Mutable objects


Create an architectural module and demonstrate its parametric responses.


Essential goals:

  • to define one or more spatial modules capable of parametric variation;
  • to construct architecturally specific relationships between the parts of the module;
  • to determine the behavior of the module and its potential for aggregation;
  • to tailor this behavior for general conditions identified in your previous studies.

Advanced aims:

  • to nest multiple scales of what could be considered ‘modules’;
  • to design robust and malleable spatial configurations rather than strict programmatic arrangements;
  • to utilize Grasshopper for the benefit of your explorations;
  • to exhibit a sophisticated and original aesthetic sensibility.

Role in design process:

  • to develop an architecturally-plausible repetitive but variable unit;
  • to produce representation that is explicitly architectural;
  • to engage the scale and concerns of the module in isolation (though informed by generic conditions identified in the large-scale studies);
  • to identify potential emergent configurations to be integrated with the compositional studies.
  • Plan, section, axonometric of the generic @ same, specified scale ‘A’
  • Matrix of rigorous variations @ half or quarter scale ‘A’
  • Taxonomy of useful, promising, or interesting types (specific parameterizations that produce an identifiable quality) @ half scale ‘A’
  • Process sketches, diagrams, and drawings composed as needed.
  • Advancement/integration of the previous exercises.

In the most abstract, a module is at least two related spaces, their bounding condition(s), and their aggregating behavior(s). Studies which combine more small simple modules to produce fewer complex mezzo-scale configurations will be more successful than trying to design that complexity outright. The goal is to consider the internal factors which organize a building and to then test them in a large number of conditions likely to occur in your project.
Drawings should be architectural orthographic projections using a variety of lineweights. Use of notation is allowed (such as color, hatch, alphanumerics, mathematical functions) and encouraged to represent the parametric relationships, but the drawing should represent architecturally rather than diagrammatically.


Initial presentation 10h15 – 12h00 Thursday 17 March
Integration presentation 10h15 – 12h00 Thursday 24 March

  • -Define what your module is composed of explicitly, but not programmatically.
  • -The decisions regarding precisely how something varies parametrically is extremely important; test a few similar behaviors paying particular attention to the limits, ranges, and extremes.
  • -There are opportunities in the extremes, find them.
  • -Try starting with a relationship in section.
  • -Test the joining behavior thoroughly; a lot of the complexity can come from different responses to near, far, immediately adjacent, or overlapping modules in plan, section, or both.
  • -In addition to the circulation or topographical conditions identified in your site studies, think of other general contextual cues to which your module should respond such as sun and wind.
  • -Your orthographic drawings should probably be at 1:50 or 1:100.
  • -Develop the generic by adding detail to the specific instances; this can be done ‘manually’.
  • -The matrix should go treat variation systematically without evaluating what is produced. The taxonomy should identify the ‘good’ variations.
  • -Think of topological or qualitative thresholds in which the module becomes fundamentally something else.

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