2023 : AA DLAB

AA DLAB 2023

1 – 17 September 2023

London, UK

DLAB 2023 explores the themes of generative design, material computation, and large-scale fabrication and assembly technologies. Our ambition has been the design and production of a 1:1 scale structure in the outdoor area of AA London.

Fiber-based structures have become a prevailing method in the composition of matter within complex organisms through the process of evolution. Many of these arrangements involve the alignment of long, stiff fibers in parallel formations, grouped into hierarchies of bundled layers, often commencing at the molecular level. Rather than being physically connected, these fibers are usually embedded within a matrix material, or organized via friction like muscle fibers, assembled into various groups and subgroups through connective tissue. The mechanical and primarily organizational principle of bundling equips organic systems with mechanisms for guiding adaptation and variation, as well as offering ways for redundancy, robustness, and flexibility (Jeronimidis, 2000).

In human construction, the practice of bundling and utilizing friction-based structures has been employed for centuries. Within both prehistoric and traditional architectures, the increased load-bearing capacity of bundled poles, compared to the mere summation of individual poles, has resulted in highly efficient systems. Examples include constructions using materials like bamboo canes, thin branches, rods, reeds, or even grass blades (Otto, 1985).

During AA DLAB 2023, we have worked with rattan canes, a renewable and biodegradable resource, and we have focused on the creating of lightweight structures through the bundling and twisting of rattan canes. The structure is partially robotically fabricated through developed construction and assembly techniques. We have implemented various simulation methods, structural analysis, and optimisation techniques as design drivers.

Research agenda keywords: Natural materials – rattan canes, Active Bending, Robotic fabrication – bundling, joinery , and twisting, No waste material

Robotic bundling of rattan canes has been implemented for the design and fabrication of complex beams / components that have been assembled to create a spatial enclosure with selected performative criteria. Our workflows explore the evaluation and interpretation of traditional fabrication processes towards their advancement within the domain of computational form-finding, analysis, and robotic tool path generation protocols.

The research agenda has been put to test through a range of digital and physical experiments. Computational generative form-finding methods set the correlations between the digital process of design with the physical world of fabrication and materiality. Digital experiments are simultaneously coupled with physical models in order to test the calibration between the digital and the physical realms. Initial experiments conducted by each design team have concluded with a scaled model of their design proposal. Finally, the construction has been scaled up to its real dimensions for the realization of a working prototype.


Programme Heads 

Dr. Elif Erdine, Dr. Milad Showkatbakhsh

AA Visiting School Director

Dr. Christopher Pierce


Elif Erdine, Alexander Krolak, Angel Lara Moreira, Milad Showkatbakhsh

Teaching Assistant

Chengxuan Li


Laya Al Ibadi, Aeshah Alani, Yusuf Alperen Bayir, Rim Cherkaoui, Heloisa de Santis Alfredo, Ahmed Gewaily, Jiyeong Kim, Soki Kimura, Anna Kloos, Amalia Konstantinou, Luis Leon Escoda, Samanta Martinez, Ahmed Mitwally, Netra Mundada, Sudaksh Nigotiya, Zahra Parhizi, Yiru Wang, Hanqi Zhang