We present several projects on which computation techniques, working as the servant of rational thinking and practical common sense, were able to deliver building scale public art projects where the complexity and cost without pre-rationalisation would have been prohibitive and a barrier to progress. Some of the techniques were developed in-house and some built on the work of the wider design community. There are numerous lessons to be learnt from our experience, some positive, some negative.

The Physics of art

Image Credit : Neuschnee prototype / Walter Klasz – University of Innsbruck

Stephen Melville is a founding Director of Format. Formerly a Director of Whitbybird Engineers then Design Director of Ramboll UK, Stephen created Format with the goal of establishing an Engineering design studio which considered Structural Engineering, geometry modelling, digital optimisation, fabrication, research and education as an seamless entity and as a bridge between the worlds of Science, art, architecture and design.

He is CABE Built Environment Expert, a member of the Bristol Urban Design Forum, the IStructE Digital Design panel, the visiting RIBA education board and was a member of the RIBA awards jury. Stephen is an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture and a collaborator on the Architecture Association Active Matter course. He regularly lectures and critiques at Architecture schools across the world and has published several papers on the subject of digital design in Engineering and Architecture.

The Physics of art

Image Credit : Wigmore Street / Lee Simmons