Principles and Methods of Bio Digital Design - AR853

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 7 30 (15) DR T Ireland checkmark-circle


This module will introduce students to thinking about form and spatial organisation as a bottom-up process and give students an introduction to the use of the computer as a tool to model generatively. Students will be introduced to a series of concepts and theoretical positions to anchor their outlook, facilitate engagement with the computational logic of the programme, develop their understanding of key concepts and ideas to support and further their design thinking, and develop their understanding of the role and application of computing in and for architectural design.
The module consists of a blend of lectures, seminars and workshops. Concepts and theories fundamental to the programme are presented in lectures and seminars, which are married with workshop sessions in which students are introduced to computer modelling methods that demonstrate the theory. Workshops will be studio based to emphasise a design ethos and promote exchange between theory, demonstration and application. Students will be required to adapt a method presented towards the generation of architectural space and form.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

36 hours

Method of assessment

Presentation (20%) (20mins)
Report (80%) (3000-5000 words)

Indicative reading

Ball, P. (2017). Patterns in Nature: Why the Natural World Looks the Way it Does. University of Chicago Press.
Burry, M. (2011). Scripting Cultures: Architectural Design and Programming. John Wiley & Sons.
Coates, P. (2010). programming.architecture. Routledge, London.
Resnick, M. (1998). Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Jabi, W. (2014). Parametric Design for Architecture. Laurence King Publishing, London.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 A comprehensive understanding of principal concepts underpinning generative modelling methods.
8.2 A comprehensive understanding and awareness of systems-oriented thinking and its application to architectural/design problems.
8.3 A detailed understanding of dynamic systems and how to model them.
8.4 A thorough ability to use computers to explore configurations of form and space.
8.5 An ability to critically reflect on bottom-up versus top-down design thinking and processes.
8.6 An ability to use generative modelling software and demonstrate a critical understanding of concepts underpinning generative modelling techniques.

9.1 A comprehensive understanding of the idea of "laws of form" and how generative processes can be used to explore architectural design.
9.2 An ability to assess relevance between concepts and methods and to apply this knowledge practically using and adapting generative design techniques.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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