Melih Kamaoğlu (Yale University), “The Idea of Evolution in Digital Architecture” (School of Architecture)

Event time: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - 6:30pm
Rudolph Hall, Smith Conference Room (322) See map
180 York Street
Event description: 
Throughout history, nature has proved to be a model for architects by demonstrating various types of intelligence, creativity, and solution. Philosophers and scientists generally considered all living creatures static, unchanging and non-transformable beings. After Charles Darwin’s revolutionary work, living beings have started to be comprehended as changing, evolving, and developing dynamic entities. Evolution theory has been accepted as the interpretive power of biology after several discussions and objections among scientists. In time, the working principles of evolutionary mechanisms have begun to be explained from genetic code to organism and environmental level. Afterwards, simulating nature’s evolutionary logic in the digital interface has become achievable with computational systems’ advancements. Ultimately, architects have begun to utilize the idea of evolution in design theories and methodologies through computational procedures since the beginning of the 1990s.
Although there are studies about technical information and pragmatic utilization of computational evolutionary tools in architectural design, there is still little research on the historical, theoretical and philosophical foundations of the discourse, reflecting on the critical role of computation as an interface between evolution and architectural design. The design arguments of architects regarding the relationship between computation and nature while utilizing evolution in design processes have been barely subjected to critical review through theoretical limits and operative principles of various computation procedures. This doctoral research aims to fill this gap by instrumental sing the philosophy and theory of computation to critically review the penetration of evolution in digital architecture theories and practices. The research proposes an intellectual framework to understand and conceptualize various integrations of evolution into architectural design processes through computation by shedding light on their limitations, shortcomings and potentials.
Melih Kamaoğlu is an architectural historian and theorist. He is currently a visiting researcher at Yale University, and PhD candidate in Architecture and Digital Theory program at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He has worked as a senior postgraduate teaching assistant at Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) since 2021. He also worked as a research assistant at Eskişehir Technical University (ESTU) between 2018 and 2020, where he was a tutor of Basic Design, Introduction to Architectural Design and Architectural Studio courses. Melih received his BArch in 2017, and MArch in 2020 from Karadeniz Technical University. His primary research interests include architectural theory/history, computation, evolution theory and philosophy of nature. His doctoral research is funded by the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of National Education.
Image Caption: A representation of bio-digital ontology in digital architecture as a collaboration between evolution, genetics and computation. (Image Credit: Melih Kamaoğlu)
Open to: 
General Public