P2C – Anders Rustin

Performance-driven design has been the primary focus of our projects this semester. Neri Oxman said that ‘performance driven design views design as more than a purely aesthetic pursuit but as a holistic  process that drives tangible environmental, economic, and social benefits through innovation and creativity.’ Performance driven design is not the robbing of the creative iterations, but a means to more and more complex iterations. Where our previous designs have had aesthetic or superfluous design reasoning, computational design gives an incredible driver to our process. A way to forecast design and the environment based on what we know, and the algorithms we instruct the program to use.

I tried to keep this idea in mind while I was creating my designs this entire quarter. When working on project one, I thought about fabric design not as a limitation but a new way to become creative. Fabric is smooth, collapsable, stretchy, and flowing. So why not create drivers that help facilitate this behavior? I designed a large sweeping wall that was filled with numerous hexagon windows in which fabric could be stretched to block or allow sunlight into the southern facade of my hotel building. This creates a welcoming and special space (which came from my design ideas, not necessarily from the program itself) inbetween the building and the wall itself. I noticed during design that while computational design is often seen as non-organic, algorithms applied to the design can actually produce very organic, nature-logical designs and iterations for increased beauty and functionality.

This concept came into play a lot in my second project, where we began iterations of city generation based on grids, zones, and the environment. I realized that I could use this design method to produce a mountain-esq city profile to mimic and complement the real mountain right next door. I was able to implement a traditional chinese symbol, the yin-yang, into my design to help generate zones and streets that follow along the curves of the overlaid symbols.

Within the Data Driven Trasmutation paper, it is stated that ‘ Traditional method [of design] is deficient because: (1) the method may include simplified assumptions based on rules-of-thumb that may be inaccurate; and (2) the method may not provide performance measurement/evaluation of a certain design solution. This seems to imply that traditional design has no place within computational performance, but the data driven process actually helps augment and assist the traditional design processes. This can easily be seen in Zaha Hadid’s project ‘Edifici Torre Espiral.’ The original design is simply a group of curves swirling in and out, but through computational assistance and evaluation an entire logical, beautiful building is produced that still has the same feeling and design intent of the sketches that created it.

While not always being a main driver, in an industry dominated by 3D modeling, it is essential to use data-driven design to evaluate and enhance your building designs. With it, designs are tighter, more coherent, realistic, and yet still fantastical. Computation design can take architecture design away from the ‘build a box’ process and into new forms of structure and egress.

Data Driven Transmutation
City Generator: GIS Driven Genetic Evolution in Urban Simulation
Performance Driven Design


  1. Your discussion on manipulation drivers to generate form based on material, grids, zones, and environment interests me. I agree with idea that one must understand and visualize a final product before applying parametric simulations, using the simulations as logic in achieving the final result. What were some specific examples of the drivers used in your projects to create the solutions you were hoping to achieve?

  2. Anders Rustin

    Trey, I derived form and function, and then used parametrics to refine this idea. My hotel design is completely manual, but the pathways and solar consideration were all driven by computational processes. My drivers are based on feeling or experience, such as the shifting hotel levels, or the space between the building and the skin itself. Knowing these are important, I was able to make data-driven decisions to help reinforce this.

  3. I think it could be a strong visual to see your initial idea + simulation results = and adapted iteration on your original form. Or possibly see how the simulation can begin to vary and influence your final product in a variety of ways.