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Digital Turn at The Building Centre

  • London, United Kingdom
  • 25/07/2018 – 14/09/2018
  • Built

Digital Turn is an exhibition by ZHA’s Computation & Design research group (ZHCODE) showcasing the ideas & technologies transforming the way we imagine, design and build our cities.

The exhibition is now open to the public with the work of Zaha Hadid Architects’  Computation and Design Research Group (ZHCODE) on display. Until the 14 September visitors can discover how this research group is using computational programming to create experimental structures, modular housing concepts and robotically assembled prototypes; offering a glimpse into the future of architectural design.

The exhibition series is designed as a physical and metaphorical platform exploring how research in digital technologies is impacting the built environment. Leaders in academia, research and practice take ‘Turns’ to exhibit experimental computational design and are invited to take part in the associated event programme to explore themes in more depth. ZHCODE’s exhibition follows on from The Bartlett’s Design Computational Lab whose work was on show previously.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid was a leader in innovation and design. This  ethos continues at Zaha Hadid Architects – the practice she established – particularly within ZHCODE. Set up by Nils Fischer, Shajay Bhooshan and Patrik Schumacher in 2007, the group forefronts architectural experimentation by putting into practice their knowledge and research in programming, geometry and mathematics.

As part of the Digital Turn exhibition, ZHCODE explores ‘Tectonism’ (the expression of structure and geometry through its fabrication and methods of making) and ‘Semiotics’ (applying the physical design and construction aspects of their work to the social context in which they will exist).

Projects on display in Digital Turn with ZHCODE include:
- Robotic additive manufacture and robotic hot wire cutting technology showcased in the Thallus sculpture.
- An insight into technologies such as timber bending and robotic fiber winding.
- Modular housing developed using algorithmic techniques to explore community development and densities.
- An exploration of design thinking behind Mathematics, The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum, London.

Digital Turn is a timely exhibition that brings together architects, engineers, planners, advanced manufacturing teams, contractors and academics to discuss the impact of technology on their work and the possibilities for the future.

Colin Tweedy, CEO of The Building Centre, said, “In the early stages of the digital revolution the industry was slow to adopt new technology but that is all changing as we embrace the power of robotics, digital fabrication and artificial intelligence. Digital Turn showcases architectural, design and building projects born from advanced computational science and offers a glimpse into the future as the industry commits to digital possibilities.”

Tweedy continued, “Zaha Hadid Architects are leaders in the field of computational design. It’s clear that their investment in ZHCODE is proving fruitful with a range of technologies investigated for architectural use. The industry needs innovative practices with the capability to invest in research and development. We are delighted to exhibit their work as part of Digital Turn and I look forward to seeing how their research impacts the built environment”

Patrik Schumacher, principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, explained, “Architecture does not exist in a bubble. Ongoing collaboration and research is the foundation of ZHA. Robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and big data are all impacting architecture – and enabling the industry to address complex issues. We strongly believe in this collective, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and these rapidly evolving technologies are changing the way we design and construct.”




Patrik Schumacher, Nil Fischer, Shajay Bhooshan

Project Director

Shajay Bhooshan

Head (ZHC)

Shajay Bhooshan

Senior Researchers (ZHC)

Vishu Bhoshan, Henry Louth, David Reeves

Designers (ZHC)

Filippo Nasetti, Tomasso Casucci, Federico Borello, Marko Margeta

Residents (ZHC)

Leo Beiling, Taole Chen

Extended (ZHC)

Lei Zheng, Mathias Fuchs, Vera Kichanova, Tyson Hosmer, Sobitha Ravichandran, Soungmin Yu

Alumni (ZHC)

Danilo Arsic, Tahmina mehmood, Mustafa El Sayed, Suryansh Chandra, Ramon Weber, Ilya pereyaslatsev, Daniel Zakarayan

Previous Interns (ZHC)

Meng Tang, Ruxandra Matei, Vladislav Bek-Bulatov, Li Chen, Daniel Tong, Leo Bieling

Key Collaborators

Block Research Group, ETH Zurich; Stone pavilion with the Block Research Group; Stratasys, Minnesota; Odico Robotic Formworks, Odense; Autodesk Residency, San Francisco; ITKE, University of Stuttgart; Institute for Experimental Architecture, Innsbruck; AiBuild, London; Incremental 3d; Metsa Wood; Kreysler Associates; Andy Lomas; Architecture Extrapolated; OneToOne

Academic Partners

Nahmad-Bhooshan studio, AADRL; Saman Saffarian, ITKE; John Klein, Chikara Inamura: previously at Mediated Matter MIT, Institute for Experimental Architecture