Karola Dierichs (DE) + Achim Menges (DE)

Hygroscopic Aggregate Structure

August 14th – August 20th 2016

The Workshop

Our workshop introduces participants to the notion of designed matter and teaches digital construction techniques which are gentle and non-invasive to the surrounding environment. Participants get an overview of the theoretical foundations of designed matter proposing a transition from machinic processes of architectural production towards a material intelligence: the material in and of itself becomes the machine.

The Hygroscopic Aggregate Structure will be made of hygroscopic actuated particles and locally found wood branches. It will be constructed, modulated or scanned by robots. The structure will be the first full-scale realization of a granular material system that uses the innate capacity of wood to change form under changing humidity conditions.

Designers from all disciplines can participate as the workshop touches on a wide range of skills, interests and scales. It will be conducted in an explorative and hands-on manner. Prior knowledge in robotics and programming or scripting is not required.

The workshop draws from two main research fields currently conducted in the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) at the University of Stuttgart: aggregate architectures and hygroscopic materials. The field of aggregate architectures deals with the use of loose granular materials as an architectural construction system. The field of hygroscopic materials investigates how hygroscopic behavior in wood can be programmed for controlled geometric shape change in architectural elements.

Workshop Categories

Karola Dierichs is an architect and a researcher at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) in Stuttgart with Professor Achim Menges since 2010. She has been educated at the Technical University of Braunschweig, the ETH Zurich and the Architectural Association (AA) in London and has graduated from the Emergent Technologies and Design Program with Distinction in 2009.

She has been teaching at the Architectural Association/London, the Städelschule Architecture Class/Frankfurt and the Institute for Computational Design and Construction/Stuttgart.

At the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) Karola Dierichs is conducting research on Aggregate Architectures, where she is developing synthetic granular materials as designer matter in architecture. She has been engaged in transdisciplinary research collaborating nationally and internationally, among others with the Institute for Multiscale Simulation (MSS), Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany and the Behringer Lab, Duke University, USA. She has published numerous articles in her field and lectured both within Europe and the USA. Her research on designed granular materials has been recognized with the Holcim Acknowledgement Award Europe 2014. Selected works have been included in the traveling exhibition “Hello Robot.” starting 2017 at the Vitra Design Museum/Germany and the opening exhibition “Minding the Digital” of the Design Society in Shenzen/China.