Master of Science in Architecture

State University of CampinasFaculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Urban PlanningCampinas - Brazil, 2019
Supervision: Professor Gabriela Celani
Computational Morphogenesis: from Bio-inspiration to Biodesign

The inspiration in Nature has always been a recurring theme in the production of human artifacts. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, this type of analogy became stronger in the field of architecture and design as more and more professionals began to incorporate concepts and terms from Biology and mimic natural forms to create new forms analogous to them. In the first half of the twentieth century, some scholars began to develop abstractions of natural processes of growth and evolution, implementing them as mathematical models and, later, as computational algorithms. More recently, with the evolution of CAD systems, they have also incorporated these processes, but they are often a black case for users. These generative systems based on processes found in Nature usually provide design outcomes that meet performance criteria. Therefore, the term “morphogenetic design” has been used to identify the use of biomimetics as a design model developed by means of computational processes that result in the growth and development of forms adapted to an environment. However, the current scenario of applications displays a very conflicting incidence of terminological and practical applications, with little compliance from different authors regarding definitions and concepts. This dissertation proposes a terminological review through the identification of the different meanings used during the last decades, and through a precise theoretical foundation, qualifying the morphogenetic design as a computational method capable of bringing together different constraints (such as structural, environmental, material, functional , morphological, etc.) through a generative process. Then, experimental design applications are carried out with the purpose of illustrating some available tools, their use and possible outcomes. The methodology of the first part of the dissertation consisted in the systematic review of the literature, made through surveys to specific databases and interview with two specialists in this field of research. The methodology of the second part consisted in the systematic use of morphogenetic procedures with the objective of testing their potentiality and the accomplishment of x exercises of project with greater complexity. As a result, it is expected to promote a clarification and greater knowledge about the subject, suggesting possible applications in the area of Architecture.

Keywords: morphogenesis, biomimicry, generative systems, computational design, design process.

Based on Menges, A. (2007). Computational Morphogenesis: Integral Form Generation and Materialization. Em’body’ing Virtual Architecture: The Third International Conference of the Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design (ASCAAD). Alexandria, Egypt: The Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design.
The overall research objective was to study and narrow the concept of morphogenetic design, gathering and analyzing theoretical information to propose a reviewed definition of the therm:
Morphogenetic Design is a computational design model that encodes logic, structure and behaviour, as well as the underlying principles of natural morphogenesis (MENGES, 2007), as growth, differentiation (LEACH, 2009), adaptation, self-organization, emergence (OXMAN, 2009; ROUDAVSKI, 2009) and evolutionary process (MENGES, 2007; OXMAN, 2009). The outcome is a system of high morphological complexity in which the structure is functional (MUELLER; NEWMANN, 2003 apud MENGES, 2011) and responsive to external pressures. The integration between formation and materialization (MENGES, 2007; OXMAN, 2010) is developed through computational methodology, fabrication techniques and material systems that meet the criteria of sustainability, ecology, material performance and smart use of resources in architectural construction. 
This conceptualization and theoretical foundation drove the methodology of the application experiments:
Turing Candelabra
Villus Vase
Wandering Column