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Adding Matter


Architectural Designer

Material Fabricator (1 of 3)


Grasshopper, Ameba

Woodshop (planer, bandsaw, table saw, sander)

Laser cutter, CNC machine


15 week architecture research project


Featured in book: Matter Aggregation


We looked to understand traditional Japanese joinery in its traditional, unmodified form first.

Before applying computational design, a basic understanding of various typologies of joints was needed, with research focusing on how 4 different joints were built.

Joints were rebuilt in Grasshopper, a node-based plugin allowed for greater manipulation and experimentation.

These joints were then recreated and prepped for stochastic aggregation in Grasshopper, a plugin for Rhino 3D

Creating generative structures

Algorithmically creating stochastic structures starts to push the boundaries of how a structure can be assembled.

Taking the basic traditional Japanese joinery, iterations on foundational aggregations could be generated to give a sense of how these joints can come together.

Grounding stochastic algorithms in a Japanese joint of choice starts to mesh theoretical and practical.

After testing and iterating, the process of refining traditional joinery began, simplifying traditional joints for smoother computation

Applying learnings to a test site

Molding abstract shapes to an actual environment further pushes the envelope in practical application.

Diagramming and understanding Shanghai Art Park

Taking the base geometry of the building, generated through site analysis, and applying aggregation through the Ameba Plugin.

Making it real

Creating high fidelity renderings and fabricating wooden joint models to scale brings it to life, making theory a reality.

Architectural renderings of the actual building, as well as prototyped at two different scales.


Natural materials are unpredictable, and of course computational design can only solve so much. However, the history behind Japanese joinery and the intersection between joinery and modern computation offered a new framework for a flexible system that could begin to look at how we can more efficiently use and build with limited resources and materials.

As a look into a completely new type of architectural thinking, it was a breath of fresh air to examine building practices beyond traditional BIM systems. While a lot of the proposed designs are probably unrealistic, it's a valuable thought starter nonetheless.