Rule-based rationalization of form: learning by computational making

  • Sevil YaziciEmail author


Digital design and fabrication tools obtain constraints affecting creativity in conceptual design phase. There is a necessity to have a better understanding of issues related to the rationalization process of form, material and fabrication. The objective of this paper is to integrate analogue craft into architectural design studio that can be applicable into various educational setups, in order to increase the algorithmic thinking skills of students, before giving tutorials on the software tools and digital fabrication techniques. The Rule-based Rationalization of Form (RRF) was implemented as a task for a mobile unit design through computational making. The research methodology of RRF consists of four stages, including specifying the design constraints and the rules; the design of the components and the overall form; making the large-scale mock-up; and process evaluation. It was implemented to the second year undergraduate architectural design studios from Fall 2014 to 2016. The data were collected by the process analysis and questionnaire applied to the participants. The output studies were grouped in three, as Modular, Folding and Biomimetic design systems, based on the geometrical characteristics and organizational principles applied in the process. In the light of research objective, algorithmic thinking skills of students were developed through analogue craft, as well as participants obtained a better understanding of issues related to the rationalization process of form, material and fabrication, by testing relationships between the geometry, tools and the materials.


Rationalization of form Computational design Architectural design Design education Prototypes 



The studies were undertaken at Ozyegin University Faculty of Architecture and Design in Istanbul from Fall 2014 to Fall 2016. The student names of the featured work are Asem Sallam, Elif Kaya, Yaren Aslan, Ayse Ozlem Dal, Eda Fer, Ece Tunca, Didem Bozdemir, Ipek Duysak, Ecem Taskin, Tugce Caner, Egenur Corlu, Ecenur Corlu, Sena Ozgurcan, Enis Tan Ulman, Edanur Ozbayraktar, Atilla Mert Cukaci and Asli Suberker.


  1. Alberti, L. B. (1988). On the art of building in ten books. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Attar, R., Aish, R., Stam, J., Brinsmead, D., Tessier, A., Gluek, M., et al. (2010). Embedded rationality: A unified simulation framework for interactive form finding. International Journal of Architectural Computing, 8(4), 399–418.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, L. (2009). Air supported membrane structure applications for large-scale disaster response shelters. International Journal of Space Structures, 24(4), 233–236.Google Scholar
  4. Boza, L. E. (2006). (Un)Intended discoveries: Crafting the design process. Journal of Architectural Education, 60, 4–7.Google Scholar
  5. Brugnaro, G., Baharlou, E., Vasey, L., & Menges, A. (2016) Robotic softness: An adaptive robotic fabrication process for woven structures. In: 36th the association for computer aided design in architecture (ACADIA) conference proceedings, Ann Arbor (pp. 154–163).Google Scholar
  6. Celani, G. (2012). Digital fabrication laboratories: Pedagogy and impacts on architectural education. Nexus Network Journal, 14(3), 469–482.Google Scholar
  7. Cennamo, C., Cennamo, G. M., & Chiaia, B. M. (2012). Robustness-oriented design of a panel-based shelter system in critical sites. Journal of Architectural Engineering, 18(2), 123–139.Google Scholar
  8. Chiarella, M., & Alvarado, R. G. (2015). Folded compositions in architecture: Spatial properties and materials. Nexus Network Journal, 17, 623–639.Google Scholar
  9. Cross, N. (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221–227.Google Scholar
  10. Cuff, D. (1991). Architecture: The story of practice. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Datta, S., Sharman, M., & Chang, T. (2016). Computation and fabrication of scaled large-scale mockups. Automation in Construction, 72, 26–32.Google Scholar
  12. Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York: Touchstone. (first published in 1938).Google Scholar
  13. El-Zanfaly, D. (2015). Imitation, iteration and improvisation: Embodied interaction in making and learning. Design Studies, 41, 79–109.Google Scholar
  14. Fischer, T. (2007). Enablement or restriction? In 12th international aided architectural design futures conference. Sydney (pp. 585–598).Google Scholar
  15. Harris, J. (2016). On the buses: Mobile architecture in Australia and the UK, 1973–75. Architectural Histories, 4(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
  16. Holzer, D., & Downing, S. (2008) The role of architectural geometry in performance-orientated design. In Proceedings of advances in architectural geometry, Vienna (pp. 99–102).Google Scholar
  17. Jordan, T. P. (2012). Digital craft: Refabricating digital to analog design methodologies. Master thesis. University of Cincinnati.Google Scholar
  18. Karppinen, S., Kallunki, V., & Komulainen, K. (2017). Interdisciplinary craft designing and invention pedagogy in teacher education: student teachers creating smart textiles. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 29, 1–18.Google Scholar
  19. Knight, T., & Stiny, G. (2015). Making grammars: From computing with shapes to computing with things. Design Studies, 41(Part A), 8–28.Google Scholar
  20. Knight, T., & Vardouli, T. (2015). Computational making. Design Studies, 41(Part A), 1–7.Google Scholar
  21. Kolarevic, B. (2008). The (risky) craft of digital making. In B. Kolarevic & K. Klinger (Eds.), Manufacturing material effects: Rethinking design and making in architecture (pp. 119–128). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  23. Krieg, O. D., Mihaylov, B., Schwinn, T., Reichert, S., & Menges, A. (2012). Computational design of robotically manufactured plate structures based on biomimetic design principles derived from clypeasteroida, digital physicality. In 30th education and research in computer aided architectural design in europe (eCAADe) conference proceedings (pp. 531–540). Prague.Google Scholar
  24. Kronenburg, R. (2002). Preface by Robert Kronenburg. In J. Siegal (Ed.), Mobile: The art of portable architecture (pp. 12–15). New York: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kvan, T., Mark, E., Oxman R., & Martens, B. (2004). Ditching the dinosaur: Redefining the role of digital media in education. International Journal of Design Computing, 7.Google Scholar
  26. Loh, P., Burry, J., & Wagenfeld, M. (2016). Reconsidering Pye’s theory of making through digital craft practice: A theoretical framework towards continuous designing. Craft Research, 7(2), 187–206.Google Scholar
  27. Lyon, A., & Garcia, R. (2011). Interlocking, ribbing and folding: Explorations in parametric constructions. Nexus Network Journal, 13(1), 221–234.Google Scholar
  28. Marda, N. (1997). ‘Visual design thinking’ Stoa, European Association for Architectural Education No. 2, November.Google Scholar
  29. Mark, E., Martens, B., & Oxman, R. (2003). Preliminary stages of CAAD education. Automation in Construction, 12(6), 661–670.Google Scholar
  30. McCullough, M. (1996). Abstracting craft: The practiced digital hand. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  31. Megahed, N. A. (2013). Towards math-based architectural education in egyptian engineering faculties. Nexus Network Journal, 15(3), 565–581.Google Scholar
  32. Moholy-Nagy, L. (2005). The new vision: Fundamentals of bauhaus design, painting, sculpture, and architecture. Mineola: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  33. Oxman, R. (1999). Educating the designerly thinker. Design Studies, 20, 105–122.Google Scholar
  34. Oxman, R. (2004). Think-maps: teaching design thinking in design education. Design Studies, 25, 63–91.Google Scholar
  35. Oxman, R. (2017). Thinking difference: Theories and models of parametric design thinking. Design Studies, 52(2017), 4–39.Google Scholar
  36. Ozkar, M. (2007). Learning by doing in the age of design computation. In Proceedings of the 12th international conference on computer aided architectural design futures (pp. 99–112).Google Scholar
  37. Paio, A., Eloy, S., Rato, V. M., Resende, R., & Oliveira, M. J. (2012). Prototyping vitruvius, new challenges: Digital education, research and practice. Nexus Network Journal, 14(3), 409–429.Google Scholar
  38. Pottmann, H., Schiftner, A., & Wallner, J. (2008). Geometry of architectural freeform structures. Internationale Mathematische Nachrichten, 209, 15–28.Google Scholar
  39. Pye, D. (1978). The nature and art of craftmanship. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Roke, R. (2010). Bits and pieces: Crafting architecture in a post-digital age. Master thesis. RMIT.Google Scholar
  41. Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  42. Schon, D. A. (1988). Designing: Rules, types and worlds. Design Studies, 9, 181–190.Google Scholar
  43. Schon, D. A., & Wiggins, G. (1992). Kinds of seeing and their functions in designing. Design Studies, 13, 135–156.Google Scholar
  44. Siegal, J. (2002). In J. Siegal (Ed.), Mobile: The art of portable architecture (pp. 16–27). New York: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  45. Simon, H. A. (1996). The sciences of the artificial. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  46. Stiny, G. (1980). Kindergarten grammars: Designing with Froebel’s gifts. Environment and Planning B, 7, 409–462.Google Scholar
  47. Stiny, G. (2011). What rule(s) should I use? Nexus Network Journal, 13(1), 15–47.Google Scholar
  48. Terzidis, K. (2006). Algorithmic architecture. Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  49. Yazici, S. (2011). Computing through holistic systems design method: Material formations workshop. Dearq Journal of Architecture, 9, 90–101.Google Scholar
  50. Zaman, C. H., Ozkar, M., & Cagdas, G. (2011). Towards hands-on computing in design: An analysis of the haptic dimension of model making. METU Journal of Architecture, 28(2), 209–226.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture and DesignOzyegin UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations