10 Pivotal Architects in the Computational Design Space

With its data-driven insights, iterative design options, and realistic simulations, computational design is a true game-changer in the industry!

Tue Jul 18, 2023

From pencils to parametric, design approaches are constantly evolving. With the emergence of computational design, architects now have unparalleled capabilities to create complex and optimized designs with precision and efficiency. 

A majority of architects leveraging computational design capabilities report significant successes in automating routine tasks (88%) and achieving improved interoperability (85%). With its data-driven insights, iterative design options, and realistic simulations, computational design is a true game-changer in the industry!

Let’s delve in as we explore 10 pivotal architects revolutionizing architecture with computational design.

5 Reasons Why You Should Know About Other Architects

#1  Inspiration: Exposure to new work ignites creativity and encourages out-of-the-box thinking.

#2 Innovation: Explore new possibilities to achieve unique and groundbreaking design outcomes.

#3 Education: Gain skills and expertise through exposure to diverse computational design methodologies, workflows, and best practices.

#4 Effective Multidisciplinary Collaborations: Facilitates better collaborations with the needful professionals to leverage their expertise.

#5 Career Advancement: Staying updated with the latest trends and advancements in computational design provides a competitive edge in their career.

10 Pivotal Architects Practicing Computational Design

zaha hadid architects

Source: Dezeen

“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”– Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid’s approach unlocked new horizons in architectural research, thinking, and design processes, inspiring professionals around the world and leaving a lasting impact on the architectural community. Her works embraced fluid lines, organic shapes, and intricate geometries through computational and AI-building design techniques.

Notable Projects:

Heydar Aliyev Center – Baku, Azerbaijan

Source: Archello

Guangzhou Opera House – Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou Opera House – Guangzhou, China

Source: Archello

Bjarke Ingels, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Source: The Real Deal

“For me, architecture is the means, not the end. It's a means of making different life forms possible.”— Bjarke Ingels

Works of Bjarke Ingels incorporate parametric modeling, data-driven design, and advanced digital tools to achieve complex and visionary architectural forms. His approach pushes the boundaries of traditional architecture, resulting in groundbreaking structures that redefine the relationship between form and function.

Notable Projects:

Via 57 West – NewYork, United States

Via 57 West – NewYork, United States

Source: Architizer

CopenHill Energy Plant – Copenhagen, Denmark

CopenHill Energy Plant – Copenhagen, Denmark

Source: Architizer

Norman Foster, Foster + Partners

Source: Walterknoll

“It takes a lot of effort to make a building look effortless.”– Norman Foster

Lord Norman Foster actively integrates advanced digital tools and parametric modeling to create innovative designs that push the boundaries of architecture. His visionary approach seamlessly blends technology, sustainability, and design excellence, establishing him as a trailblazer in his profession.

Notable Projects:

The Gherkin – London, United Kingdom

The Gherkin – London, United Kingdom

Source: Architectuul

Millau Viaduct – Millau, France

Millau Viaduct – Millau, France

Source: Archdaily

Neri Oxman

Source: Sculpteo

“In nature, there is no separation between design, engineering, and fabrication; the bone does it all.”– Neri Oxman

The works of Neri Oxman involve an interdisciplinary approach of blending biology, materials science, and advanced technologies. She incorporates biomimicry, digital fabrication, and sustainability to create innovative and regenerative designs excelling the limits of architecture.

Notable Projects:

Silk Pavilion – Massachusetts, USA

Silk Pavilion – Massachusetts, USA

Source: Oxman

Aguahoja I – San Francisco, USA

Source: Dezeen

Greg Lynn FORM

Source: Architectuul

“I always try to think in curves.”– Greg Lynn

Greg Lynn is known for his pioneering in parametric architecture in the 1990s. He used advanced computational tools, digital fabrication, materials experimentation, and interdisciplinary collaboration to create irregular, biomorphic architectural forms. His innovative designs challenge traditional ideas of form and space in architecture.

Notable Projects:

Fountain at Hammer Museum – California, USA

Fountain at Hammer Museum

Source: Hammer UCLA

RV Prototype – Kortrijk, Belgium

RV Prototype

Source: Metalocus

Ben van Berkel

Source: The Talks

“I firmly believe that new technologies can make architecture much more human-centric than ever before.”– Ben van Berkel

The works of Ben van Berkel push the boundaries of form, structure, and performance, using advanced digital tools and parametric modeling techniques. His approach redefines the future using computation design that blends technology, sustainability, and design excellence.

Notable Projects:

Ellipsicoon – Maila, Philippines

Ellipsicoon Maila

Source: UNStudio

Raffles City – Hangzhou, China

Raffles City

Source: UNStudio

Elizabeth Diller Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Source: Rolling Stone

"We like to take impossible things and actually make them happen.”– Elizabeth Diller

Works of Elizabeth Diller challenge conventional notions by blending technology, art, and social engagement. She utilizes parametric modeling, digital fabrication, interdisciplinary collaboration, computational analysis, and an experimental approach to revolutionize architecture.

Notable Projects:

Broad Museum – Los Angeles, USA

Broad Museum

Source: The Broad

The Museum of Image and Sound – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Museum of Image and Sound

Source: Arquitecturaviva

8. Marc Fornes

Marc Fornes

Source: The Very Many

"Our objective is to offer an experience of Art as an Architecture and a discovery of Architecture as intense as an Art piece.”– Marc Fornes
Works of Marc Fornes push the boundaries of form, structure, and fabrication, utilizing advanced computational software and generative algorithms to create intricate and organic designs. His approach blurs the lines between art, architecture, and technology, exhibiting his innovative and boundary-pushing contributions to the field of design.

Notable Projects:

Pillar of Dream Pavillion – Charlotte, USA

Pillar of Dream Pavillion

Source: ArchDaily

Minima | Maxima – Astana, Kazakhstan

Source: Urban Next

Nuru Karim NUDES

Source: Commercial Interior Design

"Advancements in technology is meaningless unless it impacts society and addresses issues plaguing humanity including climate change, etc.”– Nuru Karim

As the founder of NUDES, Nuru Karim is known for his innovative approach of using advanced computational design techniques to create fluid forms, dynamic geometries, and intricate patterns. His work seamlessly integrates technology, design, and sustainability, pushing the boundaries of traditional architectural practices.

Notable Projects:

Rain Water Catcher – California, USA

Rain Water Catcher

Source: Parametric House

Bookworm Pavillion – Mumbai, India

Bookworm Pavillion

Source: Dezeen

Achim Menges Institute for Computational Design

Source: Architect

"In biology, material is expensive but shape is cheap”– Achim Menges

The works of Achim Menges push the boundaries of architecture using advanced computational tools, biomimicry, and material research. His approach integrates technology, biology, and sustainability, using robotics and carbon fibers.

Notable Projects:

Elytra Filament Pavilion – London, UK

Elytra Filament Pavilion

Source: Achimmenges.net

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2015-16 – Stuttgart, Germany

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2015-16

Source: ArchDaily

Envisioning the Future with Computational Design

The emergence of computational design enables architects to optimize their designs, gain data-driven insights, and push design boundaries. Drawing inspiration from pivotal architects can stimulate innovative designs and unlock new possibilities.

Young architects must adapt and embrace the potential of computational design for better career advancement and remarkable design outcomes. Let’s embrace this transformative approach and shape the future of architecture!

FAQs: Pivotal Architects in Computational Design

1. What is Computational Design?

It is a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes computational tools and algorithms to generate, optimize, and analyze design outcomes.

2. Are there any specific tools or software that young Architects should learn to excel in Computational Design?

Learning tools such as Rhino’s Grasshopper, Revit’s Dynamo, SketchUp’s Python, Processing, and other computational design and scripting tools can be helpful.

3. How can Young Architects stay updated in Computational Design?

It is a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes computational tools and algorithms to generate, optimize, and analyze design outcomes.

4. How can Young Architects Access Resources to Learn Computational Design?

Young architects can access resources through online platforms like Futurly, with workshops, tutorials, coding courses, webinars, and academic programs.

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Architectural Journalist

Saili Sawantt
An Architect + Writer, Saili has worked as an Architectural writer & brand storyteller where she has collaborated with firms, studios, organizations, luxury brands, events & educational institutions to communicate in the real estate & travel industry. Her recent initiatives include curating an online workshop on communication and networking within the AEC industry. She is a commentator on the design industry’s upkeep through her social handles while also being an avid reader and traveler.