Digital Grotesque

Michael Hansmeyer

Architecture stands at an inflection point. The confluence of advances in both computation and fabrication technologies offers architects the possibility of designing and constructing hitherto unimaginable forms.

With increases in processing power, the roughly triangulated geometries and simple blobs of the early 2000’s have given way to the possibility of complex geometries at multiple scales with details approaching the threshold of human visibility. In parallel, advances in additive manufacturing technologies have put us at the verge of printing any form.

Recent machines with print spaces of many cubic meters can print not only small architectural models, but full-scale structural architectural components.

As a result, a form with a few million surfaces is as easy to print as a form with a few dozen. For the first time, complexity is not an impediment to design and fabrication. Rather, it is an opportunity that is waiting to be explored.

Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural form. Recent projects include the Sixth Order installation of columns at the Gwangju Design Biennale, as well as the the design and construction of full-scale 3D printed grotto for the 2013 Archilab exhibition.

He is currently based in the CAAD group at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s architecture department in Zurich. He holds an a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University and an MBA degree from INSEAD Fontainebleau. He previously worked in the consulting and financial industries at McKinsey & Company and J.P. Morgan respectively, as well as at Herzog & de Meuron architects.