Mixed Matters


ISBN 978-3-86859-421-8



A Multi-Material Design Compendium


Foreword—Material Matters 8

Brett Steele

Introduction—The (Multi-)Material Things to Come 10

Kostas Grigoriadis

Session 01

The Oceanic Pedagogical Sketchbook of Multi-Materiality 18

Rachel Armstrong

Monolith. Continuity and Differentiation within Volumetric

Models 30

Andrew Payne and Panagiotis Michalatos

Encoding Multi-Materiality 40

Daniel Richards and Martyn Amos

Contemporary Materialities. An Interview with Francis

Bitonti 50

VSpace: The Mathematics of Material 54

Alexandros Tsamis

Preliminary Notes towards a History of Computational

Multi-Materiality 98

Roberto Bottazzi

Session 02

Gradient Logics: The Durotaxis Chair 106

Alvin Huang

Deep Texture 116

Stefan Bassing

Functionally Graded Concrete. Designing Concrete with

Multifunctional Material Properties 124

Michael Herrmann and Werner Sobek

OOO and Multi-Materiality 134

Graham Harman

Hylonoetics: On the Priority of Material Engagement 140

Lambros Malafouris

All Is Behaviour 148

Theo Spyropoulos

… biographies, image credits, imprint 152

7 Contents

Foreword—Material Matters

Brett Steele

Architectural modernism has long been deemed a battle of modern material

versus media. Is it the sudden late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century

appearance of glass, steel, reinforced concrete, and their various engineering

and construction possibilities that provided the basis for a distinctively

modern architect, and project? Or might it have been the emergence and

proliferation during that same period of modern printing, newsprint, magazines,

photography, and film—especially considering their accelerated capacities

for the transmission of revolutionary architectural images, manifestos,

and texts, out of which the iconic orthodoxy of architectural modernism

might be best comprehended?

To set up an interrogation of architecture’s most experimental, modern advances

this way—as a dialectic of seemingly opposing social realities (‘material’

vs. ‘media’)—is of course mistaken. If we were to do so, this would not

only prefigure historically the frequently stated, false contemporary dichotomy

of ‘physical’ versus ‘virtual’ realms, but also we would be missing entirely

the larger point of the following book, edited to great effect by Kostas

Grigoriadis. Which, as a thesis, can be summarised this way: those physical

components and other forms of matter by which architects assemble things

still resembling architectural structures, are today the product of design sensibilities,

research regimes, and fabrication realities that make them resemble

forms of ‘media’ as much as they might ‘materials’.

The following collection of essays, interviews, and commentary provides a

helpful record of the professional, cultural, and even philosophical implications

of a decidedly contemporary acceleration of the convergence of media

and material realities in architecture; a convergence, I would suggest, that

has long been a feature of modern architecture itself.

What is new today, however, is the downright unexpectedness of the various

trajectories of today’s increasingly mediated material designs—the growing

ways in which materials are being designed to behave, interact, and adapt

as if they are forms of media—which are re-animating the design research

cultures of architecture, in ways not unlike how the field was propelled a

century ago through an earlier stage of modern industrialisation.

What is being industrialised today, of course is not only the various material

sciences and related design cultures around these, so much as design

research itself. Which provides one way with this short preface to acknowledge

the importance of the remarkable array of expertise and knowledge


Introduction—The (Multi-)Material

Things to Come

Kostas Grigoriadis

Material innovation has historically been at the forefront of change in architecture

and with the advent of a variety of new technological developments

in materiality, it is imperative to consider its implications within the built


Starting off an investigation into advances in material research, the ten MIT

Technology Review Breakthrough Technologies for 2015 for instance, consisted

of, among others, helium balloons that use the layered stratospheric

winds to navigate the globe and beam high-speed Internet access to remote

locations. Additionally, a cinematic-reality interface that projects light into

human eyes, making it blend seamlessly with natural light and therefore

populating one's vision with virtual imagery, promised to make the virtual

appear as real as reality itself. Research in both of these technologies partly

involved a material problem (in the build-up of the balloons' polyethylene

envelope and in manufacturing the grain-sized projector in the case of cinematic-reality)

but more interestingly, five out of the other eight technologies

were related to material innovations per se. With this kind of research nowadays

ranging from the atomic and nano all the way to the visible scale it is

possible to see the nano-lattice architecture, liquid biopsy, brain organoids,

supercharged photosynthesis and internet of DNA technologies as material

level inventions. Additionally, taking this range of scales into account while

looking through previous years of the MIT Technology Review, it is rather

striking that there has been a steady decrease in the magnitude in which

materiality has been intervened with. From the use of additive manufacturing

for 3D printing jet parts in 2013, to micro-scale 3D printing in 2014, the

natural continuation of this lineage was the creation of nano-scale material

lattices in 2015.

What one can effectively extract from looking into these reviews that capture

the forefront of scientific and technological innovation is that there are

two main ongoing changes taking place currently. Firstly, in what material

research and the definition of materials themselves actually are and secondly

in how matter interfaces and weaves together with information and

the digital domain. Or as Spina (2012, p.6) aptly suggested:

"We live in an age of permanent mutation and continuous adaptation...

Now, what if material itself was put into question? What if the


very assumption of material as the purest, stable and discrete property

upon which we formulate and construct often unstable things,

would also become susceptible to change?"

Regarding this shifting definition of materiality, according to Drazin (2015,

p.xxi) there has been a transition from materials that are reactive ("appearing

in pre-determined and pre-intended uses in reaction to human action")

to ones that "we can no longer depend on the predictability of" and which

are active, agentic "and… much more causal in social and epistemological

situations." This unpredictability can be said to go hand-in-hand with the

aforementioned capability to alter matter all the way down to the atomic

level, which is consequently initiating a Neo-Cambrian explosion of all sorts

of stuff being concocted on a nearly daily basis. In this jungle of matter that

is starting to exist out there, even classification of materials is becoming increasingly

difficult. The intent of the Mixed Matters publication, however, is

to address a very specific type of (fused) materials that in the midst of all the

above mentioned innovations, have been termed "the holy grail of materials

[science]" (Wiscombe, 2012, p.5) and are deemed to have the capacity to

bring about radical changes in architecture.

Fused materiality is an invention that has existed since time immemorial,

with examples such as tin-infused copper becoming bronze and giving rise

to the Bronze Age and carbon squeezing in-between iron on an atomic level

that resulted in what we know as steel. The latter changed architecture by

enabling the construction of steel-framed high-rise buildings subsequently

having an immense impact on the organisation of entire cities, as well as

instigating certain aspects of the modernist movement along the way. Although

historically generated through experience and intuition, the exponentially

advancing material science technologies of today are beginning to

allow for targeted control of material fusion across different scales. In the

example of the aeroplane parts additive manufacturing, in addition to the

use of single materials, engineers were beginning to investigate how the

material palette used in the 3D printing process could be expanded. "A blade

for an engine or turbine, for example, could be made with different materials

so that one end is optimised for strength and the other for heat resistance"

(LaMonica, 2013, p.59). Additionally, the MIT Technology Review article on

micro-scale 3D printing started off with the question, "what if 3D printers

could use a wide assortment of different materials… mixing and matching

[these material] "inks" with precision?" (MIT Technology Review, 2014).

Concerning in that instance the micro-scale, fused or multi-materiality on a

visible scale was already envisaged by Japanese scientists as far back as

the 1970s and effectively realised in the 1980s. Termed functionally graded

materials (FGM) they initially consisted of metals gradually fusing into ceramics

within one continuous volume with no disruptions.

Forty years later, research initiatives are beginning to indicate that transferring

the use of graded materials from aerospace and material science to the

11 Introduction—The (Multi-)Material Things to Come

"… architectural aesthetics are

more than the most superficial

aspects of the design process

but are woven through deep

material structurings that

resonate back in cosmic time

when, following the Big Bang,

the first matter started to

condense as chemistry. These

ancient frameworks constrain

the limits of material couplings

but not their creative potential."

Rachel Armstrong


17 >>SESSION 01



open to environmental influences working through fundamental material

relationships. While the limits imposed upon these interactions by genetic

information provoke creativity, the aesthetics produced at the dark gel interfaces

discuss alternative possible evolutionary pathways of events and even

suggest new kinds of nature that given the right propagative fields could

potentially persist within the site as soils, bodies, or architectures. The gels

are always moving. They duck, dive, and advocate alternative configurations.

They resist formalisation leading us towards an aesthetics in continual motion

whose qualities evade fossilisation through preordained forms but enable

new kinds of image making and spatial expressions through revealing

connections that were previously unseen.

Procedurally, the modified Liesegang Ring experiment speaks of an origins

of life style transition that is unconstrained by naturalised aesthetics, where

the 'qualia' of interacting lively materials orchestrate new independent acts

of creation. Stephen Jay Gould proposed that replaying the Tape of Life could

test whether the natural realm had been generated through a dominant program,

such as one produced by an omnipotent divinity (Gould, 1990). Gould

argued that if we lived in a predetermined universe—then biological species

would be very similar to those we recognise today. However, if environmental

influences played a significant role in evolution, we might encounter seemingly

alien kinds of life—in keeping with those that arise from the experimental

fields of activated gels and enlivened minerals. Poetically, the ensuing

experimental events are read through the text of Paradise Lost to graphically

discuss how this alternative Nature is not of divine origin, but is borne from

a new collaboration between empowered matter and secular human agency,

which share a common project in their mutual, continued survival. Each drawing

is therefore entitled using the two key design phases used to produce the

experimental work—namely, the dominant oceanic pedagogy in the drawing

(interface, oscillator, selective permeability, massive parallelism) followed by

a quotation from Paradise Lost that relates the graphical events to acts of

secular synthesis that produce soft, living architectures.

Oceanic Multi-Material Aesthetics

By directly engaging the generative potency of the material realm, designers

move one step back from the traditional site of production—the predetermined,

fetishised object—akin to God creating mankind fully formed

from dust. Instead of this sudden act of genesis in which the homunculus

design object is preformed and valued through the geometry of its lines, dimensions,

curves, and energies of geometrically bounded materialities—the

architectural move becomes an evolutionary, musical engagement between

the multiple agencies influencing the production of space. The choreography

of material tensions shaped by human and non-human activity generates

an ongoing series of probabilistic events in which the designer is not

made redundant, but displaced from centre stage of the design process.


Oscillator: "Not all parts like, but all alike informed…" Paradise Lost, Book III, p.593.

Selective Permeability 2: "… more wonderful than that which by creation first brought forth Light out of

darkness!…" Paradise Lost, Book XII, pp.471-473.

Acts of creativity are distributed through a site through multiple material

happenings that nucleate in vortices and oscillate at interfaces, as massively

25 The Oceanic Pedagogical Sketchbook of Multi-Materiality

Monolith has the ability to generate voxel data from source geometry such

as points, lines, curves, planes, and BREPs. The process involves measuring

the distance from each voxel to the nearest point on the source geometry.

After passing through a scalar decay function (i.e. linear, square, exponential,

or power), these distances are normalised and assigned to the corresponding

shape or material ratio channel.

Figure 4: Volumetric model showing the underlying source geometry on the left and the resultant composite

voxel model on the right.

Mesh geometry can also be used to inform voxel densities. The mesh geometry

can be created in any 3D modelling software as a watertight mesh

surface. It can then be imported into Monolith in one of two ways. The first

assigns a voxel density of 1.0 to every unit that falls within the interior of the

mesh geometry; allocating a value of 0.0 to all other voxels.

The second method uses the mesh geometry as a mask. When imported

into Monolith, it overrides the shape channel in the final composition step.

For instance, a designer could create a mesh object in a surface modelling

software and bring it into Monolith as a mask mesh. S/he could then use

Monolith to describe how materials would vary within this shape; something

that requires volumetric rather than surface modelling techniques. The

advantage of using a mask mesh is that it has the ability to capture sharp

corners and discontinuities better than voxel-based contours.

Hybrid Operations

Of course, being a hybrid modelling environment means that there are techniques

that blur the boundary between each fundamental paradigm. Lofting

or Sweeping, for example, are techniques which are fundamental parts of

the CAD modelling vocabulary. They work by blending cross-sectional shapes

(i.e. curves) along a path, ultimately creating a surface boundary representation.

Monolith augments this approach by using raster-based bitmaps, which

can represent fuzzy or continuously varied gradients as underlying cross-


sectional patterns. The result is a completely hybrid approach—one that is

inherently intuitive if familiar with the underlying concepts, yet unique to

both modelling paradigms.

Similarly, another hybrid approach can be seen in the volumetric interpolation

between weighted control points. In 2D image editing applications, the

technique of blending continuously between two known color values (i.e.

gradient) is very common. In 3D CAD modeling, you can edit the weights of

the control points of a spline to control the shape of the curve—effectively

creating a weighted interpolation between the points. While both techniques

are unique to their respective modelling paradigm, we can combine them in

Monolith to create a hybrid approach to volumetric interpolation. Each 3D

grid point, illustrated in figure 5, can be modified interactively to change the

density of that voxel location. Interstitial material is then blended between

the grid points using various interpolation methods, each of which can have

a dramatic impact on the resulting voxel image.

Figure 5: Volumetric grid interpolation using [left] Cubic, [middle] Nearest Neighbor, and [right] Cosine blending


Designing Hierarchical Material [3D Typography]

Hierarchical materials are characterised by mesoscopic structures that can

be highly anisotropic and therefore endow the material with highly controlled

and possibly localised optical and elastic properties. By varying the geometry

of the mesoscopic pattern we can control the macroscopic characteristics

of the material. This implies a new design paradigm, where design

considerations do not have to stop at the selection of an industrial material

from a catalogue but may go all the way down to the scale of micro patterns.

In this sense, detail design becomes a question of the designer traversing

the scale from the microscopic to the macroscopic.

Monolith's approach to the design of hierarchical materials is loosely based

on typographic techniques extended to three dimensions like dithering, halftoning

and engraving. The voxel image contains a material mixing channel.

35 Monolith. Continuity and Differentiation within Volumetric Models

ninen, 2002), which adds new nodes and weighted connections to CPPNs

over time in order to adjust the output patterns in response to desired performance


As described in figure 1 CPPNs can create complex 2D patterns using a scalable

and evolvable encoding (figure 2). These patterns have three exciting

properties. Firstly, they facilitate good evolutionary search, because CPPNs

solve the problem of scalability. Secondly, the patterns contain potentially

useful regularities, symmetries and (interestingly) imperfect symmetries as

a product of the periodic functions (e.g., cosine) used in the CPPN nodes. Finally,

the patterns allow for infinite resolution, whereby increasing their size

(perhaps paradoxically) improves the quality of the pattern, instead of (as we

might expect) causing pixellation.

Our previous work demonstrates how CPPN-NEAT based models can evolve

efficient truss structures (Richards and Amos, 2014a) and facilitate novel

form-finding processes (Richards and Amos, 2014b). We now show ongoing

work with shell and composite structures, which eliminate the aforementioned

problem of the vast number of possible combinations of geometry

and material.

As shown in figures 1 and 2, CPPNs can create patterns on 2D canvases by

taking the (x, y) coordinate of each pixel and using it to generate a unique

RGB value. In a similar manner, we paint CPPN generated patterns across

non-uniform rational basis spline (NURBS) surfaces, by replacing the (x, y)

inputs with (u, v) coordinates, as illustrated in the figures on page 70. These

patterns can be evolved in response to performance objectives using the

NEAT algorithm (Stanley and Miikkulaninen, 2002). However, we can also

pause evolution at any time, extract the connection weights of CPPNs, and

manually adjust them in real time to explore different patterns (much like manipulating

an automatically generated Grasshopper definition). The figures

on page 70 illustrate how manipulating some extracted connection weights

can lead to small adjustments, whereas manipulation of different connection

weights can produce much more elaborate changes. However, CPPNs

can do much more than simply control colour. The figures on page 71 show

Heinz Isler-inspired shell structures, where material properties and localised

shell thickness are manipulated with CPPNs in response to automated finite

element analysis (FEA) and speculative design intent.

Figure 3 shows a physical shell prototype with surface articulation and localised

thickness defined by CPPN information; figure 3B illustrates a primitive

multi-material shell; figure 3C shows integrated structural analysis of CPPNbased

shell designs, and figure 3D demonstrates an evolved shell texture

that stiffens its structure in response to a specific loading case.

These computational studies and physical prototypes demonstrate powerful

ways of manipulating NURBS surfaces in order to build exotic shell

structures. However, we can also extend this method to introduce evolvable

lattice-based microstructures (figure 4) and multi-material laminates into

the interior of our shell structures. We expect this approach will facilitate


Figure 3: Prototypes. Top left (A): 3D printed shell structure with varying local thickness. Surface manipulation

is created by inputting (u,v) coordinates of NURBS surface into CPPN and using output to define

extrusion of control points. Top right (B): Multi-material prototype using a Makerbot printer. Bottom left

(C): Shell structures can be easily subjected to FEA using the open-source solver CalculiX. Bottom right (D):

Evolved surface textures to increase shell stiffness.

Figure 4: Microstructure. NURBS surfaces can be extruded along their normal and complex internal lattices

and can be included and optimised to aid performance.

completely new design opportunities, enable us to create high-performance

designs with complex multi-material features, and allow us to discover higher-level

material behaviours (such as novel compliant mechanisms and morphable

structures). This work is ongoing.

47 Encoding Multi-Materiality

Contemporary Materialities.

An Interview with Francis Bitonti

What are economic, social and political implications of the use

of multi-materials in architecture and construction?

The costs will not always be an issue. It is only expensive because of the

current economy surrounding the intellectual properties enabling this kind of

work. The cost of these technologies will gradually drop in price when we

have multiple producers and manufactures of both materials and machines.

Technological trends are pointing us towards a future where these kinds

of fabrication technologies are going to be very accessible. This is going to

have a very serious impact on construction processes, and will most certainly

disrupt supply chains and the relationship between the contractor and

the architect and the contractor and many vendors and sub-contractors that

work on a project.

What can be the new criteria against which to evaluate the

resulting motley constructs?

We are going to evaluate these kinds of constructs the way we always have.

I think the standards will be higher for building performance because we will

be able to engineer materials in a much different way.


Are there any historical precedents and/or any theoretical

discourses that this paradigm shift can refer/relate to?

I have always thought that Ruskin wrote about masonry construction in

much the same way we talk about voxels in the studio. Designing for additive

methods of production has much in common with these systems.

Viollet-le-Duc is another one whose writings have always seemed very appropriate;

I see many parallels to medieval architecture. It's about accumulation

of discrete elements and very often material differences arise from

geometric differentiation and not necessarily a change in material. Modern

architecture has nothing to do with our contemporary material paradigm. The

scale of components is completely different, more primitive architectures

that predate industrialised production processes forced designers to think

about materials the way 3D printers are forcing us to think about materials


Figure 1: Meta-materiality study detail.

51 Contemporary Materialities. An Interview with Francis Bitonti

"Humans... build to shelter and

protect but... they also build to

define the ontological conditions

and limits of selfhood. In many

ways then the boundaries of the

forms we built become the limits

of our consciousness. And if we

also accept that a being's mental

states can never extend beyond

those boundaries, then setting

the right kind of boundaries is

essential for what we are...."

Lambros Malafouris



105 >>>SESSION 02

a gradient heat map that informs the redistribution of mass, and reorientation

of structure to accommodate and respond to structural force.

Proposed Methodology: Generative Sphere Packing

In order to achieve the desired effects of a variable density three-dimensional

space frame a computational process for generating the articulation

of the sponge like structure was proposed. The workflow for generating the

variable, densely packed 3D mesh jumped between a number of software

packages and oscillated between the manual and intuitive modelling of the

global form of the chair, to the analytical study of structural forces, to the

generative articulation of gradient conditions into a cellular matrix.

• The chair geometry is developed through low-poly subdivision modelling

in Maya.

• The subdivision mesh is exported to Rhino, and the mesh topology is

processed through a plug-in called Weaverbird.

• The refined mesh is analysed in the structural analysis plug-in-in Karamba

to discover principal stress distributions.

• The structural analysis is converted into a gradient heat map through the

associative modelling plug-in Grasshopper.

• A dynamic springs & nodes is utilised to "sphere pack" a variable density

cloud of points within the boundary of the mesh utilising the gradient

heat map as scalar distribution map.

• Each of the nodes of the network (the centres of the spheres) is extracted

as a point cloud, including the centroids of all boundary mesh faces.

• The composite point cloud of both sphere-packed volume and the

boundary mesh topology are used to generate a three-dimensional voronoi


• All voronoi cells outside of the original boundary condition are removed,

and the wireframe network of the cells is extracted to create the underlying

topology of the new mesh.

• The wireframe network is given a variable thickness and colour gradient

in relation to the heat map of its principal stress analysis through plug-in


This process was explored with limited success. Though we were able to

produce each step of the process—we were extremely limited by the resolution

of the packed mesh (number of points in the cloud) and the computational

power required to manipulate and generate them. Simply put, we did

not have the computational horsepower required to compute the density of

mesh desired.


Figure 3: The proposed generative sphere packing process.

Actual Methodology

With a pressing deadline to have a piece ready for an exhibition deadline, our

time was limited and we needed to deliver a ready to print 3D file to Stratasys

in less than one month in order to meet the deadline for the project. As

a result, the computationally generated process was abandoned and a highly

laborious manually generative process was applied.

• The base subdivision mesh is imported to Rhino via Maya to use as the

boundary topology of the model, with a series of mesh refinements

with the plug-in Weaverbird.

• A sequence of 3D offsets creates a series of "onion" like layers of skin,

with both intersecting and self-intersecting areas of each mesh being

removed. As such, the layers continuously shrink as they offset towards

the centre of the volume.

• Grasshopper is used to extract the vertices of each layer of the meshes.

In particular, the organisation of the exterior layer's points are important

and as such are extracted through a separate process as a means of

maintaining the topology of the surface structure. The points within the

inner volume of the boundary mesh are extracted at variable densities

towards the centre.

• The resulting composite point cloud is processed as a 3D voronoi structure.

The wireframe of the 3D voronoi is extracted as a wireframe network.

• A series of attractor curves are manually constructed at specific places

111 Gradient Logics: The Durotaxis Chair

the Institute for System Dynamics and the Institute of Construction Materials

at Stuttgart University.

Mix Designs for Functionally Graded Concrete

Concrete components can be functionally graded by arranging varying porosities,

adding a diverse range of aggregates (including hollow spheres or

aggregates with selected levels of rigidity), using various types of concrete,

or combining these methods with each other. In the first step, two extreme

concrete mixes are defined to determine relevant boundary conditions. A

high-strength fine-aggregate concrete is selected as the extreme at the load

bearing end of the functional gradation range. The porous extreme of functionally

graded concrete, the so-called core mix, is made from a no-fines

lightweight concrete mix with a porous matrix (Faust, 2003). Structural characteristics

are enhanced by minimising porosity, whereas thermal insulation

properties are improved and the own weight reduced by maximising porosity.

Properties can be freely varied between these two mixes by adjusting

porosity within the defined limits. In this project, gradation included seven

steps to define trends and transitions of material properties. The characteristics

of hardened concrete can be correlated to porosity. Structural parameters

such as strength and rigidity decrease as the air void ratio increases,

whereas thermal properties are enhanced, including a decrease in thermal

conductivity λ (figure 1). Testing of hardened concrete parameters of these

mix designs confirmed this known dependency on bulk density.

Figure 1: Curves of hardened concrete characteristics depending on a gradual increase in porosity.

Production Processes for Components Made from Functionally

Graded Concrete

The homogeneous mix designs conceived in the first step were used to

develop production processes that enable a shift from "stepwise gradation"

to a virtually seamless pattern. Some of these methods are outlined in the

following sections of this paper.

Further tests with respect to concrete printing, controlled segregation, infiltration,

graded mixing, and production with reversible placeholders are

described in the final report published for the "Gradientenwerkstoffe im Bau-


wesen" ("Functionally Graded Materials in Construction Engineering") project

(Heinz et al., 2011).

Layered Casting

This method allocates the individual available mixes to various areas within

the element so as to meet the respective specifications. The number and

thickness of layers and the mix design variation from one layer to the next

make it possible to control the discontinuities in the material characteristics

that occur at the interfaces of the component layers. The properties of the

individual layers can be managed with pinpoint precision by selecting the

most appropriate concrete mix. The wet-in-wet casting process ensures a

firm bond of the layer boundaries thanks to a sufficiently fine resolution.

Figure 2 shows the production of a scaled beam from functionally graded

concrete for the four-point bending test using a reverse process. The beam

comprises three layers both in vertical and horizontal direction.

Figure 2: Production of a functionally graded concrete beam in a layered casting process.

Graded Spraying Technique

Compared to layered casting, the spraying method provides a number of

advantages. Whereas introducing compaction energy into cast graded concrete

elements may eliminate the previously defined controlled gradation,

the use of the spray technique to produce graded elements does not require

subsequent compaction because the concrete is compacted already upon

the impact. Application of the material in thin layers enables a fine resolution

and concrete placement on curved formwork. Furthermore, this process can

be automated and implemented both at the precast plant and on the construction

site (using large-scale robotics in the latter case).

The "Functionally Graded Materials in Construction Engineering" project included

the development of a graded spraying technique using two homogeneous,

pumpable concrete mixes. Gradation is established in the spray head

or spray mist by adding compressed air.

127 Functionally Graded Concrete

All Is Behaviour

Theo Spyropoulos

"A true architecture of our time will have to redefine itself and expand

its means. Many areas outside of traditional building will enter

the realm of architecture, as architecture and "architects" will have

to enter new fields. All are architects. Everything is architecture."

(Hollein, 1968, p.2)

There are no blueprints or master plans for our future, when science fiction

has become fact; architecture today has to move beyond representation and

the fixed and finite tendencies that declare what architecture should be and

work towards what it could be. Within these evolving territories new models

by necessity must conceptualise our ever evolving present and the uncertain

and latent world with which we operate within. The once comfortable

and understood orthodoxies in architectural thinking have proven limited in

their capacity to engage and address our contemporary condition. Today,

the intersections of information, life, and matter display complexities that

suggest the possibility of a deeper synthesis. As we live in ever-evolving

information-rich environments, the question is not why but how architecture

can actively participate.

Architecture in this expanded field of experimentation should be understood

beyond building, beyond materiality and the inert tendencies that conventionally

define it. Constructing a framework to explore architecture today

is complex with the unfortunate tendency to rely on other fields to give it

intellectual legitimacy or worse, defaulting to conservative models of the

past, which only reinforce habit. Architecture within this article is argued as

a means to interrogate the contemporary condition and to provide means

with which to operate within it. In a time when terms of reference are con-


tinuously in need of revisiting and language may be limited in expressing our

capacity to communicate with each other, design offers a way to understand


A Thought on the Multi-Material

György Kepes (1965, p.2) once proclaimed:

"In our new conceptual models of nature, the stable, solid world

of substance, which in the past was considered permanent and

preordained, is understood as widely dispersed fields of dynamic

energies. Matter—the tangible, visible, stable substance in the old

image of the physical world—is recast today as an invisible web of

nuclear events with orbiting electrons jumping from orbit to orbit."

The tendencies that once served to categorise the natural and the manmade

worlds have been rendered obsolete. When distinctions of the real

and artificial, human and non-human fail to offer insight, the challenge is how

best can we design for a latent and unknown world. Within this uncertainty,

new conceptual terrains emerge that raise questions of agency and intelligence.

Hans Hollein's provocative 1968 contribution in the journal Bau titled

Alles ist Architektur (Everything is Architecture) may offer some insight when

he stated, "Man creates artificial conditions. This is architecture. Physically

and psychically man repeats, transforms, expands his physical and psychical

sphere." Within the context of this publication the question of "multi-materiality"

should be problematised, as the promise and power of its provocation

is in as much how we fundamentally rethink our conceptual apparatuses as

well as our means of production. Beyond printing technologies and fabrication

techniques that allow for material based manufacturing an opportunity

to reconceptualise high-resolution frameworks that are polyscalar and time

dependant are at play. It is the speculative capacity to invent and construct

alternative models that affords architecture its capacity to engage and make

things accessible, prototyping ideas as much as the host environments that

may play witness to them. The architecture model that I argue for is active,

anticipatory, and adaptive through continuous exchanges that are real time

and behaviour based. It would be through considering materiality as something

that is not inert and finite but that is life-like, evolving, and aware that

we can consider new relations with processes that constitute things. Materials

go through phase changes, have life cycles, and degrade. Could multimateriality

afford us a means to exploit these processes? If Hollein believed

"All is Architecture" today I would argue, "All is Behaviour."

149 All Is Behaviour


Martyn Amos, is Professor of Novel Computation at Manchester

Metropolitan University. His research encompasses complexity, natureinspired

computing and synthetic biology. He is the author of Genesis Machines:

The New Science of Biocomputing, and co-editor of Beta-Life, a

new collection of "science into fiction" stories centred on artificial life.

Rachel Armstrong, is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the

Department of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University.

She is also a 2010 Senior TED Fellow establishing an alternative approach

to sustainability that uses the computational properties of the natural world

to develop a twenty-first century production platform for the built environment,

which she calls "living" architecture.

Stefan Bassing, studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

In 2012, as a scholar of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

He continued his research at the Bartlett GAD focusing on contemporary

design methodologies involving computation and object-orientated

research. He is currently a unit tutor at GAD and a designer for Zaha Hadid


Francis Bitonti, uses computational methodologies and smart

materials to create new aesthetic languages for the built environment. His

work has been published internationally in institutions including the Cooper-

Hewitt Smithsonian Museum and most recently has garnered media coverage

for his 3D printed gown for fashion icon Dita von Teese. He lives in New

York where he runs his design practice.

Roberto Bottazzi, is an architect, researcher, and educator based in

London. He runs UD Research Cluster 14 at the Bartlett and a Master Studio

at the University of Westminster. He has previously taught at the Royal

College of Art and studied in Canada and Italy. His research analyses the

impact of digital technologies on architecture and urbanism through both

practical and theoretical works. His coming book Digital Architecture beyond

Computers: Fragments of a Cultural History of Computational Design will be

published by Bloomsbury in 2017.

Kostas Grigoriadis, holds a Master in Architecture and Urbanism

degree from the Architectural Association's Design Research Laboratory.

He has been a Diploma Unit Master at the AA since 2011 and an External


Examiner in Architecture at the University of East London since August

2015. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Architecture by Project at the Royal

College of Art in London that focuses on multi-material design methodologies.

He has previously worked at Foster and Partners and held a Visiting

Lectureship at the RCA.

Graham Harman, is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the

Southern California Institute of Architecture (on leave from the American

University in Cairo). He is the author of more than a dozen books, most recently

Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory.

Michael Herrmann, studied civil engineering at the University of

Stuttgart and the University of Calgary. Between 2007 and 2009, he was

structural engineer at Werner Sobek Stuttgart and from 2009 until 2015 he

has been engaged as a research associate at ILEK in the University of Stuttgart.

His work focuses on functionally graded concrete and energy efficient

construction. In 2012 he co-founded str.ucture GmbH, an engineering company

committed to the development of innovative lightweight solutions.

Alvin Huang, AIA is the Founder and Design Principal of Synthesis

Design + Architecture. He is an award-winning architect, designer, and

educator specializing in the integrated application of material performance,

emergent design technologies and digital fabrication in contemporary architectural

practice. His wide ranging international experience includes significant

projects of all scales ranging from hi-rise towers and mixed-use

developments to bespoke furnishings.

Lambros Malafouris, MPhil, PhD (Cambridge) is a Research and

Teaching Fellow in Creativity, Cognition, and Material Culture at Keble College

and the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. His primary research

interests lie in the archaeology of mind and the philosophy of material

culture. His publications include How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory

of Material Engagement (2013) and Material Agency: Towards a Non- Anthropocentric

Approach (2008) among others.

Panagiotis Michalatos, is an architect and lecturer in architecture

at Harvard GSD. He has worked as a computational design researcher for

AKT in London, where, he provided consultancy and developed computational

solutions for high profile projects. Panagiotis has also worked as a

performance space interaction designer in a long-lasting collaboration with

dance company CCAP.

Andrew Payne, is an architect and Senior Building Information

Specialist at Case-Inc. He holds a doctoral degree from Harvard's GSD and

a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. Andrew's research

153 Biographies

focuses on smart buildings, robotics and 3D printing. He has lectured and

taught workshops at institutions throughout the US, Canada, and Europe

and has held teaching positions at Columbia University and the Pratt Institute.

Daniel Richards, is a Lecturer in Data Prototyping and Visualisation

at Lancaster University. His research combines design, unconventional

computing, and digital fabrication to explore the future of manufacturing.

His on-going work focuses on generative design for additive manufacturing

and new ways of making complex structures with finely tuned physical


Werner Sobek, is an architect and consulting engineer and heads

the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design. From 2008

to 2014 he was Mies van der Rohe Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology

in Chicago and guest lecturer at numerous universities in Germany,

Singapore and the US among others. In 1992, he founded the Werner Sobek

Group, offering premium consultancy services for architecture, structures,

facades and sustainability.

Theodore Spyropoulos, is an architect and educator. He directs

the innovative architecture and design studio Minimaforms and is the Director

of the Architectural Association's world renowned Design Research Lab

(AADRL) in London. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at MIT's Center

for Advanced Visual Studies and co-founded the New Media and Information

Research initiative at the AA. He has taught in the graduate school of

the UPENN and the Royal College of Art, Innovation Design Engineering


Brett Steele, directs the Architectural Association School of Architecture

and has taught and lectured at schools throughout the world. Brett

is a frequent writer, lecturer and critic, and his interests include the history of

modern architectural education and cultural communication, and the impact

of new media, information economies and networked design technologies.

Alexandros Tsamis, is a trained architect, currently an Associate

Professor and Head of the Post Professional Graduate Program in the

School of Design at Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago, Chile. He holds a

Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from AUTh in Greece, a SMArchS

(Building Technology) and a PhD (Computation) from the MIT Department

of Architecture. Previously, Tsamis has been a lecturer at MIT and faculty at

The Ohio State University.


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