Architecture

Studio One 2017-2018

Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication

Studio One Bio-Inspired Samples

Bio-inspired imagagery from the Studio One Program

Studio One Cover Photo 2017-2018 program

 

Studio One is a one-year post-professional program for students with an accredited Bachelor of Architecture degree. A two-semester studio course makes up the core of the program intended for those interested in exploring innovative and experimental design issues through a research-oriented and multidisciplinary approach. It is supplemented by seminars, lectures, and workshops in architectural design, engineering, and natural sciences with the opportunity to take electives at the College of Environmental Design. Students who complete the program will receive a post-professional Master of Architecture degree.

Building on the positive experience of the previous year, Studio One will once again have the theme Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication and be directed by Assistant Professor Simon Schleicher. The goal of the studio is to pioneer a new design approach that arises from knowledge and experience of multiple disciplines and to deepen our newly established collaborations with academic and industry partners. Studio One seeks to forge interdisciplinary and cross-professional alliances to provoke a novel design paradigm based on the integration of multifaceted methodologies and informed processes. The main focus in this respect will be on re-examining and merging the areas of biomimetics, computational design, structural analysis, material-based fabrication and construction.

The studio will follow an inquiry-oriented, experiment-based, and project-driven research agenda. Based on an intensive, critical, and analytical approach to cutting-edge design and construction methods, the studio aims to go one step further by taking inspiration from flexible and resilient structures found in nature. By closely investigating biological role models in the plant and insect world for their efficiency and adaptability and by abstracting their underlying construction principles into suitable architectural systems, the studio will challenge our present understanding with new bio-inspired fabrication and construction concepts. Studio One students will design and fabricate models and large-scale demonstrations that showcase the potential of biologically informed design concepts that anticipate a new foundation for lightweight, multifunctional, and sustainable architecture.

About Assistant Professor Simon Schleicher

Simon is an architectural designer, researcher, and educator from Germany. He is a member of a new research team Design Innovation from Nature.

Simon aims to transfer bending and folding mechanisms found in plant movements to elastic systems in architecture In his research on bio-inspired compliant mechanisms. He was project manager for the first ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010, which won the DETAIL prize and was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. With his work, Simon has won further awards including the Gips-Schüle-Forschungspreis, the International Bionic-Award, the Ralph Adam Cram Award, the Imre Halasz Thesis Prize, the British Institution Award, and the Pininfarina-Förderpreis. During his study, Simon was recipient of a Merit-Based Full-Tuition Scholarship at MIT and received grants from the DAAD and from the prestigious German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes).

Research Agenda

Building on last year's research, Studio One 2017-18 will once again focus on the topic of Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication and thereby venture out into the unchartered territory between architecture, engineering, and biology.  

The studio's main goal is to gain knowledge from the analysis of living systems to find solutions to problems, create new inventions and innovations, and transfer this knowledge to building and architectural systems. Even though nature cannot be directly copied, the living world can provide architects and engineers with a wealth of analogues and inspirations for their own creative designs. The basic motivation behind the transfer of biological solutions to technical applications is the assumption that optimized biological structures have been developed in the course of 3.8 billion years of evolution that could also be significant and convincing in technical development. Nature has numerous
“ingenious solutions” available that can often be understood intuitively. However, it is seldom easy to explain the underlying mechanism, and in particular to explain how these principles can be applied to technology. It is this discrepancy that makes the field of bio-inspired design and fabrication so relevant for the future.  

In order to shed light on this question, the studio seeks to forge new interdisciplinary alliances and cross-professional partnerships. Based on this framework, the studio will bridge the areas of biomimetics, computational design, structural analysis, material-based fabrication and construction. In studio, the students will follow an inquiry-oriented, experiment-based, and project-driven research agenda. Based on an intensive, critical, and analytical approach to cutting-edge design and construction methods, the studio aims to go one step further by taking inspiration from the flexible and resilient structures found in plants and insects. By closely investigating biological structures for their efficiency and adaptability as well as abstracting their underlying construction principles into suitable architectural systems, the studio will challenge our present understanding with new bio-inspired fabrication and construction concepts. 

In the program's first semester, the students will mainly work individually and in small groups. During the second semester, the students will join forces to push one idea into a bigger scale as a team. Over the course of the program, students will design and fabricate small-scale models, mid-sized prototypes, and large-scale demonstrations that showcase the potential of bio-inspired concepts and anticipate a new foundation for a lightweight, multifunctional, and sustainable architecture.  

Our Expanding Research Network

In the last few years, Studio One has built up a network with academic research institutions, laboratories, and professionals inside and outside the building industry. Current research partners at UC Berkeley include Professor Robert Full with his poly-PEDAL Laboratory at the Department of Integrative Biology as well as Professor Ronald Fearing and his Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Together with these partners, Studio One is participating in the newly formed, campus-wide research initiative called Design Innovation from Nature. As part of this initiative, our students have collaborated with museums and collections including the University and Jepson Herbaria, the Essig Museum of Entomology, and UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden. 

In recent field trips, Studio One students have reached out and visited inspirational offices, software developers, and manufacturers like Autodesk Pier9, Kreysler & Associates, and the Otherlab. Studio One has also found strong support from leading experts and professionals in the field of biomimetics and computational design and hosted guest lectures by Joanna Aizenberg, Jan Knippers, Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, Mitsuhiro Kanada, Julian Lienhard, Sean Ahlquist, David Stasiuk, Josh Zabel, Andrew Wit, Simon Poppinga, Andrei Nejur, Riccardo La Magna, Valentin Koslowski, Julia Körner, Sophie Pennetier, Steffen Reichert, Anders Holden Deleuran, Enrique Soriano, Pep Tornabel, Thiemo Fildhuth, Milos Dimcic, Jan Brütting, Maria Yablonina, and Laia Mogas-Soldevila.

Please visit the Design Innovation from Nature website for a list of upcoming lectures, field trips, and workshops.