Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Wendy Cox

Summer School

Class of 2006


Wendy Cox holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado at Denver and is a licensed architect. She has been investigating the intersection between computation, emergent behavior, and architecture in order to develop a more-robust solution to what is now being termed in the architectural discipline as “green architecture.” She has lectured on this area of interest at the World Congress on Environmental Design in Seoul, South Korea; the Geocomputation 2005 conference at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and at several schools of architecture throughout the United States. She is an assistant professor teaching history, theory, and design at Norwich University in Vermont and continues with a small practice designing environmentally focused projects.

Project: 3D Branching with Surface Envelope

Architecture can be read as working in an NKS methodology already. By using a discrete set of building elements such as a 2×4’s, 4×8 sheets of plywood, CMU’s, bricks, etc., a diverse range of forms are generated from these simple primitives. The range of results, however, is not as diverse as might be expected. Forms are reasonably restricted by their need to be functional for the inhabitants; however, results are also constrained by notions of appropriateness based in part on familiarity, architectural precedent. Several aspects of NKS serve to explore and potentially relax these constraints. The argument is that these constraints potentially restrict cultural advance and inhibit robust advances in creating a more-sustainable built environment. The investigation undertaken in this experiment takes an initial step by creating a 3D tool from a 2D tool, which has been documented in A New Kind of Science, to emulate the actual system of branching patterns of plants. This 3D tool is then used to explore spatial configurations between branchings, for a possible translation into dynamic, layered, architectural surfaces.

Favorite Four-Color, Radius-1/2 Rule

Rule chosen: 2009