apomechanes is an intensive computational design studio held each summer in Athens, Greece. The studio is devoted to furthering techniques and concepts of algorithmic processes as means for design and fabrication. apomechanes brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields of study to discuss, exchange and collaborate on projects that investigate modes of algorithmic and machinic processes in architectural design.
apomechanes is derived from “ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός” [aˈpo mɛːkʰaˈnɛːs tʰeˈos] literally “god from the machine”, which is a plot device of ancient greek drama. In numerous tragedies, the poet would gradually steer the plot/myth to an inflection point at which the natural resolution of the conflict would be very difficult if not impossible. Then, an unexpected event in the form of an intervention of a god would take place and allow for the play to continue. The term “from the machine” was established due to the fact that the god would enter the stage with the help of a “machine” – a wooden crane on which he would appear floating from above.
With the completion of the second studio, which led to the exhibition and publication “apomechanes / non-linear computational design strategies, the summer studio of 2011 will open a new cycle of research, further devoted in the construction of architectural immersive environments. At present computational techniques are predominantly employed in the optimization, rationalization or surface decoration of more traditionally created wholes. This research instead focuses on the inherent potential of computation to generate space and of algorithmic procedures to engage self-organization in the design process. apomechanes 2011 introduces 3 parallel areas of research: immersive spatiotemporal media, feedback material systems and embodied computational ecologies. The studio operates as a design laboratory, investigating these areas at the scale of a temporary pavilion. Participants engage closely with computational processes in order to develop an aesthetic and intuition of complexity that resides in a balance between design intent and emergent character. During the summer studio, participants will create their own custom algorithms appropriate to the research trajectories of choice. apomechanes will follow up with a second phase of design development (and another workshop) towards the construction of the pavilion in the academic year of 2011/2012.
apomechanes 2011 will run primarily under python programming language for Rhinoceros 3D 5.0 BETA & Autodesk Maya. The application of python as the cross-software coding platform opens up a new set of possibilities for the development of cutting edge techniques of digital representation, abstract and spatial organization as well as intricate geometric precision for robotic fabrication. The apomechanes team will be one of the first workshops to test python for rhinoceros/maya in an intensive studio and will seek to produce innovative intersections between advanced explicit modeling and algorithmic logics. Pushing beyond the threshold of academic means and constrains of fabrication, the studio will speculate on the limits of computer aided construction methods for the temporary pavilion. Detailed syllabus of the studio will soon be announced.
EZIO BLASETTI is a registered architect TEE-TCG, holds a masters of science in advanced architectural design from Columbia University after having previously studied in Athens and Paris. In 2009 he co-founded ahylo, an architectural design, research and construction practice as well as “apomechanes”, an annual intensive summer studio on algorithmic processes and fabrication. Founder of algorithmicdesign.net Ezio is a partner at ahylo studio, and his recent collaborations include biothing, Acconci Studio and a|Um studio. His recent work as a project architect at Acconci Studio has received awards in international competitions – 2008 Annual Design Review I.D. / Perm Museum XXI / Kravi Hora Sculpture Park. He has taught generative design studios and seminars by means of computational geometry at Columbia University (with Ed Keller, Alisa Andrasek & Francois Roche), Pratt Institute, Rensselar Polytechnic Institute, Sciarc and the Architectural Association. In 2004 he co-founded otn studio, a young design-build practice and completed several projects in Greece. His work has been exhibited and published internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou (with biothing).
DANIEL WIDRIG is an artist, architect and designer living and working in London and Berlin. After graduating from the Architectural Association in London with a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urbanism he joined Zaha Hadid Architects where he was leading the designs of a series of critically acclaimed projects. Since setting up his own studios, his work has won several major awards such as the FEIDAD Merit Award, the Swiss Arts Award, the Autodesk Maya Masters Award and the Rome Prize. In 2009/2010 Daniel was Artist in Residence at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome. Daniel’s Projects have been internationally published and exhibited. Recent exhibitions include shows at Art Basel, Paris Fashion Week, Walter Gropius Bau Berlin and the V&A Victoria and Albert Museum in London.