Digital technology is becoming an increasingly pervasive and dominant presence in architectural design and practice. Along with this increase comes an exponentially proportionate responsibility to critically address the digital within the process of design beyond its apparent use as simply tools of efficiency and reproduction. The thesis explores and exploits the pragmatic nature of digital tools towards uncovering their innumerable and latent potentials to inspire new architectural narratives, atmospheres, and other design drivers.
The exploration develops an architectural design pipeline from the evaluation and analyses of tests and experiments with laser scanning, photogrammetry, and 3D printing. Each step is a result of decisions that are informed by a blend of more familiar architectural testing methods (such as sketching and material testing), with newer methods (such as parametric modeling software and generative drawing). The exploration works hand-in-hand with the digital as an equally participating member in the design process, from a software’s representation of a point cloud to a more tangible 3D print, and guides this conversation towards a more direct relationship with architectural elements of narrative and space.
Tests are performed first on a common interior space in order to familiarize and develop the broader steps of the design pipeline. The knowledge acquired from these tests are then applied to an existing building, Grafarkirkja in Iceland, in order to understand how the ritual of experiencing a place can be glitched through distorting a sequence of encounters. These experiential glitches are inspired and driven by the design pipeline’s computationally-derived outputs and their repeated reprocessing, rooting further evolutions in the existing site’s source registration. Glitches occur as a result of pushing methods and techniques to their breaking point to create collisions between different media, scales, languages, and systems. These breaks reveal realities that exist beyond the immediately perceived and allow for the entrance of new narratives, design logics, and materialities that can then be translated into a human dimension through an architectural language.
By fundamentally rooting a design process within the digital, the exploration reveals just some of the different types of material grain that lie just beneath the intangible surface of the digital. This refocusing on the digital through a new lens leads to findings that realize the virtual in ways that inspire the imagination in pursuit of the new, the curious, the implicit, and the mysterious.