rat[LAB]EDU attempts to ‘Fill The Void’ in Design Education through Winter School 2017-18 across 3 cities in India

Text and images: rat[LAB]Edu

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rat[LAB]EDU Winter SchoolAfter a successful completion of 35+ national & international design workshops, rat[LAB]EDUCATION organized Winter School 2017-18 across three major cities in India with the objective of changing the way we conceive spaces within architectural & urban systems and the way architectural education is imparted in the country. The workshops delved into computational design & parametric methods of designing through use of cutting-edge tools like Rhinoceros3D and Grasshopper3D. The 3-day design module took place in three cities, Bengaluru on 21st-23rd December 2017, New Delhi on 18th-20th January 2018 and Mumbai on 26th-28th January 2018.

Independent design workshop modules were introduced by rat[LAB]EDUCATION in 2015 in India, with the agenda of Filling The Void, aiming to provide a global exposure to design students & young professionals to the vast domain of Computational Design & Parametric Design – something that the organization is committed to spread in India. Since then many independent design modules in computational and parametric design have emerged in India, popularizing ‘workshop-culture’ as an alternative education for architectural students and professionals.

Void is typically defined as null, invalid, empty or redundant and has a psychological perception of a ‘negative’. Through years of development in India, there has been an organic urban growth and inorganic architectural growth which has led to formation of voids in a physical and a metaphorical sense. There also exist voids as gaps between architecture, cities, education and technology. ‘Filling The Void’ looks at void as an opportunity, potential and a driver of change for architecture & design education in India. The 3-day intensive workshops for design students & professionals at Winter School 2017-18, delved into computational & parametric methods (using Rhino3D & Grasshopper3D) to create data-driven art installations, physically manifested into a space through hands-on fabrication & assembly. The experimental studios in all three cities investigated the agenda of ‘filling the void’ at Art Installation scale and Façade Design, through use of computation and parametric methods. This was a continuation of Summer School 2017 organized by rat[LAB]EDU in June-July last year in New Delhi & Mumbai.

Agenda //
Decoding Parametric Design:: Art Installations & Facades 1 country // 3 cities // 1 agenda // 1 showcase

The design studio was designed as a 3-day event comprising of technical tutorials, teaching sessions, prototyping & presentations culminating in an open jury with studio director Sushant Verma along with other invited critics who demonstrate computation, parametric design or alternative techniques in their work / practice / academia.

Studio is structured to teach participants the use of computational techniques through Grasshopper® (Generative modeling plug-in for Rhino®) and ways to integrate it with architectural & urban systems. No previous knowledge of Grasshopper & Rhinoceros was required for these workshops as basic technical knowledge was provided on Day 01. Pre- designed customizable tools were provided by rat[LAB] on Day 02 for design explorations & experimentations. The studio was flexible to basic, intermediate & advanced users of computation.

The Bengaluru Chapter of rat[LAB]EDU Winter School 2017-18 started on 21st December 2017 with participants from different cities of India and took place at IKP EDEN Bengaluru.

First day started with an induction on ‘Parametric Design and Computation Thinking’ by studio director and designer Sushant Verma through a presentation, followed by introduction to Parametric tools and software Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper3D. First day sessions focused on design exercises and examples to understand complex data structures in computation which form a major part of computational thinking process in design. Customisable Grasshopper scripts were provided to participants for practice and deeper understanding of the subject.

On second day, participants explored further on patterns, geometries and mathematical logics of form. An induction to workshop facilities and tools led by Nidhiya V. Raj and Pratik Yagnik from IKP EDEN was organized on second day, as the mentors and hosts demonstrated 3D Printing tools, CNC Machines, Metal and Wood Fabrication facilities housed at IKP EDEN. Later on, design teams were formed with a studio brief to encourage group learning and collaborative project development.

The third and final day of workshop was lined up with an open jury and critic where all participants got to showcase their work through digital presentations, followed by feedback from tutor and invited critics. Each team was guided by studio director and studio assistants from rat[LAB] studio to help develop meaningful projects in a limited time. All teams managed to bring out their best with some very interesting projects and presented their works to the entire batch, with constructive criticism and comments on future scope. This was followed by special technology-talk by rat[LAB] Co-Founder Pradeep Devadass, who is a Robotic Fabrication Specialist with a Masters of Architecture degree from Architectural Association, London who visited Bengaluru from Aachen, Germany where he currently pursues his research. This followed by a presentation of works by Sushant Verma carried out by rat[LAB] & rat[LAB]INTERIORS in New Delhi.

The New Delhi chapter started on 18th January 2018 and was conducted in rat[LAB] Studio in Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. This was 3-day session focusing on technical sessions and tutorials where each participant was guided individually to develop their projects and ideas, to be later

presented for a peer critique on final day. The participants were asked to identify a real scenario based on their scale of interest- Facades or Installations, to which they were expected to find a solution with the skill set they had acquired during the first two days of the workshop.

The Mumbai Chapter which started on 26th January 2018 at INIFD Andheri, had a similar course structure with a slightly different methodology as the studio developed and evolved with each city. Architect Pravir Sethi from Studio Hinge and Artist Nitant Hirlekar from Studio Pixelkar were invited as guest lecturers for Mumbai chapter, who presented their works and methodologies to studio participants with their own perspectives of using design technology in architecture, interior spaces, lighting design and art installation projects. The workshops concluded with handling over of certification to all participants for completion of 3-day studio as a part of Winter School 2017-18.

Rat[LAB]EDU has now ventured with RVS School of Architecture, Coimbatore to initiate a 6- month hybrid programme on Computational Design for design students across India, which is currently undergoing with its first batch of 20 students from different parts of India. Smart Labs 1.0 (Academic) is a floating studio and is being conducted at Coimbatore, Chennai, New Delhi and expanding its bandwidth towards a semester-end exhibition scheduled in June – July 2018.

Images from the Winter School

// About rat[LAB] EDUCATION

rat[LAB] EDUCATIONis an initiative by rat[LAB]-Research in Architecture & Technology (www.rat-lab.org) to start a new discourse in architecture & parallel design disciplines with the use of ‘computational design’ & it’s various subsets. Spread across various cities / countries, we are establishing a global dialogue in the domain of computational design by actively organizing and participating in workshops, lectures, presentations & symposia. While rat[LAB] has taken a top-down approach of exploring computational design through industry, a parallel, bottom-up approach is also in-line to involve students of all levels, from design & related backgrounds.

Programme Details at: www.rat-lab.org/education
Smart Labs Programme: www.rat-lab.org/smartlabs
Instagram Handle: https://www.instagram.com/ratlab_edu/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ratLABeducation/

List of participants from Winter School 2017-18 (Alphabetically):

Abhimanyu HarshwardhanBhardwaj
Aishwarya Murari
Alex Joseph
Anilkumar E
Archit Mathur
Arya Fathi
Astha Kapila
Deepashikha S
Fahim Jalal
Gayathri Yuvaraj
Himanshu Kasera
Inchara Priyadarshini S
Jayanth Devasundaram
Karan Singh
Liya Sunny
Manojraj M.R.P
Mitali Gupta
Mohammed Kaazim Khan
Muthu Kumar R
Parth Patel
Pradipta Pratim Karmakar
Prithvi Jeya
Priyanka Khunt
Radha Waykool
Richa Shah
Rishikesh Sundar
Sanjana Shettigar
Siddharth Mukesh Jain
Siddhi Sule
Stuti Satish Patil
Sunilkarthik E
Vaishali Kalra
Vijay Kumar
Yashasvi Mehta Yashwanth

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