WIT Press

Architectural Metabolic Forms


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

107 - 117




3,776 kb


I. W. Foged


Forms in nature are principally based on the ability to receive and distribute energy to maintain themselves. The purpose of the presented research is to take this basis as the fundamental constituents of creating forms and organisations in architecture, so to have metabolic capacities. Enabled by algorithmic digital models with integrated physical properties of the environment and the solid matter applied in the model, the work studies the formation processes and final forms of an architecture derived by energy transfer. Rather than thinking in terms of a priori defined geometries and typologies, formations and forms are the resultant of points distributed in space from ground upward with various densities effecting connections, enclosures and volumes. Performance evaluation and communication to the designer is provided directly in the model during formations and allow there through a more precise understanding of why a form is developing how it is. Concretely, the derived forms are evolved on the basis of a continuous feedback between solar energy, which spreads downward, the distributed mass that holds and spreads energy through air and the energy from the earth such as water and ‘nutrients’ travelling upward. The results illustrate the ability to organise forms that exhibit high performance in holding and allocating energy, such as thermal storage and spreading of heat. Furthermore, the communicative formations allow the designer to apply design parameters to parallel numerical optimisation with proportional aspect so fundamental to architectural expression. At its best, contemporary architecture simulate on forms to ‘check’ there performance. This work sets the conditions of context as the basis for development, so that forms only evolve if they have the energy to support it. Keywords: metabolism, generative algorithms, architectural systems.


metabolism, generative algorithms, architectural systems.