Digitally-Driven Architecture


  • Henriette Bier
  • Terry Knight



The shift from mechanical to digital forces architects to reposition themselves: Architects generate digital information, which can be used not only in designing and fabricating building components but also in embedding behaviours into buildings. This implies that, similar to the way that industrial design and fabrication with its concepts of standardisation and serial production influenced modernist architecture, digital design and fabrication influences contemporary architecture. While standardisation focused on processes of rationalisation of form, mass-customisation as a new paradigm that replaces mass-production, addresses non-standard, complex, and flexible designs. Furthermore, knowledge about the designed object can be encoded in digital data pertaining not just to the geometry of a design but also to its physical or other behaviours within an environment. Digitally-driven architecture implies, therefore, not only digitally-designed and fabricated architecture, it also implies architecture – built form – that can be controlled, actuated, and animated by digital means.

In this context, this sixth Footprint issue examines the influence of digital means as pragmatic and conceptual instruments for actuating architecture. The focus is not so much on computer-based systems for the development of architectural designs, but on architecture incorporating digital control, sens­ing, actuating, or other mechanisms that enable buildings to inter­act with their users and surroundings in real time in the real world through physical or sensory change and variation.

Author Biographies

Henriette Bier

Henriette Bier is Assistant Professor for computer-based architectural design at the Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology.

Terry Knight

Terry Knight is Professor of Design and Computation in the Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.