Designing with Nature: Designing with Parameters – What’s Next?

Thurs 27 February 2014, 7pm

  • 'In the Air' a research project to map pollution levels in Madrid by Nerea Calvillo + collaborators. Courtesy In The Air
  • Biomimetic Office Building project by Michael Pawlyn. Courtesy Exploration Architecture
  • Still from Patrik Schumacher's film 'Parametricism'. Originally produced for the Elvis Zapp Urban Film Festival, New York
  • The Termite Pavilion by Rupert Soar. Courtesy Joseph Burns

Parametric software has enabled architects and designers to create structures, buildings and environments that were impossible to imagine twenty years ago. Architecture today is influenced by mathematical codes, functional principles found in biological forms, and broader environmental and climatic conditions – all of which can be mimicked and controlled by digital design tools allowing for highly efficient ways of designing.  But what is the future of such digitally based design and what are going to be the defining parameters of design in the future? A panel discussion chaired by Dr Marcos Cruz with a group of architects working with parameter tools in their daily practice including Michael Pawlyn, Rupert Soar, Nerea Calvillo and Patrik Schumacher who will explore the evolution, future possibilities, as well as pros and cons of parameter control in creating architecture.

Speakers :

Michael Pawlyn established Exploration in 2007 to focus exclusively on biomimicry. In 2008 Exploration was short-listed for the Young Architect of the Year Award and the internationally renowned Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Prior to setting up the company Michael Pawlyn worked with Grimshaw architects for ten years and was central to the team that radically re-invented horticultural architecture for the Eden Project. Pawlyn has lectured widely in the UK and abroad, and in 2011, became one of only a small handful of architects to have a talk posted on In the same year, his book Biomimicry in Architecture was published by the Royal Institute of British Architects

Patrik Schumacher is partner at Zaha Hadid Architects and founding director at the AA Design Research Laboratory. He joined Zaha Hadid in 1988. Patrik Schumacher studied philosophy, mathematics and architecture in Bonn, London and Stuttgart, where he received his Diploma in 1990. In 1999 he completed his PhD at the Institute for Cultural Science, Klagenfurt University. Patrik Schumacher has been teaching at various architectural schools in UK, Continental Europe and the USA since 1992. Since 2004 Patrik Schumacher is also tenured professor at the Institute for Experimental Architecture, Innsbruck University and guest professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 2010 and 2012 he published the two Volumes of his theoretical opus magnum ‘The Autopoiesis of Architecture’. He is currently planning the exhibition ‘Parametricism – The New International Style’.

Nerea Calvillo is an architect, researcher and curator. The work produced at her office, C+ arquitectos, and her collaborative visualisation projects like In the Air have been presented, exhibited and published at international venues, such as TEDxMadrid or the Canadian Centre for Architecture. She is currently a Poiesis Fellow at New York University, lecturer at University of Alicante, Medialab-Prado's curator of Connecting Cities Network EU project, researcher at Citizen Sense, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Unit Tutor at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London.

Dr Rupert Soar works at the interface between digital design and fabrication. He is reader in Sustainable Construction Technologies, School of Architecture and the Built EnvironmentNottingham Trent UniversityAs a director of Freeform Construction Ltd, he acts as consultant and technology developer for construction companies. Freeform Construction is engaged with digital fabrication processes, novel phase-change and selectively curable construction materials. Rupert is known for his research with termites as the inspiration for agent construction and its implications, from which emerged a discovery in low-energy ‘impedance ventilation’ as a model for passive ventilation in ‘low rise’ buildings. Rupert lectures and collaborates on ‘agent architecture’ and ‘scripted functionality’ and is defining the field of physiomimetics.

Chair :

Dr Marcos Cruz is an architect and reader at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He was the Director of the Bartlett between 2010 and 2014, having been responsible for a major transformation of the school in the past few years. His varied teaching activity as an investigator, tutor and critic has been carried out in numerous international universities, including the University of Westminster and University California Los Angeles. His most important activity, however, has been at University College London, where he runs MArch Unit 20 for over 14 years. In terms of his practice, Cruz is co-founder of the studio marcosandmarjan whose built and speculative work has been extensively exhibited and published. Marcos Cruz is the author of marcosandmarjan – Interfaces/Intrafaces (SpringerWienNewYork, 2005) and The Inhabitable Flesh of Architecture (Ashgate, 2013). 



With thanks to School of Architecture and the Built EnvironmentNottingham Trent University.

With thanks to School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University.