This site documents the research and design activities of the Ras Al-Khaimah studio, part of the Organicités masters-level architectural option studios offered by the Media x Design Lab at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

About the Ras Al-Khaimah project

Currently in development, EPFL Middle East is intended to be a cutting-edge international research facility focused on energy, environment, construction, and information technology. The new campus will be located in the demanding desert climate of the United Arab Emirates and in the wake of the global economic downturn which leaves the plausibility of existing planning uncertain.
Our investigations will take place over two semesters, instrumentalizing digital media and computational methodologies to:

  • - analyze the existing forces affecting the site for potential patterns of adaptive growth;
  • - simulate campus development over time and with the capacity to respond to anticipated and unanticipated future scenarios;
  • - design integrated landscape and building forms that address the simultaneous needs for environmental performance and typological invention.

Student work

About the Organicités studios

The Organicités studios interrogate processes of architectural formation, pursuing the creation of organic qualities in architecture based upon biological mechanisms and growth paradigms.
How can the dynamic achieved by the biological analogy produce sophisticated and contemporary forms empathetic with natural ecology? How can this inbuilt empathy produce formal innovation and ensure performance-oriented architecture attuned with its environment to suggest a redefinition of architectural sustainability? How can performance be balanced by more subjective cultural and artistic mandates?
By targeting ‘organicités’ these studios specifically seek:

  • - to identify biological concepts of growth and form that can be meaningfully adapted to architectural production;
  • - to embed these biological strategies in a generative design methodology to produce innovative and ecological architectural forms;
  • - to evaluate formal innovation based on performance criteria and aesthetic considerations.

Previous studios
Organicités studios on Flickr
Teaching staff & students

About the Media x Design Lab

The Media x Design Lab at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne conducts research at the intersection of the School of Computer and Communications Science, and the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. We draw from a variety of academic fields, including architecture, design, computer science, psychology, anthropology, cognitive science, economics, and material sciences.
It is the MxD Lab’s mission to create a dynamic laboratory for the study and design of new media and digital technologies to enhance everyday environments and everyday life. We explore the vision of bringing physical and virtual environments together, by designing, making, prototyping and testing new interactive artifacts, objects, surfaces, and spaces.
The MxD Lab is interested in digital media’s capacity to iterate form, simulate behavior, and evaluate performance, which promises to satisfy both the social imperative for pragmatics and the cultural pursuit of innovation. As architecture, its sub-disciplines, and related fields have increasingly embraced the computer, architectural production has become increasingly complex in both process and product. This relationship does not necessarily translate into meaningful architecture in terms of performance and formal coherence. The use of digital architectural techniques demands cultural and technical facility which must be continuously refined and redefined. Complexity of form must be organized by explicit performance logics and formal ambition, and assessed upon relevant objective and subjective criteria.
Lab homepage

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