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An Adaptive Ecologies Workshop
Sep 2 - 6, 2014

EXPOn-tial, Adaptive Ecologies Portfolio:

// Abstract
Over recent decades the city of Dubai has experienced an unprecedented process of development and exponential growth, bursting from a small town into the metropolis we know today. This evolutionary capital-driven expansion, catapulted by a determined push to prosperity, ruled out the realization of a global and unified master plan. Dubai is now an icon of futurism and opulence. The modern setting of Dubai is, however, directly adjacent to the organic fabric of its old town, creating a striking contrast in behavior and locale. Whilst the old town expanded in an organic manner from the inside out, the new Dubai expansion is spreading in an orderly fashion from the outside in. This stark disparity between the two zones has resulted in a diversity of urban spaces.  The current growth is gradually getting integrated into the existing fabric of the city, filling scale gaps within the new region and its connection to the old one. Whether directed outward or inward, growth is a characterizing, unique element worth investigating in the urban design of Dubai. 

EXPOn-tial is an Advanced Grasshopper workshop aims to explore the potential of growth processes and assess their application in the development of an urban fabric. Natural growth processes share common traits such as being non-linear, rule-based, and iterative. Drawing a parallel between natural systems behavior and computer growth processes such as branching systems, diffusion limited aggregation and other rule-based processes, we will develop non-linear growth processes and will evaluate the spatial results and forms across a wide range of scales - from Material to Urban scale. Behavior of growth processes will depend largely on material properties as it will influence clustering and distribution across a terrain.  The system will develop by assessing their potential character on a basic level of organization first, then developing it to work on adaptation processes of autonomous, coherent objects on a variety of scales.

// Methodology
The five-day workshop program is set to introduce the participants to the principles of non-linear iterative processes such as Branching system and DLA (Diffusion Limited Aggregation), then apply these principles in the development of an urban fabric of a selected site in Dubai.

After spending three days exploring the tools, techniques, and working on selected growth techniques, we will apply the learned techniques to develop a rule-based growth system on a selected site in Dubai. System differentiation will be achieved in response to defined growth techniques and applied force- fields. The design exercise aims to explore urban patterns based on a feedback loop between relevant drives and the participant’s aesthetic sensibility. 

// Design Exercise
On the fourth day, participants will be divided into groups to develop their own concept. The groups will explore natural systems as a reference for their pattern’s growth behavior, and will investigate their potential in relation to the city ecosystem. The design intent will be guided away from the production of a single outcome, with a deeper focus on the process of generation and adaptation. As these processes are behavioral at their core, they allow information to organize into a coherent system able to produce heterogeneous spatial outcomes of increasing complexity from simple sets of basic rules. This systematic variety allows the designer to abandon the unit-based modernist scheme (the repetition of a standardized unit or cell), opening up the design space towards new potential forms of correlation between behavior-based spatial systems and urban ecosystems.

In addition to the technical part, the workshop will also include lectures on the subject by Alessio Erioli, Andrea Graziano, and Zayad Motlib. 

ll Daily schedule

.:. day 01
. introductory lecture
. GH recap: data tree basic & advanced operations (Path Mapper)

.:. day 02
. iterative logics
. introduction to Anemone
. walkers
. Branching system - basics
. Branching system with attractors

.:. day 03
. DLA (Diffusion Limited Aggregation)
. DLA with attractors
. isosurfaces

.:. day 04
. tutorized personal project development

.:. day 05
. project finalization
. final presentation
. certificate ceremony

// Software & skills:
Basic modeling skill in Rhino, and medium to advanced level in Grasshopper are required. Participants should bring their own laptop with pre-installed software (software download links will be given after subscription).

// Tutors:
Alessio Erioli- Co-de-iT (GH & design tutor).
Zayad Motlib - d-NAT (GH & design tutor).

// Venue:
The workshop will be held at:

Conference Room
Al-Majara Complex
Dubai Marina

// Calendar & Timetable:
The workshop will have the following timetable:

09:30 -18:30 lesson + tutoring
On the afternoon session of the sixth day, we will have a presentation and a crit review for all the developed projects. 

// Application:
To register please e-mail:

// Organized by:
This workshop is organized as a collaboration between d-NAT and Co-de-iT.