University of Waterloo Architecture

Research Clusters

F_RMlab graduate research is organized around three specialized streams: interactive architecture, distributed information systems, and smart materials research, addressing key aspects of advanced computation in architectural design that contribute to a rapidly emerging field of dynamic, responsive architectures. Each research cluster consists of 3-4 grad students dedicated to developing expertise in their specialization, both collectively, through project-based collaborations, and within their individual thesis research. Research clusters operate both as a vehicle for academic growth, and as a means of attracting collaborations with faculty research or potential partnerships within the industry. Research from each cluster may be disseminated at relevant conferences and public exhibitions.

Interactive Architecture

The interactive architecture cluster investigates the development and implementation of intelligent and responsive technologies within the built environment, with a vision of integrating computational power to design buildings and spaces for better environmental performance and greater engagement with human occupants. Research pursuits include the development of passive, self-adapting facade systems for high-rise typology, and the way subtle environmental phenomena can be captured, processed and manifested through physical computation.

Distributed Information Systems

The information research cluster investigates design approaches where the digitalization, analysis and processing of environmental and social data can inform the design of intelligent urban spaces and landscapes. The information cluster is investigating GIS data collection, processing and integration, with ArcGIS and Rhino 3D for the planning and design of low-income rural communities; and scripting form-finding studies through environmental simulation with Autodesk’s Ecotect and DesignScript programs.

Smart Materials Research

The materials research cluster investigates architecture as a material system with structural, formal and behavioural properties. This cluster looks at methodologies of performative integration using current computation and digital fabrication tools. This cluster has developed digital fabrication techniques to generate ice sculptures for Archiglace/Inclusions exhibit in Quebec City. Other research pursuits involve developing synthetic biomaterials for environmental remediation, and the parametric design of timber structures through generative scripting and physical prototyping for improved material performance.