Architecture stands at an inflection point. The confluence of advances in both computation and fabrication technologies lets us create an architecture of hitherto unimaginable forms, with an unseen level of detail, producing entirely new spatial sensations.

Architecture should surprise, excite, and provoke. As both an intellectual and a phenomenological endeavor, it should address not only the mind, but all the senses - viscerally. It must be judged by the experiences it generates.

Today, complexity and specificity are no longer an impediment to design and fabrication. Rather, they are opportunities that are waiting to be explored. To truly exploit the possibilities, we can no longer draw by mouse in CAD programs, nor can we use simple parametric methods. What is needed is an abstract and open-ended method: a computational approach.

What is needed is a new type of design instrument. We need tools for search and exploration, rather than simply control and execution. These tools must ultimately redefine the process of design: the designer will work in an iterative feedback loop with the machine, moderating processes, and incorporating feedback, surprises and proposals. Knowledge and experience are acquired through search, demanding heuristics that work in the absence of categorization.

As of yet, we have countless tools to increase our efficiency and precision. Why not also create tools that serve as our muse, that inspire us and help us to be creative? Tools to draw the undrawable, and to imagine the unimaginable.

What we stand to gain are entirely new spatial and haptic experiences. A playful design that stimulates the senses, elicits curiosity, and invites interaction. A design environment that simultaneously allows control and surprise, and that embraces and celebrates the unforeseen.


Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms to generate and fabricate architectural form.

Recent work includes the design of two full-scale 3D printed sandstone grottos, the production of an elaborate Muqarna for Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the installation of a hall of columns at Grand Palais in Paris, and the design of 3D-printed white tower for the village of Mulegns. He has exhibited at museums and venues including the Museum of Arts and Design New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Martin Gropius Bau Berlin, Design Miami / Basel, and the Gwangju Design Biennale. His work is part of the permanent collections of FRAC Centre and Centre Pompidou.

Michael has taught architecture as visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and at Southeast University in Nanjing, and as a lecturer at the CAAD group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. He previously worked for Herzog & de Meuron architects, as well as in the consulting and financial industries. Michael holds a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University.


Michael Hansmeyer
Computational Architecture

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