Computation & Performance


Interactive Wall developed by Hyperbody, Delft University of Technology in collaboration with Festo

The developments in architecture, building design and the built environment are driven by attempts to achieve step changes in performance. The most important way to attain this is to develop innovative computational tools, techniques and methods in the design, manufacturing and construction process.

The Computation & Performance research programme improves the design and performance of buildings and the built environment through scientific inquiry into novel ways of conceptualizing, evaluating and influencing building performance using computational methods for open design systems, measurement, prediction and simulation of the performances of buildings and built environments, form finding, design generation and analysis, information modelling, decision making and design communication. Performance in this context refers to technical performance as well as qualitative performance — which deals with both hard and soft aspects of architectural & building design and the built environment.

Societal/scientific quality and relevance of the research

In recent years there has been a clear change in perspective on the efficiency of the built environment, driven by the appreciation that resources of materials and energy are not endless and that the environmental performance of the built environment should be improved drastically. This has reinforced the observation that many facilities comprising the built environment – particularly offices, residences and various public-building types – underperform. ‘Performance’ in this context denotes the ability of buildings to meet technical and non-technical requirements (e.g. physical as well as non-physical, hard and soft aspects) imposed upon them by their owners, users and society at large.

Societal challenges:

  • To apply the understanding of performance and quality to the computational design process, so as to plan, construct and operate buildings whose reality meets or exceeds the aspirations that motivated their production.
  • To develop design, communication and decisionmaking practices, and their computational support, that enable stakeholders to effectively apply the understanding of building performance and quality in an informed and balanced way so as to achieve mutually acceptable outcomes.

Scientific challenges:

  • To define building performance and quality, and to develop the computational means to assess in design the many various aspects that constitute them in a loop of form finding, performance evaluation and optimization.
  • To continually re-examine the relations between performance/quality, function, materials, systems, society and architectural form within an investigation of computationally enhanced holistic design strategies.

The Computation and Performance group plays a prominent role internationally in the area of computational design research and its application to performative architecture in practice.

More about this programme

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