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Selective interference: Emergent complexity informed by programmatic, social and performative criteria

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posted on 14.11.2021, 07:07 by Welch, Christopher David

Parametric design tools and visual programming languages are fast becoming an important part of the architects design process. A review of current literature notes that the barrier to entry into the medium is lowering while the power of the tools available is increasing. The purpose of this research is to use these emerging tools to explore complex architectural issues related to space planning and massing. This research aims to bring these aspects of the design process together to generate an architecture where programme and aesthetic are derived in equal measure by the architect and the computer. The project began with a series of technical studies focusing primarily on space planning, massing, site analysis and circulation with the purpose of using an amalgamation of these techniques to develop into a final generative algorithm. These ideas are explored through an open ended design process of iterative research and testing, self and peer review, development and critical reflection. The viability of the algorithm is then tested through the generation a number of test buildings, across variety of sites. In order to provide a direction and author a degree of creative friction within the research process, the projects are framed around the development of a mid-size, urban sited secondary school. The final algorithm provides constraints in such a way that the architecture evolves in a natural, predictable way that can still surprise and inform, as well as consistently producing viable, interesting iterations of buildings. This process, described as an “open box” structure, produced a wide variety of working concepts and provided a high level of control as a designer.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Moloney, Jules; Moleta, Tane