[CPU]ai is a master's atelier at the MSA using a complexity framework to progress a new Design Science approach referencing systemic forms of design (R. Buckminster Fuller) and the study of design/the artificial (Herbert Simon). Students translate methods from the [CPU]lab – an externally funded research laboratory – into experimental design approaches through the development of new digital techniques/tools, computational thinking/information systems and applied urban theory addressing social-sustainable-technological transitions and spatio-temporal urban transformations. The work expands the frontier of design studies by addressing shortcomings in the ability to usefully comprehend the implications of design contributions within the complex, multiscale, temporal and emergent phenomena that constitute the contemporary urban process. This year [CPU]ai explores ‘Resilient Urban Futures’ from multiple sustainability perspectives in the MArch (and BA3).

In MArch5, [CPU]ai engages directly with MMU estates as a stakeholder while interpreting the theme as conceptual and theoretical application. PS1 focuses on Design for Manufacturing (DfMA) for student housing as a technology led approach engaging with BIM and future manufacturing, to explore new opportunities within this design space. PS2 focuses on digital design strategies, knowledge-based design and the role of precedent study and analysis in adaptive reuse in architecture.

In MArch6, [CPU]ai engages directly with Manchester City Council and the Far East Consortium on the Northern Gateway regeneration project. The project is one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK (15,000 new residential units for 35,000 people). The fifteen-year strategic development is planned as an extension to the city centre needs to achieve commercial viability/high density, while addressing multiple sustainable development agendas, including the UN-SDG’s and Net-Zero. Design projects were based on: Student led research into the complex (relational, overlapping and contradictory) drivers and trajectories of change in this major redevelopment project; A contextual understanding of theories and expansion of new skills for computational urban design processes/approaches; Development of students own computational constructs/tools/applications to generate temporal and value-based design outcomes; Analysis of generated design outcomes using performance indicators in consultation with the project stakeholders to identify sustainability principles and approaches for best practice.

Twitter: @complexurbanism and @CPU_Ai_atelier
#complexurban #architectsthatcode


Year 6

Professional Studies

Professional Studies 1

Computational methods are developed to explore interactions between soft (social/difficult to define) and hard (technological or spatial) urban systems and potentials beyond the realm of static design methods and theory. Temporal and dynamic processes define spatial design parameters and material flows. Students explore designs through iterations and opportunities incorporated into an experimental ‘design space’.

The theme for this year is Resilient Urban Futures – as a conceptual and theoretical application - and DfMA as a technological aspect to develop technologically rich buildings. The brief for PS1 focuses on student housing and questions current practice methods by introducing novel application of Design for Manufacturing (DfMA), standardization and off-site construction. PS1 is an opportunity to explore the CPU methodology through the design of a student housing project on the MMU campus. Students engage directly with MMU estates as a stakeholder in the project.

Professional Studies 2

The theme for this year – ‘Resilient Urban Futures’ – will be explored within adaptive reuse of MMU’s All Saints building. The ‘design space’ focuses on clearly defined and tested spatial strategies iterated within the ‘design space’. Students are encouraged to develop and test their spatial strategies using the Grasshopper 3D plug-in for Rhino and then expand on the possibilities of customising and coding their own tools. PS2 also focuses on knowledge-based design and the role of precedent study and. Each Group works with two case studies and examines their spatial strategies (or design tactics) for adaptive architecture in detail.

Students in groups of two develop their own spatial stagey and analyse the performance and value in terms of spatial adjacencies, material composition, environmental and mechanical characteristics. Students define and consider their approach to ‘Adaptive Architecture’ as part of their spatial strategy by researching and expanding possibilities of adaptive, interactive, reactive and performative architecture.


Year 5

Abdullah Jawdatt, Arundika Buddhini Weerasekera, Bella Makena Kimathi, Bethany Stewart, Boon Wong, Chan Chin Yeung Jason, Chen Botao, Effimia Athanasakopoulou, Giorgos Porakos, Hannah Byrom, Holly Millburn, Ioana-Antonia Naghi, Irina Maria Augusta Balan, Jakub Andruszkiewicz, Jordan Bartlett, Joshua Baker, Kareem Alsaady, Kefei Qiao, Lok Hang Harry Chan, Lon Y Law, Ma Zhao, Marco Nesi, Michael Thomas Walsh, Michelle C Majalang, Nadia Al-Shawi, Nayeem Zuhair Hussain Shaik, Oladipo Timothy Shobowale, Panayiotis Ioakim, Payam Malakouti, Sana Akhtar, Shrida Venkatesh, Tazeen Raza, Thomas Cooper, Wendell Wen Yan Lu, Yan Zhu, Yao Wei, Yasamin Salimi, Zhang Xiaoxuan

Year 6

Henry Baker, Menghan Chen, Yan Chen, Yirui Chen, Elise Colley, Cristian Dubina, Tiantian Ge, Isabella Kendrick-Jones, Laura Lapadat, Linyu Li, Shitian Lin, Lulia Lup, Wenjing Ma, Andreas Maragakis, Abigail March, Reiji Nagaoka, Joshua Quinlan, Junjie Su, Aleksei Tsikhanchuk, Jingrui Wang, Xinbo Wang, Michael Williams, Jiao Xie, Siyu Xie, Haocheng Zhong