Lecture by Paul Nicholas – “What does it mean to make an experiment?”

Paul Nicholas lectures within the interdisciplinary Project – “What does it mean to make an experiment?”

“What does it mean to make an experiment?”:
“What does it mean to make an experiment?” is a two-year interdisciplinary research project instigating new collaborations between the schools of architecture and design and aims to establish a common platform for practice based research.
Members of the Centre for IT and Architecture (CITA), the SuperFormLab and the Department of Textiles investigate the position, role and significance of the experiment within design led research. In architecture and design the experiment is a particular mode of exploring the multiple and heterogeneous intersections that emerge from social, conceptual, technological, material and cultural contexts in which it is sited. With a strong focus on computation, material and form it assembles a research team that aims to develop a new understanding of the role of the experiment in knowledge production.
The project is structured around three interdisciplinary experiments that pursue well-grounded research at Post-Doc level. The three experiments act as research probes and hold each their particular digital-material relation exploring the ways in which digital technologies are radically expanding our material processes and techniques. The three probes are used as case studies for the larger research investigation providing in-situ evidence of method, material and practice.
Intersections between the 3 experiments are facilitated through full-day seminar presentations and evaluation with the participation of national and international experts. The project concludes in a publication, symposium and exhibition showcasing the design processes and experimental results.

Paul Nicholas:
Paul Nicholas holds a PhD in Architecture from RMIT University, Melbourne Australia, and joined the Center for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) as an adjunct professor in 2011. Paul’s particular interest is in computational approaches that support interdependent design and thinking by establishing new and different links between architecture and other fields. Having previously worked at Arup Melbourne from 2005 and Edaw London from 2009, his current research explores the idea that composites, or designed materials, necessitate new relationships between material behaviour and digital representation. Paul co-founded the design practice mesne in 2005, and has exhibited in recent Beijing and Venice Biennales.

His books and thesis:

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Designing Material / Materialising Design

This book explores the idea that designed materials necessitate new relationships between material behaviour, specification and architectural representation. Designing Material Materialising Design focuses on the design of elastically tailored composite architectural structures. Emerging technologies around synthetic materials can now support the precise specification of materials and their properties. This book moves away from the concept of material as an unresisting receptacle for forms determined in advance to explore the architectural implications of synthetic materials and design methods for calibrated material behaviour. It includes case studies developed at the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen. Novel concepts and operational models are illustrated that specify and materialise causal relationships between configuration and transformation. These projects reveal a new locus of architectural instruction that require new kinds of design information, new representational models, and different modes of design control.

Thesis: Approaches to Interdependency

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