InfoMatters, a multi-agent systems approach for generating performative architectural formations

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Journal Article
International Journal of Architectural Computing, 2011, 9 (3), pp. 205 - 222
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The research paper exemplifies upon a computationally intensive inter-disciplinary research driven design investigation into spatializing the relationship between digital information and physical matter. Focusing on the development of architectural scale urban inserts, the design-research work operates on the intersection of information technology, environmental design, architecture, and computer aided manufacturing domains.The research framework revolves around developing a seamless integration of the aforementioned disciplines in order to establish iterative simulation driven methodologies for generating bottom-up sustainable architectural formations. This is achieved by establishing parametrically driven relational linkages between differential data sets (environmental, social, topological, material etc), which formulate the context (both global and local) within which the proposed project has to be designed. A selforganizing multi-agent system based simulation methodology for generating resultant spatial formations, in time, based on the impacts of the parametric relationships between the aforementioned data sets is eventually embarked upon. This implies, understanding the site as a dynamic information field within which interdependent ecology of agents (representing typology of people, program, structure, speed, desired social interaction etc) with multi-level relational affinities amongst each other as well as the dynamic urban information field. The resultant self-organized multi-agent formations are iteratively mined for identifying logical three-dimensional structural patterns or subjected to programmatic and environmental need driven additional layer of structural simulation with pre-embedded material restraints. An optimized system of multi-performative components that not only populates but also serves as an integrated structural + skin system of the results obtained from the agent based simulations (based upon the degree of inclusion/exclusion of parameters such as the amount of light, sound, wind etc) is subsequently generated. These experimental projects attained the status of self-evolving ecologies of multi-dimensional agents with embodied behavioural profiles, thus providing engaged, highly interdependent design by simulation outputs. The outputs showcase a dynamic system's driven approach towards sustainable design by stressing upon the idea of cohesively binding information and material systems from the very beginning of the design process. Such approaches help in reducing post-optimization of built form and consequently allow for rational understanding of performance criteria and its impact on formal articulations throughout the design process.
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