Each Project developed by the Group’s researchers is typically related to one or more of the following Research topics – Shape Grammars; City Information Modeling; Digital Fabrication; Parametric Modeling. Each of these topics is developed under the umbrella theme of Design and Computation, where methodologies of creative fields such as Architecture, Urbanism and Design meet information and communication technologies.

Shape grammars

Shape Grammars have been a central research line of the Design and Computation Group since its beginning. It is understood by shape grammars a logical system for describing visual form in its different meanings. Numerous projects and international publications have been developed at DCG about this topic. Besides researching on these themes DCG is also sharing the latest developments in the discipline by teaching classes about Shape Grammars. These classes provide students with theoretical and practical tools that allow the understanding and description of shape according to the generative principles of grammars, which can later be translated into a programming language as a tool for the exploration of design languages.

Digital fabrication

The area of Digital Fabrication is a key research area in the Design and Computation Group. The group is committed to hands-on learning, creative applications of new technology, and an open-source ethos of community and sharing. Therefore it is both committed to research and teaching activity in the area of Digital Fabrication since more than a decade striving to make the latest advances in the field available for the students of the faculty as well as to visiting students from abroad. The classes offered by the group are meant to introduce the fundamentals of the computational approach to architectural knowledge and form by exploring algorithmic perspectives of architectural design. The main goal is to understand the potential of the computational tools for solving specific problems in architectural design and digital fabrication. The Design and Computation group supervises a state of the art facility dedicated to Digital Fabrication at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon, the LPR. The lab houses 3D printers, laser cutters, computer-controlled milling machines, and other equipment that allows students to integrate digital modeling and control into fabricated objects. The laboratory is open to all FAUL students and serves as a hub for innovative interdisciplinary work on all areas available at the Faculty. The use of some equipment is limited to students who have completed a course that teaches the use of that equipment.

Parametric modeling

Parametric modeling is a key practice at DCG as an approach towards the development of interactive algorithmic design. It stands as the central core for the production of design outputs through digital models and eventually by producing physical outputs through digital fabrication. Parametric modeling is therefore the main tool for the exploration of new fields of design in the fields of architecture, product and industrial design. It is also seen as an approach to design that is able to process not only shape parameters but also other kinds of data that along with the shape parameters inform the design influencing formal results or further decisions towards final solutions. Considering the latter approach, parametric modeling is also seen as the supporting structure for design optimization problems where design results may be improved via automated search mechanisms or evaluation procedures.

City Information Modelling

The Design and Computation Group focuses on a new method for urban planning and design which is based on the use of patterns and design rules in conjunction with multivariable geographical, economic and demographic data. The aim of the method is to facilitate dialogue between the different participants in the design process and enable the development of flexible urban plans, capable of responding to changes in context throughout its implementation. The group is dedicated to develop tools to support urban design decisions, specifically the use of parametric design tools to model urban design problems and to share the theories underlying the aforementioned method among the students of the Faculty of Architecture.