A common language

Computation and computational thinking can be used as a common language to facilitate communication and collaboration between diverse disciplines.

Harvard GSD, printed canopy structure, Interlocking Pavilion

You can read the full article on the Innovation issue, the supplement of Domus 1021, March 2018.

Interdisciplinary research has gained increasing interest in recent years due to its creative potential to solve complex problems through the integration of diverse perspectives. On one hand, epistemological convergence is hindered by different languages, value sets and frames of reference used in each individual domain. On the other hand, computation and computational thinking are becoming a common language across fields today that can facilitate new forms of communication and collaboration. Much of our academic and applied research investigates the integration of architectural, structural and environmental knowledge with the goal of creating unique, efficient and previously unattainable designs. One of our lines of exploration involves pre-industrial craft knowledge from the period before architecture became distinct from engineering.

We are rediscovering and developing integrated design knowledge in light of new technologies. Interlocking Joinery is the name of our research project in collaboration with mechanical engineering. An interlocking joint joins structural elements without fasteners by creatively using geometry and materials to build interlocking structures. Interlocking Joinery integrates material understanding, structural performance, fabrication technology, assembly processes and aesthetic expression. This is in sharp contrast to adhesive or metal joinery where each function tends to be conceptually and physically separated. Interlocking joints were often used in traditional timber structures, and exhibit enormous knowledge of material, care and perfection in craftsmanship. Today the number of constructions using such joints is limited. (...)

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