Fractals Workshop

The Fractals Workshop is a hands-on workshop exploring generative design through the use of analog algorithms. It is a 3D thinking workshop in which participants develop algorithms or rules of growth that are demonstrated through geometric aggregation models as an ongoing design research. The Fractals Workshop combines logic, geometry, natural systems and structure. This workshop is an adaptation of the teaching methods practiced at the Design Research Lab at the AA School of Architecture in London.

The focus is on developing prototypical design systems from the bottom up using analog algorithms versus designing from the top down with a preconceived end in mind. The method is inspired from the organic growth of natural systems, parametric architecture, structural systems, mathematics and geometry, and algorithms.

Fractals Workshop series is an ongoing iterative design research focusing on the process itself and relinquishing control over the final outcome, which remains unpredictable.

Since 2011, the Fractals Workshop has been to various colleges and events the world over and since the lockdown the workshop has been taught remotely to participants from all over the world, in collaboration with Turenscape Academy, China, Facebook and the Boston Architectural College, USA.

Participants work from home by first using paper (which was selected as it is easily available to everyone at home) to explore different geometries in analog forms based on a set of rules or algorithms they create themselves. These designs are then translated into digital 3D models and uploaded to a virtual reality platform and curated in an immersive digital exhibition. Just like a gaming environment, this exhibition can be visited from your smartphone, computer or using a VR headset.

You can create your own avatar and enter the space, which is a social VR platform, allowing real people to visit, meet and interact with others virtually. Using your keyboard you can fly through the space, explore it, add 3D elements to the space, and even take a selfie! The immersive experience is designed to be investigated and attended at your own pace or time of choice. It is a developing space that we intend to grow and continue sharing together.

Many of the design processes used in the Fractals Workshop are also used by DesignAware in their architectural design projects. Architect Takbir Fatima is the Director of the Fractals Workshop and DesignAware, a Hyderabad and Dubai based experimental architecture and design studio. She has an MArch in Architecture + Urbanism from the Design Research Lab at the Architectural Association, London and was longlisted for the Emerging Architect award by Dezeen earlier this year.

Takbir Fatima, Director, DesignAware and the Fractals Workshop
Peter Atwood, Director, Digital Media, Boston Architectural College
Idrees Kasu, Architect and Teaching Assistant

Students (from the BAC):
Leonardo Torres (BArch)
Sabina Abdulmanova (BArch)
Soumyashri Sridharmurthy (MArch)
Arran French (MArch)
Caterina D’Amico (MArch)
Jing Deng (MArch)