5th Annual UNSW Computational Design Conference 2021

Explore the work of UNSW Bachelor of Computational Design students who play an active role in being at the forefront of Research and Development in computation and computing for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry. Topics in this year’s conference range from VR and AR explorations, robotic fabrication, optimisation and decision support to machine learning or sensor driven design. The exact nature of the research topics are informed by the industry.

UNSW CoDe would like to thank the industry partners for their involvement with the student projects: Bates Smart, COX Architecture, Hassell, HDR, Mott MacDonald, Terroir, Habitat for Humanities Cambodia, Cundall, Woods Bagot, and Tilt.

The 2021 CoDe conference is held at UNSW Red Centre on the 6th of December (Keynote in Lecture Theatre GO1 and Student presentations in Level 1 Studios). See online links for all events to join remotely.

Conference Details

Date and Time: 6th December 2021. 9:00am - 6:00pm (AEST)
Livestream*: Red Centre Theatre | Red Centre 1004

*Recording of conference presentations will be available after the 7th of December 2021

Keynote Speakers

Alisa Andrasek

Architect and academic, Dr. Alisa Andrasek is working on the convergence of design, computer science and exponential technologies to address architecture in a context of planetary challenges. She is bringing complexity science, AI and robotics to the forefront of architecture and construction. The founder of Biothing, an award winning design laboratory; a partner of Bloom Games; and co-founder of AI Build, Andrasek is Professor of Design Innovation at RMIT, prior to which she directed an award winning program in advanced architectural design at UCL in London and Wonderlab research. Her work has been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou Paris, New Museum NY, Storefront NY, FRAC Collection Orleans, TB-A21 Vienna, Beijing and Sydney Biennial, among others.

Paul Nicholas

Dr. Paul Nicholas is Associate Professor at the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA), at the Royal Danish Academy, and director of the international masters programme Computation in Architecture. Paul holds a PhD in Architecture from RMIT University, has practiced with Arup consulting engineers and AECOM, and has taught and lectured across Europe, China and Australia.  Paul’s research develops new methods for architectural design and fabrication based on digital information flows between predictive modelling, registration and materialisation.  He is the author of three books and over 50 chapters, journal articles and conference papers.  Paul’s current research explores how sensing and machine learning can be linked to robotic fabrication of bio-materials to enable more sustainable material cultures.

Conference Schedule


09:00 am Keynote: Dr Alisa Andrasek
Architecture for Complexity: AI Accelerated Evolution of the Built World
Cities are the most complex constructs humanity has created, yet the way we plan and design them is not congruent with principles of complexity. Design workflows need to be compatible with the principles of deep ecology, in order to address increasing planetary challenges, and simultaneous opportunities with exponential technologies and industry 4.0.  Architecture’s inherent ability to synthesize new worlds amid multitude of elements is being upgraded by big data and artificial intelligence. Synthesis of data from a multitude of sources can enable context-sensitive and integrated systems within an information-rich simulation platform.
Examples of applications include AI driven high rising typologies synthesized with local data and computational physics, context sensitive models for high-density and high quality residential clusters, big data and AI optimisation for green energy infrastructure, and AI based combinatorics for increasing variability of CLT prefabrication. AI powered combinatorics of space in itself have the capacity to revolutionise the category of prefabricated architecture, that has historically suffered from monotony and impoverished solutions. Presented examples will demonstrate ability to synthesize multitudes of systems across various orders of scale within complex built ecologies.

Theme: Optimisation and Decision Support Theme: Data Driven Design
10:00 am Maeghan Doherty with Batessmart
Building on up: Developing a computational design workflow for the analysis of vertical extension potential in existing building
Garry Zhang with HDR
Transit-Oriented Development Assistive Interface (TODAI): A Machine Learning Powered Computational Urban Design Tool to enhance TOD planning processes
10:20 am Jeremy Tan with Batessmart
Developing a structural tool for the vertical extension of pre-existing buildings
Timothy Yeung with COX Architecture
Abstracting Voxels: Low Fidelity Analysis in Architectural Structure
10:40 am Luke Richardson with Batessmart
Reach for the sky: Investigating topology optimisation methods for improving the weight efficiency of lightweight building extensions
Luka-Luke Jovanovic with HDR
Automated Code Compliance Checking: A Computational Workflow for Verifying Model, Parameter and Regulatory Compliance
11:00 am Nicole Hua with COX Architecture
Visualising Comfort: Developing a computational workflow for analysis and optimisation of visual comfort in existing workplace environments
Scarlett Rogers with TERRIOR
Running, Running, Stop. Applying graph theory to pathfinding analysis to improve circulation efficiency in vertical high schools
11:20 am Kieran Graham with Aurecon
Sustainable Substitution: A computational workflow for mass component replacement in large-scale structures
Arlene Schmidt with COX Architecture
AutoSpace: An automated space layout system using graph theory and Isomorphism
11:40 am Lunch Break
Theme: Urban Analysis Theme: Fabrication and Sustainable Design
01:00 pm Eddie Azzi
Exploring and Minimising the Urban Heat Island Effect in a Virtual Reality Environment
Genevieve Lam
The Adaption of Concrete 3D printing (3DP) technology, for Earth Based Material 3DP systems in the Construction Industry
01:20 pm Gabriel Schmidt
Optimizing urban geometries to minimize the urban heat through evolutionary algorithms
Anthony Franco with TILT
Bending the Rules: A digital sketch-based modelling interface for manufacturable mandrel-bent tube components
01:40 pm Dingqian Li with HASSELL
Cooling by plants-Using planting design to mitigate the urban heat island effect
Arno Zhang with The UNSW Health Translation Hub Breath Team
Integrating acoustic performance in architectural design: A sound source optimization case study for a high acoustic priority pavilion
02:00 pm Justine Zhang
Using Computation Fluid Dynamic Technique to Research Wind conditions around buildings in urban areas
Stefen O'Neill with CUNDALL
Grasshopper, Honeybee and Pollination - A Parametric Energy Simulation Ecosystem Using Revit Models
02:20 pm Jianlun Fu
The influence of different street canyons on the urban heat island effect in different climates
Tom Rowe with CUNDALL
Applications of computational techniques for accuracy of data extraction
02:40 pm Afternoon Break
Theme: Optimisation and Analysis Theme: Sustainable and Social
03:00 pm Zheng Fang
Media Evolution: The transformation of 2D media screens into 3D physical interactions
Yutong Zhang
03:20 pm Joshua Song with Mott MacDonald
Utilizing a Material Decision-Making tool, minimalizing embodied carbon during early-stage design
Guanlin He with Habitat for Humanity Cambodia
Evaluating parametric environmental simulator tools to aid non-government organizations in new residential master planning processes in Siem Reap, Cambodia
03:40 pm James Ianitto
Mott MacDonald
Chelsea Chaderopa with Habitat for Humanity Cambodia
Evaluating the environmental performance of low cost housing in Cambodia
04:00 pm Jesse James with Woods Bagot
Form generation of the maximum building envelope based on LEP data
Ester Quan
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia
04:20 pm Jane Coady Louie Limjap
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia
04:40 pm Short Break
05:00 pm Keynote: Dr Paul Nicholas
This lecture will explore how advanced computation enables novel material thinking. Through a selected survey of recent CITA projects, it will track an evolution in CITAs use of computation to encode material behaviour, to integrate simulation for highly optimised and interdependent material systems, and finally to question the logics of efficiency, optimisation and temporality as architecture begins to shift towards more bio-intensive material practices.
06:00 pm Conference End