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2012 Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 015003


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Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 (10pp) doi:10.1088/1748-3182/7/1/015003

Biomimetic design processes in

architecture: morphogenetic and
evolutionary computational design
Achim Menges
Institute for Computational Design, University of Stuttgart, Keplerstrasse 11, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany

Received 30 June 2011

Accepted for publication 9 December 2011
Published 16 February 2012
Online at

Design computation has profound impact on architectural design methods. This paper explains
how computational design enables the development of biomimetic design processes specific to
architecture, and how they need to be significantly different from established biomimetic
processes in engineering disciplines. The paper first explains the fundamental difference
between computer-aided and computational design in architecture, as the understanding of this
distinction is of critical importance for the research presented. Thereafter, the conceptual
relation and possible transfer of principles from natural morphogenesis to design computation
are introduced and the related developments of generative, feature-based, constraint-based,
process-based and feedback-based computational design methods are presented. This
morphogenetic design research is then related to exploratory evolutionary computation,
followed by the presentation of two case studies focusing on the exemplary development of
spatial envelope morphologies and urban block morphologies.
(Some figures may appear in colour only in the online journal)

1. Introduction established engineering process based on nature-analogous

Computational design is in the process of profoundly changing
the way architecture is conceived, designed and produced. 2. From computerized to computational design
Numerous facets of the discipline are being informed and
changed by the ramifications of the rapid development Digital processes increasingly pervade architecture. Like in
of this field. Of particular interest for this paper is the various other fields, computation has an impact on all aspects
way computational design has begun to open up novel of the discipline, ranging from design to fabrication and
possibilities for a biomimetic approach to architecture. This construction. By now, the much debated question whether
digital processes will eventually replace analogue processes
does not so much refer to the developments of biomimetic
in architecture is becoming increasingly obsolete. However,
building products, which fit adequately well into the range
the question how this transitional phase unfolds is relevant,
of established biomimetic methods [1], but rather aims for
as it does suggest novel possibilities for a biomimetic
the advancement of biomimetic architecture, which may only approach to architecture. In order to fully understand this
be feasible if the design process itself is biomimetic. Thus, particular possibility inherent to computational design, first
the paper will explain the possibilities computational the critical distinction between computer-aided design (CAD)
design offers for enabling biomimetic design processes in and computational design needs to be explained.
architecture. As the particular characteristics of architectural CAD employs the computer as a helpful extension of
design demand, such processes need to be open, undetermined established design processes based on geometric information
and explorative, and thus differ profoundly from well- that represents the designed object or architecture as a

1748-3182/12/015003+10$33.00 1 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK & the USA
Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

metric construct of points, lines, surfaces and solids if complex organizations, forms and structures. This increasing
represented in three dimensions. In CAD, drawing and morphological differentiation, the summary process of each
modelling techniques previously executed manually are system-elements response and adaptation to its location
now transferred into the digital realm. In CAD, form and within the overall system and its surrounding environment,
information are synchronously constructed and conceptually results in the astounding functional integration, performative
constitute an inseparable entity. The computer-aided approach capacity and material resourcefulness ever present in nature,
to design is rooted in object-based methods of accumulating even in the simplest of organisms.
information and encapsulating it as explicit as well as To architecture, the underlying principles of morphogene-
symbolic representation, whereby the amount and specificity sis present relevant concepts for the development of generative
of information never surpasses what has been initially supplied design [6]. Both the ontogenetic aspects, referring to the course
in the drawing or modelling steps. In this regard CAD of development and growth of an individual, and the evolution
has not really changed the way architects design; it has across many generations of populations of individuals provide
simply computerized well-established methods of geometric a conceptual framework for an understanding of computational
description [2]. design as variable processes of algorithmic development and
Computational design fundamentally differs from CAD. formation, whereby adaptation is driven by the interaction
While in the computerization of analogue design techniques with internal and external influences. Concerning the
information is only compiled and associated, computation morphogenetic development of individual form, four
enables the processing of information in such a way that characteristics are of particular relevance for the transfer of
new information is created. Contrary to the congruence of biological principles to computational design: morphogenesis
form and information innate to representational computer- is feature-based, constraint-based, process-based and
aided design, computational design externalizes the relation feedback-based. In the following paragraph, these four
between the process of formation, the driving information, the critical characteristics will be further explained.
generated form and its resulting performance, and it makes Morphogenesis is characterized by the increasing
these reciprocities available to the designer as instrumental specificity and continuous differentiation of morphological
aspects of the design process. In summary, one can say that features and related functional elements, resulting in the
the transition from computer-aided to truly computational overall performance of the entire system. In nature, the
design entails a shift from (i) modelling objects to modelling spatial organization and distribution of cells is regulated by
processes, (ii) from designing shape to designing behaviour, the morphogenetic process, driven by changes in cellular
(iii) from defining static digital constructs to defining arrangements and structures as well as cell interactions in
computing systems capable of reciprocal data exchange and developing tissues. Morphogens, together with a number
feedback information. And exactly these changes provide of other molecules, control the cell differentiation. The
novel possibilities for a biomimetic approach to architecture, cumulative process of increasingly complex arrangements
as they enable an understanding of computational design of functional elements distributed into progressively more
processes as both morphogenetic and evolutionary. specialized systems and sub-systems can be correlated with
The application of computational design processes to the underlying logics of object-oriented programming. In
architecture has been researched in various ways over the this programming paradigm, the combination of data fields
last five decades. Since the 1960s design computation has and methods as well as their interactions constitute data
been explored as a way of generating rather than modelling structures. These programming constructs encapsulate data
design solutions based on their resulting performance [3]. together with specific set of functions so that they are separate
Up to now, and particularly in the last 20 years, numerous from the remaining program. The data are accessed and
computational design approaches have been both researched modified through intermediary methods. The combination
in academia and tested in practice [4]. However, only relatively of such a method set and related data is referred to as an
recently and quite rarely, starting with the prominent work of object. Its properties and methods are designed, declared
John Frazer [5], the novel approaches to architectural design and defined as well as instantiated by the programmer. In an
offered by computation have been investigated in relation object-oriented program many objects, both different kinds
to the principles of formative and developmental processes of objects as well as different variants of one object, can be
in nature. The following paragraphs on morphogenetic and included. Inheritance, interaction and communication between
evolutionary computational design are based on the authors objects, and more generally the bottom-up character of object-
research conducted in this field over the last decade. oriented programming, provide a suitable foundation for the
development of morphogenetic design computation. Within
3. Morphogenetic computational design different frameworks, ranging from feature-based parametric
applications [7] to custom-programmed software [8], this
In nature, the totality of the developmental sequence enables the computational designer to generate open, yet
of a biological system from origination to mature state increasingly specific and hierarchically structured systems and
as well as the evolution of morphological structures is traits based on data interaction and feedback.
called morphogenesis. In morphogenetic processes system Another critical characteristic of morphogenetic processes
intrinsic information and material capacities interact with is that they are constraint-based. In natural morphogenesis
environmental influences and forces to create ever more two kinds of constraints prevail: phylogenetic constraints and

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

physical constraints. Phylogenetic constraints [9] basically architecture with new modes of integrating design techniques,
limit the course of the generative process to what is possible production technologies and system performance [12].
given the specific phylogenetic history of a lineage. This In addition to matter, process is a fundamental constituent
is of particular relevance for evolutionary computational of morphogenesis. In natural morphogenesis, it is process that
design processes, which will be explained in one of the produces, differentiates and maintains biological morphology.
following paragraphs. Physical constraints limit the generative These processes of continual becoming consist of a complex
process to the laws of nature, or in other words, what series of interactions and exchanges between the biological
is physically possible to materialize. In morphogenetic system and its environment. Most of these processes
processes the structured distribution and arrangement of matter are controlled by feedback. Moreover, it is important
is both confined and driven by the properties and capacities to note that the feedback-driven production, elaboration
of matter to organize in response to system-internal and and differentiation continuously affect most constituents
external influences. Today, it is largely recognized that of natural systems. In this way, growth and adaptation
physical determinants and material self-organization have are continuous processes of reconstruction resulting in
a major influence on morphogenetic processes [10]. Thus, increasingly heterogeneous and hierarchically structured
the intricate and irreducible relation between processes of systems. The research on computational morphogenesis
formation and materialization is inherent to morphogenesis. in architecture considers the importance of resolving the
This inseparable interconnection between physical becoming complexity originating from the interrelation and reciprocal
and material gestalt in nature is in stark contrast to the effects of material systems and dynamic environments by
material practice of architecture, which is characterized by integrating both the state that defines the parameters of
a hierarchical relationship that prioritizes the generation materialization and the one that describes the influences which
of form over its subsequent materialization. Architects are will activate the physical constraints to organize and arrange
usually just equipped with design tools that are intended in a specific manner [13]. These computational processes
for explicit, scalar geometric representation. Thus, the innate are iterative, recursive and expanding, with the possibility of
morphological and performative capacity of material systems continuously rewriting parts of the entire system based on
is left largely disregarded in the critical design stages. Only feedback information with external data. Therefore, they can
after the geometry and arrangement of the major building be considered as both explorative and ecologically embedded,
elements is defined, are ways of materialization considered especially if evolutionary dynamics is also integrated.
and devised as top-down engineered, constructional solutions.
In contrast to these established methods of form definition 4. Evolutionary design exploration
in architectural design, alternative approaches to design
based on form finding have been explored, most notably by Evolutionary strategies for computational optimization
designers working at the intersection between architecture have been investigated for more than four decades in
and engineering such as Frei Otto, Heinz Isler or, already engineering and computer science [14]. Here the principles
in the late 19th century, Antoni Gaud. Their research aimed at of natural evolution such as heredity, reproduction, genetic
employing physical experiments to find a particular building recombination, mutation and selection are integrated in
form by identifying an equilibrium state of the forces acting computational search processes. Computationally a problem
on and within a material system that in turn offers beneficial can be described in terms of a search space, which is the
structural behaviour. These investigations into physically theoretical space of all existing parameters within a defined
computing architectural form have frequently been related problem. Potential solutions are generated as populations of
to natural processes of formation, most prominently in individuals over many generations by iterative, stochastic
Ottos SFB 230 research undertaking natural construction. sampling of parameters. The evolutionary algorithm navigates
The biomimetic approach to computational design presented the search space in order to trace the best amongst these
here should be seen within this line of work, with one many solutions. One key aspect is the evaluation of each
critical difference: based on a wider range of parameters generated individual according to predefined fitness criteria,
the proposed morphogenetic form generation can derive which direct the selection and reproduction and thus orient the
multiple valid equilibrium states between system-intrinsic development toward a specific goal. In this way evolutionary
constraints and system-external influences and thus requires algorithms and evolutionary computation are mainly used as
different generation, feedback and evaluation methods [11]. stochastic optimization processes based on a predetermined
Similarly to form finding, it also requires an understanding of target function. Based on the intention to converge on
material systems not as derivatives of standardized building optimized solutions for known problems, the deterministic,
systems and elements facilitating the construction of pre- goal-oriented character of these processes is in contrast to
established design schemes but rather as generative drivers in the nondeterministic, open-ended quality of natural evolution.
the design process. Extending the concept of a material system In addition, evolutionary optimization is based on a static
by embedding its material properties and behaviour as well as conceptualization of formperformance relationships and
its manufacturing constraints and assembly logics allows for thus inherently neglects phenomena such as preadaptation
computationally deriving and elaborating a design through (that is the employment of pre-existing structures for novel
the materials intrinsic performative capacities. The related functions), which are crucial for natural development [15].
research shows that computational processes can provide Today evolutionary computation is understood as a relatively

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

inefficient optimization process, but is beginning to be of biomimetic computational design processes not only entails
recognized as being very effective in deriving unconsidered a change in the conceptualization of architectural performance
or hitherto unknown possibilities while maintaining an overall but also architectural aesthetics. Rather than aiming for the
performance level. This creative potential of evolutionary quantification of qualitative criteria, the research presented
computation has been considered in a number of fields [16]. here is based on the understanding that gestalt and performance
Architectural design, not dissimilar to natural evolution, are always intrinsically related. Thus, it suggests that novel
is an open-ended process that profoundly differs from aesthetics should be enabled to emerge through morphogenetic
engineering optimization. If at all, optimized solutions and evolutionary computational processes rather than being
can only be found for design objectives that can be constrained by a preconceived aesthetic value system or fitness
quantitatively expressed. Thus, and in line with the underlying function. In this way aesthetics can only be found and explored
characteristics of natural evolution, in architecture the use of rather than searched for or optimized.
evolutionary computation as an exploratory rather than an In order to further explain the potential of computational
optimization process is more promising by far. The open- design for investigating and developing biomimetic processes
ended nature of evolutionary computation is of particular in architecture, two case studies are presented in the following
interest for architecture, as a design task can usually not paragraphs, each with a different focus in regard to scale and
be comprehensively described as a problem, but rather as design criteria integration.
an opportunity for creating novel possibilities within the
framework of a given brief. Correspondingly, evaluation
criteria and design objectives tend to co-evolve with the 4.1. Case study 1: spatial envelope morphologies
development of a project. Here, evolutionary processes are The first case study (conducted under the supervision
more about finding than searching, about the continual of the author and Sean Ahlquist by Christoph Waibel
extension of the search space through novel solutions that at the Institute for Computational Design at the University
emerge as the by-product of evolutionary dynamics. In of Stuttgart) demonstrates how evolutionary computational
this way, evolutionary computation allows for performative processes can be employed in the design of formperformance
morphogenetic processes, adaptiogenesis and inherent novelty relations of the overall building morphology. The project
to be investigated in bounds greatly superseding manual focused on the development of the spatial envelope of an
experimentation [17]. inhabitable landscape-like structure on the Philippine island of
Evolutionary processes are of particular interest for Boracay. The generation and specification of the beachscape
architects as they operate on populations, which are multiple
model is based on an operational research approach which
individual designs rather than just a single one. Similarly, the
sequences the following steps: (i) analysis, (ii) descriptive
rapid production of design variants that are not only different
model formulation, (iii) mathematical model formulation,
in degree but also in kind is typical for the early design phase
(iv) provision of data, (v) evolutionary algorithmic generation
in architecture. This usually happens by testing and evaluating
and (vi) evaluation of the resulting spatial envelope
different design typologies, which are generic yet predefined
morphologies. The formulation of the design evolves through
concepts for addressing given project criteria. In contrast to
the negotiation of several fitness criteria. The fitness evaluation
other computational design approaches such as case-based
is an essential part of the algorithm, as it influences
design [18] and frame-based design [19], the population-based
approach of evolutionary computation enables a significant the direction of the search. The great potential of such
displacement of the concept of type within the architectural metaheuristic strategies lies within the exploration of synergic
design process. As aptly described in modern evolutionary relationships of multi-criteria systems. In this research, the
synthesis [20], population thinking radically differs from a following fitness criteria were particularly relevant. They can
typological approach. For the typologist, the type is real be divided into two categories: (A) morphological criteria such
and variation only comprises of divergence, whereas for the as floor area, envelope heights, envelope slope, unobstructed
populationist the type is a complete abstraction and only the view axes and (B) environmental criteria such as incident
variation is real [21]. solar radiation and interior thermal loading (figure 1). The
Due to the continuous nature of evolutionary processes, area fitness evaluation measures the usable interior floor area
populations develop incrementally with each individual, as the accounting for extreme angles and minimal height clearances
forces of selection and variation drive the constant formation in the potential geometries. In contrast, the slope criteria
and reformation of populations. Thus, the notion of type as a analyse the gradient of slope along the external surface to take
static or suddenly shifting definition is conceptually incoherent account of areas that can be occupied. Other criteria applied
with evolutionary development. In design, evolutionary include evaluation of incident solar radiation and subsequent
processes offer variational methods based on extensibility thermal loading to the interior spaces.
instead of typology. Rather than reiterating, recombining Another critical aspect in this research project was the
and simply varying existing concepts and design knowledge choice and setting of appropriate evolutionary operators,
fused into the description of type, evolutionary computation which significantly influence the evolutionary development
and related population thinking provide for truly explorative as they are one of the core mechanisms of the metaheuristic
processes with the capacity to discover and unfold novel design process. For evaluating an individuals overall fitness, a
possibilities. This shift from knowledge-based to behaviour- specific ranking operator needed to be determined. As each
based computational design [22] and the related development fitness criterion is based on a value range from 0 (worst)

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

Figure 1. Definition of fitness criteria and target functions (left), development of fitness in cycles A and B (right).

to 1 (best) but displays different value spreads in development, an intermediate recombination operator that allows offspring
simple approaches such as a sum or weighted sum method variables within a variable domain larger than that of the
were rejected in favour of the Pareto-optimization method. parents. Thus, mechanisms of mutation are embedded in the
This allows for solving the multi-criteria problem at stake recombination operator. The mutation rate can initially be set
by determining the Pareto-dominance per criterion for each higher to suit the explorative character of early design phases,
individual within a population, which is its superiority while in the later optimization stage it can be lowered. Overall,
regardless of the actual value difference. The individuals
the developed algorithm confirmed an established preferred
overall rank can be established through the Pareto-rankings
mutation probability of 1/n, with n being an individuals
for each criterion. Based on the completed fitness ranking,
variable amount [23]. Based on a completed pass through
the selection operator determines the preferred individuals for
reproduction and creation of offspring for the next generation. the evolutionary operators the individual offspring genotypes
The stochastic universal sampling method is employed for for generation n+1 are derived. The genotypic information
fitness proportional selection in this project, as it enables a low is encoded in simple txt files encapsulating all variable settings
spread for the domain of possible values for an individuals per individual. These variable settings are processed by the
number of offspring. From the pool of selected individuals embryology operator to form the phenotypes of the next
couples for the creation of offspring are defined through generation.

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

Figure 2. Example morphologies of initial population (left top) and individual extreme ranks in generation 34 of cycle A and cycle B (left
bottom), development of overall performance in cycles A and B (right).

To investigate the impact of the established fitness criteria consumption of individual buildings. Instead, an attempt to
two different evolutionary cycles were processed. For cycle A react to the complex reciprocities between buildings and their
the slope fitness is not considered in the evaluation, whereas all climatic surroundings needs to be made, especially in the early
criteria are implemented in cycle B. The algorithm is iterated design stages, as the majority of parameters that define the
until a convergence of the values can be observed. performance of the resulting urban fabric are defined, and
Examining the progression of the fitness criteria and usually fixed, at this stage.
comparing both evolutionary cycles reveals correlations This project investigates an integrative evolutionary
between the implemented forces. The slope fitness as a design strategy questioning architectural and urban design
functional necessity acts like an incriminating constraint to approaches based on repeating established typologies and later
the incident radiation and interior temperature. On the other on applying building technology as a kind of rectification. In
hand it supports the spatial aspects of area requirement and contrast, here biomimetic computational design is employed
view access. In conclusion, simulating both cycles is important to revisit urban morphology for developing new modes of
to understand the interdependence amongst involved forces. integration of building form and performance. This integrative
Cycle A contains less spatial conception and therefore evolved approach seeks design processes where the design and
a higher adaptation to the defined climatic situation. Cycle B evaluation steps can be combined so that generated solutions
implements a criterion that represents determined concepts of are all evaluated at the same time and with the same level of
the structures functionality (figure 2). detail. This project investigates the potential of employing
The developed genetic algorithm provides a tool for evolutionary algorithms in early design stages to produce
revealing performative geometrical tendencies, in regard to results that already incorporate and anticipate criteria that are
quantitative criteria. The fittest models showed a tendency only introduced in the later design stages of conventional
towards geometries similar to vernacular steep roof pitched design processes. The aim is to develop an evolutionary
forms for this particular context, without being programmed to algorithm to generate solutions for climate-adapted building
achieve such. Against deductive methods, the process outlined morphologies that are non-typological and thus reach a high
here does not manifest a specific shape. It rather draws upon level of context specific overall performance.
the rules and logic of possible spatial envelopes, where the The evolutionary algorithm is constrained by a maximum
specific morphologies are optimized for multiple criteria. At usable volume and a desired number of units. The environment
the same time multifaceted articulation possibilities can be is composed of climatic factors like solar radiation, wind and
explored. natural light. The process outputs volumes that form individual
units. Together the units form an urban block. The form
4.2. Case study 2: urban block morphologies generation itself, which is informed by the genotype, uses
a geometric subdivision algorithm that is neither limited to
The second case study (conducted under the supervision of the irregular nor regular phenotypic spatial systems, but rather
author and Sean Ahlquist by Florian Krampe and Christopher incorporates both. The embryology operator initiates the
Voss at the Institute for Computational Design at the University growth of individuals through a series of subdivisions and the
of Stuttgart) focuses on the scale of an urban block. In the assignment of characteristics to the resulting volumes based
design of cities, the concept of environmental integration can on five sets of genes. This is initially driven by two sets of
no longer be reduced to a concern of lowering the energy genes: active points 1 that define the subdivision of the given

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

Figure 3. Summary of the morphogenetic process of inhabitation and circulation units (left) and the related definition of genes (right).

Figure 4. Example of gene sequence on chromosome (left: same position, numeric/right: same position, coordinate) required by the
developed embryology operator.

maximum urban block volume and a set of void points 1 that define the inhabitable spatial units. These constraints ensure
determine whether the resulting spatial units are void spaces or that spatial units have horizontal floors and do not exceed a
not. This distinction is based on the relation between points, predefined volume (figure 3).
in order to ensure the generation of inhabitable spaces. The The embryology operator developed for this project
spaces created in this way undergo a secondary subdivision requires a special chromosome order of the gene sequence
cycle again defined by a set of active points 2 organizing controlling the spatial subdivision. Two problems in the
the spatial sub-partitioning and void points 2 determining generation and evaluation need to be avoided: multiple uses
voids. In addition, another set of circulation genes defines of the same point coordinates and too high a degree of
whether the resulting spatial partitions are circulation space or subdivision variation resulting from crossbreeding. Thus, the
inhabitable spaces, seeking continuous circulatory routes with gene sequence on the chromosome is related to the spatial order
minimum volume impact. While the distribution of active of points allowing cross-over splitting at the same position and
points 1 is relatively free and thus allows the exploration of avoiding equivalent point coordinates (figure 4).
significant differences, the active points 2 distribution during The focal point of this project was the development and
the second subdivision cycle is constrained in order to ensure testing of the evaluation step in the evolutionary process.
the creation of usable spaces, as the active points 2 directly This testing revolved around the precision in values returned

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

Figure 5. Example morphologies and overall performance development for experiments 1 (left) and 2 (right).

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

Figure 6. Programmatic distribution based on local conditions within a high overall-performance morphology.

from the evaluation process as well as the variable ranking In this way it was also possible to define the specific
of priority between different criteria. Two experiments were programmatic distribution based on different climatic qualities
conducted to investigate how significantly or insignificantly of the units evolved as the overall performance of the urban
the general population of individual geometries behaved and morphology and the registration of its localized differences
evolved when different criteria were prioritized (figure 5). (figure 6). Thus, employing biomimetic computational design
Each individual is evaluated according to five climatic processes allows for identifying novel and evolving form
fitness criteria and two additional spatial criteria. The climatic performance relations and thus overcomes the a priori, linear
evaluation takes place on two levels, block level and unit matching between built form, program and climate that is still
level. On the scale of the block, the cross-ventilation of predominant in more conventional design processes.
the overall urban morphology, the amount of covered outside
space on the site and the amount of solar radiation that the
outside communal spaces are exposed to, are evaluated. On 5. Conclusion
unit level, it is evaluated how many units can be naturally cross-
In the biomimetic design approach presented above the
ventilated and how much solar radiation the units are exposed
physical constraints and material properties, together with
to. In addition to the climatic evaluation, two more aspects are
the constraints of production, fabrication and construction
evaluated: the connectivity criterion evaluates the accessibility
can be encoded in generative computational processes.
of the units via the circulatory system. Instead of using
existing circulation typologies, the circulation evolves through Consequently, any specific form or structure derived
a different species of interconnecting units. Furthermore, the through subsequent morphogenetic and evolutionary processes
unit count criterion is used to evaluate the number of units over remains fully coherent with the logic and limits of
the course of the evolution, as well as monitoring the overall materialization. Furthermore, the computational development
build volume and floor area. process is informed through constant feedback with digital
The outcome of this research not only produced a novel simulation, which allows responding to the heterogeneity
understanding of spatial arrangement in terms of possible of external forces, environmental influences and functional
environmental responsiveness, but it also provoked questions requirements. Resulting from the multifaceted space-making,
with regard to assessing the outcomes of the process. In load bearing and climate regulating requirements and
relation to the defined criteria, the numerical results give qualities of architecture, and based on the described
a clear performance rating of the overall system. But, in coherency of form, material, structure and function, a
other conditions outside these criteria, and within localized performative morphological differentiation can unfold without
situations, it was necessary to develop additional tools which compromises to constructability. The design possibilities of
could visualize such embedded information in order to trace this morphological differentiation are relevant as they enable
localized phenomena. the architect to register and instrumentalize the heterogeneity
These tools allowed for a translation of the morphologies of influences and forces that act upon any architectural
into data sets, which could be linked to show the performative intervention, and because such morphological differentiation
capacity and spatial quality of the units within the block. is one of the key enablers for adaptation and functional

Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 015003 A Menges

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