants to identify the voids in existing built fabric, interstitial spaces, open spaces, connecting street networks, redundant façades, etc. However, a clear concept of data-selection and usage had to be demonstrated in the projects.

The series of technical sessions and lectures by from rat[LAB], Ar. Dhruv Seth from Studio Node, Nitant Hirlekar from Mutation D-lab, Ar. Sameep Padora, Ar. Julien Liehard on the use of computational techniques through Grasshopper and the ways to integrate it with architectural and urban systems gave a deeper insight of the infinite possibilities of its application across the domain of architecture.

The participants’ design exploration with these techniques ranged from retrofitting the existing façade to rejuvenating the city (Mumbai) fabric in close observation to the city’s context (tangible and intangible). The participants showcased extraordinary skills in using this technique in a practical application in a span of 2 days intensive workshop which concluded with an award ceremony where all the students were given participation certificates.

rat[LAB] Education aims to spread this knowledge across 4 other cities in India– Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and New Delhi– scheduled between 01 July and 08 August 2015. This month long tour culminates in Delhi and selected works of 125+ participants across 5 cities will be showcased in an exhibition in the capital. A compendium/book will be published later in 2015 to highlight the experimental work carried out in this tour.
For further information, visit: www.rat-lab.org 

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