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Essay 12-1: Morphogenesis and Emergence.
In the history of digital design theory, there has been arguments that sometimes had anti-technological interpretations of digitally and have stimulated similarly minded design strategies but the 2004 Emergence issue of AD, followed by other AD Profiles guest-edited by the Emergence and Design Group in 2006 and 2008, have a step in a different direction. The authors of this book are determined to point out the difference between emergent properties in life and in computation and the gap between nature and machinic production. Menges Theory states that performativeness is the quality of material systems that perform through deformation, or which visibly deform to self-organize and resist new external forces. As said, he applies the logic of self-organizing systems to structural systems of which the deformation under stress is the salient quality-figural as well as structural.
In the scientific field, the term “Emergence” refers to the forms and behavior from the complex systems of the natural world. Weinstock traces the origins of the concepts and provides an account of the mathematical basis of processes that produce emergent forms and behaviors in nature and computational environments. These models are used for creating designs, evolving forms and structures in morphogenetic processes within the computational environments. Emergence needs the recognition of buildings not as singular and fixed bodies, but as complex energy and material systems that have a life span and exist as part of the environment of other buildings, and as an iteration of a long series that proceeds by evolutionary development towards an intelligent ecosystem.
These three authors, founded The Emergence and Design Group which they present their case for a morphogenetic strategy in the design study of high-rise buildings, placed in the context of their argument for integrating structural criteria and behavior into material systems of vertical urbanism. Complex forms and systems emerge in nature from evolutionary processes and their properties are developed through the processes that work upon successive versions of the genome and the phenome.
The development of genetic engines that model evolutionary and growth processes are demonstrated in the context of two morphogenetic design experiments. The argument for the combination of evolutionary computation with advanced digital modelling and the constraints of manufacturing techniques is developed.
Emergence provides models for life cycles and the way in which different life cycles interact with each other in an ecosystem. Menges presents two of his architectural research projects that explore the dynamic relations and behaviors of occupation patterns, environmental modulations and material systems. The logic of natural production studied in the sciences of emergence offers a model of integrations to replace the conventional separation of design and material production. The search for manufacturing and construction solutions for the complex geometry of contemporary architecture necessitates the development of new methods and tools, and this in turn demands the integration of digital modelling and computer-aided manufacturing.
This can be divided into three sections, which delineate the strategy for this initial exploration of emergence in architecture:
Emergence and Morphogenesis are the mathematical techniques for modelling the emergence of forms and behavior from the complex systems of the natural world that are juxtaposed with form-finding techniques for stable and dynamic material forms.
Data, Genes and Speciation, its focus is on the geometry, pattern and behavior, and the computational and material evolution of populations and species of architectural forms with complex behavior.
Behavior, Material and Environment, is concentrated on the adaptive behavior of natural and architectural material systems and the industrial potential for a seamless integration of its design and production.
Firma de Honor: “Yo, Elena, declaro haber realizado esta Tarea con integridad académica”.
Michael Hensel, Achim Menges and Michael Weinstock. (2013). Morphogenesis and Emergence. En The Digital Turn in Architecture (158-163). USA: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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