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  • Daniela Karina Atencio Valladares

PC__print(“HelloWorld”)____Computational Design-Thinking (Pensamiento Computacional)

Prof. Daniela Atencio___Arch. M.DesR___Faculty at Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

Coordinator of Computational Design-Thinking courses.

Daniela Atencio (@danielaatencio) • Instagram photos and videos

The course is based on speculation processes of computational design as well as a critical-conceptual framework through information processed and determined parameters. It investigates the ways in which meaning, intentions and knowledge are built by solving and materializing complexities. Multiple prototypes and distinctive non-conventional objects are generated, creating a new aesthetic and methods of understanding, exploring and creating procedures to generate the development of computational techniques, tools and theories, combined with methods of visualization, representation, parametric and algorithmic design. In other words, the construction of a graphic discourse as a computational argument.

The course addresses the content or ontology of an image for the definition of shape, geometry and fabrication: replicating an existing content through computational and algorithmic techniques and processes and as an engine of information to explore and speculate. A variety of images are used as a means of input and obtaining data, such as a new interpretation, creating reproductions of the original image but transformed according to the process-technique implemented to later be faced or combined and thus to be able evaluate their differences, a platform for the invention and articulation of a new discourse and the production of new geometries-forms.

The following questions are asked:

—How can it be extracted from an image, which is a flat medium without depth, information that can be used to generate three-dimensional geometries?

—How to replicate certain characteristics of an image and to what extent can the result be transformed?

—Which data of an image can be encoded?

—Which results can be predictable and which cannot be?

—How can an algorithmic or post-computational process affect a geometry?


The aesthetic and readable notions of an image are challenged in representation, design and visualization, developing an abstraction to speculate on the generation of retracted, distinct and attractive images [through both algorithmic programming processes and post computational techniques]. The possibilities of migrating information from image to geometry will provoke mechanisms to activate a speculative realism in the products to be obtained: instead of simply replicating or re-sampling what is known, the course will impose a more profound and strange result and new relationships between ideas or exploration of the new limits of design challenging the traditional notions of form finding and representation.

The following procedures are the main core of the course, increasing in each one of them the complexity and content: MODEL (Rhino), CODE (Grasshopper), ADD (Grasshopper and Processing), REMOVE (Python), SCENARIOS (Rhino, Unity, Twinmotion and Photoshop). Each procedure includes iterations, diagrams and objects.


Translations between the flatness of an image and geometry through computational and algorithmic procedures.


Translations between the flatness of an image and additive computational and algorithmic procedures to generate geometry and recursive processes and depth controlled by an image using high-level programming language (python) to generate geometrical subdivisions and subtractions.


‘Contextualizing’ ‘decontextualized objects’ previously generated with advanced modeling and programming procedures during the course. The objects are placed in fictional scenarios from 'Star Wars’ -which are actually real scenarios on the planet- deepening into rendering techniques as a way of speculation and representation.

Students work (images):

All srudent's work___Pensamiento Computacional

Objects generated during the procedures. Students: Mariana Saldarriaga, Benjamín Sánchez, María Paula González, Mateo Munevar, Juan Rincón, Sofia Serrano, Daviana Macías, Valentina Martinez, Miranda Uribe, Andrea Zamora, Daniela Chacón, Sergio Belucci, María Camila Páez, Emma Bonilla, Daniel Eslava, David Urquina, Paula Rivera, Felipe Alvarez, Camilo García, Pablo Borda, Nicolás Gutiérrez, Martin Sanchez, Manuela Silva, Alejandra Vargas, Juanita Echeverry, Antonio Cortés, Manuela Ardila.

(The following images, each one composed of a series of iterations as process, diagram of the selected object and the final object)

Juanita Echeverry___Antonio Cortés

Based on the use of nature pattern images, a spherical surface was made more complex using centroids to generate 300,000 spheres, thus developing an organic geometry. Speaking about the object's material we found iridescent black chrome and, for the generation of a subtle contrast, gold was used on randomly chosen spheres. The object ends up being a figure with a high degree of spatial plasticity where the geometry’s complexity and the material’s contrast are the main characters. The work then becomes a sculpture with a high aesthetic value. The setting in which it is located is a forest that has been burned in such a way that the smoky and foggy atmosphere makes the object blend into space and become part of the landscape.

Juanita Echeverry___Antonio Cortés

Departing from the modeling of volumes using Python and Grasshopper, a complex texturing and effect was applied to a geometry that was then duplicated to generate symmetry. A pearlized material is added to give it an organic feel, more specifically alluding to marine life. The object is implanted in the stage in such a way that it appears as if it was part of the mountainous landscape. The atmospheric features show the sun rising in the morning, so that both the object and the stage are illuminated by a subtle yellow light. The object’s material allows it to be part of the landscape and its scale is defined from what would be an habitable space.

Camilo García___Pablo Borda

In these images we explored different ways in which to subdivide and organize a mesh in order to generate complex geometries based on an iterative algorithm. For the initial iterations we began experimenting with different densities and resolutions. The final object is assembled by a progressive addition of fragments: homogeneous locally yet diverse within its totality. Placed within a context, the object gains meaning by alluding to the existing transition between fog and water, two states composed by a change in density of a unitary element, extending this dual nature into a perceptual plane on the reflection of the lake

Emma Bonilla___Daniel Eslava

A fictional scenario originates from a specific procedure, with algorithms and various computational techniques within three-dimensional modeling. The geometrical complexity of the object is created by dividing a surface through an algorithm, which results in an abstract shape. To this mesh a codification in Python was applied, and the values of recursion, offset and tessellation were modified. This procedure led to a unique computational design with an unconventional geometry and texture.

Andrea Zamora___Daniela Chacón

The image depicts a world in ruins left by an alien form of life that roamed Earth before the human species did. To achieve this scenario, we started by creating two different volumes using Grasshopper as well as Rhino tools. After having succeeded in this task, we began editing the resulting masses in Twinmotion to be able to render them afterwards. We played with the lights and different materials in order to adapt the volumes to the image in which they would be inserted. Finally, we edited the two objects in Photoshop, merging and blending them into an arid atmosphere.

Mariana Saldarriaga___Benjamín Sánchez

The following iteration is a combined process between the sub’s and grasshopper, followed by the plugins: Python and Mesh+. The figure was first sculpted by simple curved surfaces in Rhino, then based on the topology of the Shoen I-WP through Mesh+. We multiplied the same volume and joined every copy to create a bigger and more complex figure. Throughout Python, we developed a code that could enable us to create different perforations, bumps and textures on the figure based on different parameters: Depth, hole ratio and recursion probability. in terms of the scenario, our purpose was to, in some way, mimic the scale of the AT-AT Walkers of the Star Wars universe, so the object could merge in the atmosphere of the image. So, after placing a floor plane to the figure in Rhino, we exported it to Twinmotion where we modified the shadows, lightning, material and perspective. We used an opaque metal similar to the AT-AT Walkers’, modified the orientation and depth of the perspective, and the sun was set at 8:45 a.m. Finally, using Photoshop we lowered the saturation of the image, modified the contrast and added a sandstorm on the bottom.

Alejandra Vargas___Manuela Silva

This object was designed in accordance to a specific environment: a dark, cold beach of black sand. Beyond the horizon, a silhouette of mountains, hidden by the fog. The sea in the foreground acts as a prelude to the project and suggests an environment, a climate, even a sound. This specific scenario was the base for the decisions regarding the design. The proposed object fits in perfectly, thanks to the scale that was intended to mimic and blend with the mountains behind it, which is also the cause of its rocky appearance. The lighting of the object was thought according to the dark, near-dawn light of the scenario. This same light is what allows us to observe the detail and contrast of the object; the small squared blocks that break apart on the façade contrast with the smooth texture of the material.

Juan Felipe Alvarez

This object has been developed from experimentation with computational design tools and speculation on their uses and limits in the current technological panorama, in addition to the application of processes that take simple elements such as images as a start. The modification of a mesh sphere controlled from numerical values and deconstructions of its geometry in basic variables allowed to shape the geometrical basis of the object. This is then molded with the insertion of a topography from an image mapping. Physical concepts such as spin forces are explored, decomposing the object into curves that trace centrifugal movements and resemble cosmic gravitational orbits. The resulting lines are finally oriented in an orthogonal way and controlled by values assigned to the script. While the final product may seem random and turbulent, this computational design process allows assigning variables that dictate the object’s final form. Thus, numerous possibilities are opened to generate objects that are very different from each other with the same procedure also applicable to an architectural environment.

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