Parametric VS Computational Design

There is big trend about parametric approach and computation in design and architecture. In the last months, I’ve repeatedly been involved in discussions about if it would be more exact to call what we do as designers “computational design” or “parametric design”. It is not a useful discussion, I have to say.

I have the feeling that computational design is more trendy and parametric design is more nineties, would you agree with that ? As Aldo from Noumena Architecture said during our last workshop : “Don’t say parametric design!”.

But what is the difference between “parametric design” and “computational design” ?

I don’t know. “Computational design” refers to the use of computers and mathematical approach to the generation of geometries, objects and architecture. “Parametric design” is about using parameters to design things. It means that if parameters changes, the result change. Regardless of which expression is the best, what interests me the most is the idea of focusing on design process instead of designed objects.

Parametric VS Computation design

The process is everything

The process is everything (Mies would say that “God is in the process”) and that’s why I think that “parametric design” is still an interesting way to explain our approach. Parameters is about changing conditions and adaptability to user needs. We need to design process instead of objects.

François Roche recently published on his blog our emails exchanges about these topics. If you know him a bit, you would not be surprised to see that he’s not very polite. If you don’t speak French, try to google translate the post.

François Roche says that “computation is a good think, not parametric design…it’s like confusing science with the power of science”.

I answered “Personally, I’m more interested in action than language.” Continue reading Parametric VS Computational Design