Second Session continues (Defne Sunguroglu Hensel)

Defne Sunguroglu is the last presenter today with a talk titled “Adaptive Design in Biology and Architecture.”

She is echoing some of Michael Hensel’s closing comments about need for collaboration between fields and disciplines, especially when data goals are similar.

So, here we are in the anthropocene…. ecological markers have shown that human intervention has caused widespread and irreversible changes in the climate.

“Adaptive design” is the evolutionary principle that helps us to understand these movements through geological time periods.

Why not try to define architecture in these terms? What about material systems that adapt to environment.

The typical adaptation in design configuration:

MATERIAL is adapted to DESIGN is adapted to ENVIRONMENT


ENVIRONMENT is adapted to DESIGN is adapted to MATERIAL

“similarity between two species tells us to look for ENVIRONMENTAL conditions.” — Waddington’s epigenetic model shows us the only possible routes for a phenotype to “travel.”

For example, when looking at sea snail shells, you will see adaptation in form and thickness that models the presence of crawfish predators.

An attempt to realise this logic / thinking process is the “nested catenaries” project.

In the same way of thinking, the work of Eliado Dieste displays environmental logic and preconditions for the material brick.

Likewise, environmental analysis of an ottomak kiosk showed that not only did the second canopy create shade, but it created turbulence that allowed the air movement to cool users.

It seems that the understanding of this relation between the physical, environmental (recalling, again, Michael Hensel’s ‘feedback loop’ characterization of architecture) and performance led to experiments with the catenary form in brick–built in full-scale at Ritoque, Chile, with students. These nested catenary forms have withstood several earthquakes without cracking.

“Above all, what I want to stress is that the information we are working with is growing…. we are beginning to build a model of convergence thinking and material ontology.”

1st session continues (Dr. Nimish Biloria)

Dr. Biloria is going to introduce us to a recent strand of investigation called “info-Matter” that he has been exploring at the Hyperbody research group at TUDelft.

This will cover basically two topics:

1. data driven, performance-based architecture

2. interactive architecture

“interactive computing establishes bi-directional communication between people, activity, context and technology.” some of the implications of this communication include structures that “respond” to the position and movement of the body, robots that interact socially, etc.


Data driven, performance-based architecture takes information available in the environment and informs the architectural solution. For example, tracking and recording data about solar exposure, humidity, and other environmental factors, openings in a building envelope can be “tuned” to the intention of the designers to provide particular conditions of light.

Another example records movements of vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles to create a circulation strategy that accommodates speed and intensity of the flow of these agents.

Yet another example simulates air movement in order to optimize the channeling of air towards electrical power generating turbines and distributing lower-velocity air to users of the space.

check the journal “Next Generation Building” co-edited by Dr. Biloria here.

1st Session is underway (Toni Kotnik)

Dr. Sema Alacam opened the first session with her remarks on the contributions of Dr. Biloria and Dr. Kotnik to the understanding of the relationship between technology and thinking about structure and form, as well as the direct influence they have had on her own work.

First up is Dr. Kotnik. He discussed the introduction of the analytical “tool” of mathematics that has introduced itself into design thinking and practice. It takes the form of scripting, analysis, formal and geometric description, etc. and he claims introduced an “engineering approach” into architectural practice applied into “form finding” and leading to a “typological fixation.”

Asking “what is mathematics?” Dr. Kotnik says that HUMANS make order, and he give us this quote from Heidegger:

“this genuine learning is an extremely peculiar taking, a taking where on who takes only takes what one basically already has…. The mathemata, the mathematical is that “about” things which we already know. Therefore we do not first get it out of things, but, in a certain way, we bring it with us.”

This leads him to conclude that there is a perceptual dimension to the description of things through mathematics, and to his interest in thinking about how to merge these two areas of mathematical relations and the question of perception.

We can start to look at the “parametric variation” computational tools have given us from an architectural point of view, with the help of the perceptual understanding of architectural phenomena such as “openness” “flow” “connectedness” etc.

These ideas were explored with students, beginning with the analysis of compositions that have different character such as “contained” vs. “un-contained” space, and using geometry and geometric rules to read spatial conditions FROM the form.

Students end up generating structure and material systems that seem to develop from “just a couple of lines.”

“Architects and engineers both claim to be designers, though now they define design and the approaches they use to realize it vary widely.”

precision -> principle
typology ->
computability ->
correct -> right


Welcome, everyone. After some brief remarks recognizing the esteemed guests and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Architecture at IEU by our dean, Prof. Dr. Ender Yazgan Bulgun, Department Head, Asst. Prof. Dr. Bahar Durmaz Drinkwater outlined the general aims of the symposium series and the departmental aims.

Of course, there are many thanks to be given and shared.

Guzden Hoca is giving the brief history of the Trans_Arch_Edu series, which began in 2015 with a group of experienced educators as well as innovators in education.

Each panel has been associated with a workshop.

Guzden Hoca is now quoting from the challenge statement issued by Nilufer Kozikoglu:

“Students teaching students as in the Ecole des Beaux Arts, atelier and making-based learning as in the Bauhaus, learning from practice with invited tutors as in the tradition of the AA, we are witnessing architectural education as a “practice” that reinvents itself, its tools and methods.”

TAE_03…. almost ready!

We are about to get underway at the third installment of our “Transformations in Architectural Education” Colloquium series. We are so happy to welcome Toni Kotnik, Nimish Biloria, Defne Suguroglu, and Michael Hensel for the event. Nilufer Kozikoglu and Sema Alacam are also with us for the event.

The first session will comprise Mr. Biloria and Mr. Kotnik in a panel moderated by Sema Alacam, beginning at 13:30.

The second session with Mr. Hensel and Ms. Sunguroglu is set to begin at 15:00

Gülce Özmen gives an Architecture Student’s Perspective

Gülce Özmen is a student of architecture at Izmir University of Economics. She is also an active voice in the Izmir Cut|Paper community.

Ms. Özmen is recounting her experience at a forum of architectural students in Istanbul. The attendees identified challenges faced by students of architecture, such as:

intensity of education; grade worries; comparisons with educational systems abroad; lack of support; and apathy.

Ms. Özmen says that students are able to counteract these negative effects through organization and active involvement. She is giving some examples from her experience with the Cut|Paper community.

Many students are concerned about the relationship between computation and design, especially with regard to scripting tools that are applied, but not understood. Students especially want to understand the theoretical bases for these techniques.

Cansu Günaydın on Generational Changes in Architectural Understanding

Cansu Günaydın is an alumnus of Izmir University of Economics (Dept. of Architecture, 2011)

Ms. Günaydın would like to encourage different types of explorations in architectural education such as:

Technique- analysis and fabrication techniques can be assisted by technology
Materials- knowledge and use is limited to materials developed in the 20th century. Students should be encouraged to explore newer materials and construction techniques.

Even with regard to model-making, the models can be explorations of ideas, rather than representations of preconceived solutions.

Müge Halıcı on Student-Based Workshops

The afternoon session of TRANS_ARCH_EDU_02 is underway. After a welcome from session chair, Dr. Ethem Gürer, Müge Halıcı,  a researcher at Istanbul Technical University is the first to address the group.

Müge is explaining the TRANS_ARCH_EDU workshop series, the second of which was conducted yesterday at Izmir University of Economics. In the previous workshop, second-year design students were introduced to the scripting tool, Grasshopper, and shown computational techniques analyze surfaces and then to produce them using computer numerically controlled fabrication (laser cutting.)

The surfaces were originally generated based on knowledge about magnetic field behaviors.


Dr. Sema Alaçam on Concept and Communication in Design

Dr. Alaçam is an Assistant Professor at Istanbul Technical University and also lectures at Izmir University of Economics. She is researching the way that communication occurs in design, both in the finished work and in the process.

Design communication is about the relationship between abstract expression and concrete experience. There is a way of “bridging” between the concept and experience which is aided by investigative techniques, using both analog and digital forms.

She showed some examples of this process on her Izmir University of Economics “computing and making” course blog.

According to Dr. Alaçam, curiosity makes the difference in establishing effective learning scenarios.

Dr. Ahu Sökmenoğlu on Urban Analytics

  Next up is Dr. Ahu Sökmenoğlu, also from Istanbul Technical University.


Dr. Sökmenoğlu is outlining the role of data mining in current trends in urban analysis. This data comes from GIS databases, but also from live data collecting such as traffic signal operations. The collection and analysis of this data shows potentials for improving life in cities.

Her own PhD research focused on the Beyoğlu Preservation area in Istanbul in creating an analytical model for understanding building characteristics and their influences in terms of ground-floor use patterns, site occupation, size, etc. Such models can support better urban decision making. Evolutionary algorithms test the “fitness” of solutions to the surrounding area.

The streets ore project at MIT uses image mining techniques to assess people’s perceptions of street safety and map that data onto neighborhoods.


The crucial issue for design is the “post-processing” of the mined database. How can architects draw conclusions from data sets and set directions for cities and peacemaking? Dr. Sökmenoğlu believes a new generation at data mining expert/architects is required.