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Beyond Equilibrium: Sustainable Digital Design


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Booth, PC and Loo, S 2009 , 'Beyond Equilibrium: Sustainable Digital Design', paper presented at the AASA 2009: Sustainable Theory / Theorising Sustainability, 3-4 September 2009, School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


Implicit in current understandings of sustainability is the presence of a closed system with the capacity of equilibration. Sustainable practices, including design practices, are therefore assumed to possess a redemptive role: design is deployed (as environmentally sustainable design, etc.) to change habits, develop new technologies and recover marginalized practices in the hope of righting the balance between the environment and human endeavours.
Recent developments in experimental digital design have demonstrated non-linear and highly complex relations between topological transformations, material change, and the temporal dimension of forces. More importantly, this method of design is bottom-up, because it does not rely on design solutions presaged by conventions, or restricted by representation, but is emergent within the performance of computational design itself. We argue that digital design processes need to move beyond the flux of determinates and solutions in equilibrium, towards a radically continuous but consistent production, which is in effect, an expression of sustainable pedagogy.
The role of emergent digital techniques has significant impact on the methods in which computation is utilized within both practice and academic environments. This paper outlines a digital design studio on sustainability at the University of Tasmania, Australia that uses parametric modelling, digital performance testing, and topological morphology, concomitant with actual material fabrication, as a potent mode of collaborative design studio practice towards a sustainable design pedagogy.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Booth, PC and Loo, S
Keywords: Digital, Computation, Process, Morphogenesis, Pedagogy, Studio, Architecture, Fabrication, CNC
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