Architecture in the Making
Architecture as a Making Discipline
and Material Practice

Embedded Sensors

Stig Anton Nielsen

Project Contact:
Project Type: Doctorate
Project Period: 20120901-20170901


Architecture has over the past decade been heavily influenced by both new industrial materials and development for the information technology and technology in general. The confluence of these two areas has enabled architects to investigate complex material compositions within architectural designs. Material systems actualized through intricate flows of information from the computational models towards the physical material.
The project will deal with the consequences of information flowing from material compositions (materialized architecture) towards the computational models.

By establishing this information flow, a loop will be created. It is the implications of this loop which generate the research questions for this thesis.

The dialectic relationship between digital design technology and material performance will be discussed through theory of cybernetics. This circular causality must facilitate an expansive, suggestive and productive potential, and create a process for designing new materially performing architecture. As well as ask for a novel design methodology that includes continuous negotiation of physical matter throughout the design process.

The consequences of a closed loop of information will be investigated through experimental setups that investigate a continuously informed process of building. Development of relations between virtual models, and physical models is the core focus. With a departure from understanding traditional building performance and material performance, the investigation will occupy a greater vision of revitalizing existing sustainable energy concepts by utilizing contemporary materials and information technology.

Currently, sensor concepts are being investigated through productive processes. Three concepts describe different type presence of sensors in architecture ‘under construction’. The setups of these concepts detail three types of information based physical form finding processes.
A: The unknown territory emerging through multiple chained sensors. – present within.
B: Sensor active building blocks as self-informed emergent body. – present as part of.
C: Simulation and fusion sensing directing emergence of the artifact. – present external to.


Stig Anton Nielsen graduated as Master of Architecture from Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen 2008. While being employed as project architect at COBE Architects I was active in teaching at the Center of Information Technology and Architecture (CITA). I was invited to run international students workshops presenting ideas of physically informed approaches in architecture in both Warsaw PL and Manchester UK. After two year as research assistant at CITA, involved in numerous projects dealing with rapid prototyping and CNC fabrication through digital techniques, an interest in the automation of information feedback within productive processes was developed. Now, as doctoral candidate at Chalmers Institute of Architecture, physically informed formation processes for sustainable material systems are being investigated with an experimental and inventive approach.


BibBase nielsen, s
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  2014 (2)
Layered subsumption in intelligent material building systems. Nielsen, S. A.; and Dancu, A. In TEI'14, Feb 16 Feb 19, 2014, Munich, Germany.. TEI'14, Feb 16 Feb 19, 2014, Munich, Germany., 2014.
Layered subsumption in intelligent material building systems [pdf]Paper   link   bibtex   abstract  
Embodied computation in soft gripper. Nielsen, S. A.; and Dancu, A. In HRI '14 Proceedings of the 2014 ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction, volume s. 256-257. HRI '14 Proceedings of the 2014 ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction, 2014.
Embodied computation in soft gripper [link]Paper   link   bibtex   abstract  
  2013 (4)
A process where performance drives the physical design [Elektronisk resurs]. Nielsen, S. A. In Rethinking Prototyping, volume 2013. Rethinking Prototyping, 2013.
A process where performance drives the physical design [Elektronisk resurs] [pdf]Paper   link   bibtex   abstract  
Physical Form Finding by Embedded Sensors [Elektronisk resurs]. Nielsen, S. A. In eCAADe 31, volume Volume I, s. 413-422. ECAADe 31, 2013.
Physical Form Finding by Embedded Sensors [Elektronisk resurs] [pdf]Paper   link   bibtex   abstract  
Understanding Heat Transfer Performance for Designing better Facades. Burry, J.; Salim, F.; Williams, M.; Nielsen, S. A.; Pena de Leon, A.; Sharaidin, K.; and Burry, M. In ACADIA 2013, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, 2013.
link   bibtex  
Extracting Data for Making from the Making. Nielsen, S. A. 2013.
link   bibtex   abstract  

As part of both the development of the environment and as a means to communicate our activities some of the lectures and seminars arranged are available online. Visit our Youtube-channel here.