Category Archives: Workshop Neil Leach

Digital Techtonics – Material Complexity By Manuel DeLanda – Critical Review



Seeing the world through a philosophical point of view, concepts such as toughness or rigidity are emergent properties of metalic materials that result from the complex dynamic behaviour of its components. Also dynamics of population of dislocations are closely related to the population dynamics of every entity, despite the big difference in nature and the behaviour of the components, a population of interacting entities, will dispay same collective behaviour as long as the interactions are non linear and also as long as the population operates in a non thermodynamic equilibrium.

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Digital Tectonics


Critical essay by Rodion Eremeev

The world always generate new directions in Art and Architecture. It always implies new techniks and fabrication ways.
During the 20th Century it were a lot of different variety of styles - functionalism, constructivism, brutalism, metabolism, etc.
Nowadays is a time of a digital ways of design in Architecture.

Neil Leach book  ”Digital Tectonics” distinctly explains what does it mean Digital. How does it affect on architecture, design, art, live…
And also explains how it were developing through the years.

In chapter “Historical Perspective – Future Prospect” Mike Cook represent to our attention three key factors that were influencing on the form -
material,ability,need. By this factors Mike try to explain that is fundamental determinants of what we build. On the different examples like projects and experiments of Gaudi or Frei Otto,
he is showing how they used to work with modeling, simulation and fabrication without any computer tools. He is thinking that now is great ability than ever before to create a free form.
That old physical methods of modeling and describing form are still relevant, but now is digital age. Digital tools and methods will help to humanity to create buildings that would conserve materials and energy.

As I understand, Digital Tectonics means that you can go ahead from sketches on the paper to really difficult simulations.
That means that now, computer is really relevant tool for architects to design intelligent structures. Human mind can imagine and produce a lot,
but it has a limit and from that point to develop more complex things we should use computer to help us with it.
From idea to paper, then to 3D model and simulation, then to digital fabrication – that all involves Digital Tectonics.

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Digital Tectonics

Trinidad Gomez terrain-section image post NLW

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Book by Neil Leach, David Turnbull and Chris Williams

Critical essay by Trinidad Gomez.

‘For how can the digital be tectonic? And how -for that matter- can the tectonics be digital?’ Neil Leach

In this book, Neil Leach explains the behaviour between digital and tectonics, and how nowadays we can see this popular topic as a new paradigm for thinking architectural culture.

This concept is developed since the first contributions in the field of computation changed architecture, how “Emergent” behaviour participated in the evolution of the digital and engineers system, and how the architecture has evolved, because of the participation of other disciplines, such as economics, programming, engineering, etc.

Steven Johnson developed the concept “Emergence”, explaining it as a system made of relatively simple elements, organized spontaneously and without explicit laws,  giving rise to intelligent behaviour. Computer programming is just a set of rules, where every of this set has only one possible interpretation and all these rules together can make a big result, but just if they work as a system, where in this book assumes that the design by algorithms works like this.

The interesting part is, that this system doesn’t need any kind of intelligence to make it a possible result, but of course they have the power of calculation. So in this part, it begins to have issues with this fact, because it appears that computers do everything, but at the end, designers are in charge to control all that they are designing.

Nowadays, the architectural process is linked with engineering more than ever, because of the facility of the control of the design and the ease to develop the complex shapes.

Everything has a method of design with a mathematical explanation, since Le Corbusier’s module has an algorithm process until now Zaha Hadid’s projects has a very complex programming code for obtain the unique shapes and surfaces.

In conclusion, a new paradigm of architecture related with digital tectonics has developed more complex digital platforms that helps to understand more closely all the details that are related to architecture whereby this results in the fact convert algorithmic language of part of architectural process nowadays. Engineer and architect’s relationship is now more than ever linked to the development of more complex structures and surfaces, converting architecture not just as space but a very complete detail process.

‘Architecture was born not of the algorithmic potential of computers programs, but the tectonics capacities of actual materials’ Chris Williams.

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A new Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram.


[Riches] – A New Kind of Science: The NKS Forum.

A new Kind of science is a book dedicated to understand how science has evolved in such aspects in systematic computational systems such as cellular automata.The discovery that simple programs can produce complex behaviors caused a dramatic paradigm shift by claiming that the universe and everything is being computed by a simple program. Read More »

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Fabricating; Present and Future of Architecture

Low tech fabrication, Silk Wall, Neil Leach, Philip E. Yuan

Low tech fabrication, Silk Wall, Neil Leach, Philip E. Yuan

Neil Leach; Fabricating the Future

Leach’s text on Fabricating the Future precisely explains the trend and style of parametricism and digital fabrication. From defining the factors that affect the style, the use of new technologies, the shift in materials, and ultimately, the way of designing. The main topics in the text are digital tools, digital fabrication, materials, drawing logic, aesthetics, design approach, and design methodology. Each of these themes are explained and compared with previous techniques and traditional fabrication.

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