Computational Design Techniques and Design Thinking

ITECH Seminar | 6 ECTS | Winter Semester 2023/24

M. Alvarez, M. Papadimitraki, L. Skoury, T. Schwinn, Prof. A. Menges (ICD)

"An algorithm is a finite sequence of explicit, elementary instructions described in an exact, complete yet general manner" 1 . The application and execution of algorithms on a computer happens through programming languages, which enable computing procedure. This is a fundamental property of computation as a technical achievement, but also as a theoretical framework for design. Computation has a profound impact on a contemporary understanding of architectural form, space and structure. It shifts the way one perceives form, the way in which form is purposed, and the way in which form is produced. The fundamental concepts which underlie computational theory and techniques expose form as a subsidiary component of environment, and environment as a complex web of influences.

This seminar will investigate the potentials of algorithmic procedures for architectural design. It will provide an opportunity for the students to enhance their knowledge of algorithms by developing practical scripting skills, understanding theoretically relevant aspects of form generation and exploring mathematical principles underlying patterns in the physical world. Based on the investigation of related mathematics, relatively simple algorithms will be developed to produce complex systems within an architectural context.

The seminar is taught in English. Basic knowledge of Rhino and Grasshopper is a necessary prerequisite for this course. Each participant will have access to the entire library of generated forms and Grasshopper definitions developed throughout the seminar.


Lectures will be delivered asynchronously through pre-recorded videos uploaded on ILIAS. We are planning with weekly in person sessions, which are dedicated to Q&A, troubleshooting and discussion of weekly assignments. In the worst case, these sessions will be hosted through Webex. All meetings will be recorded and made accessible to the class participants over ILIAS.


1 Ahlquist, S. and Menges, A., 2011, Computational Design Thinking. In Menges, A., Ahlquist, S. (eds.), Computational Design Thinking, John Wiley and Sons, London, pp. 10-29. (ISBN 978-0470665701)

09:45-12:15, room 9.06
First Meeting: 18.10.2021, 09:45

ITECH Module: 49770
Computational Design
Examination Number: 49771

Master Module: 47561
Computerbasiertes Entwerfen

[Photo: C. Carl, A. Zolfaghari, ITECH University of Stuttgart, 2023]



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