Computational Design: Practices, Histories, Infrastructures

Symposium 7-8 October at Carnegie Mellon University

The Computational Design: Practices, Histories, Infrastructures symposium will examine computation as a subject of both scholarly and creative inquiry in design.

Situating contemporary design methods in architecture and other creative fields in relation to broader histories, disciplinary frames, and technical infrastructures, the two-day event will create a space for:

  • Making visible computational design practices’ multidisciplinary roots in postwar technology projects in research universities, and examining their political, material, and visual specificity;

  • Interrogating computation as a vehicle of diverse aspirations —including geometric plasticity; artistic expression; managerial efficiency; and scientific truth— in design;

  • Considering how emerging approaches to spatial, visual, and interactive design incorporate computational concepts and devices, and configure new imaginaries of designing and making;

  • Tracing new methods and tactics to incorporate computation as a subject of both critical and creative inquiry in syllabi and curricula in architecture and other design fields.

Speakers include

  • Kristy Baillet, SCI-Arc/Ohio State;

  • Nathalie Bredella, Berlin University of the Arts, Germany;

  • Joseph Choma, University of Cambridge, UK;

  • Dana Cupkova, Carnegie Mellon;

  • Jacob Gaboury, Berkeley;

  • Madeline Gannon, Carnegie Mellon;

  • Andrew Heumann, WeWork, NY;

  • Sean Keller, Illinois Institute of Technology;

  • Golan Levin, Carnegie Mellon;

  • Zach Lieberman, SFPC, (TBC);

  • Carl Lostritto, RISD;

  • Jonah Ross-Mars, MIT;

  • Molly Wright Steenson, Carnegie Mellon;

  • Theodora Vardouli, McGill University.


  • Felecia Davis, Penn State;

  • Molly Wright Steenson, Carnegie Mellon;

  • Olga Toloumi, Bard College;

  • Dan Taeyoung, Columbia.


Daniel Cardoso Llach, Carnegie Mellon (dcardoso@cmu.edu).

Program Highlights

Designing the computational image / Imagining Computational Design Exhibition

A visit to the Miller Gallery of Contemporary Art to experience the Designing the Computational Image / Imagining Computational Design exhibition, showcasing rare drawings, films, and other materials from the formative period of numerical control and Computer-Aided Design technologies. Along with the historical materials, interactive software reconstructions and a selection of works by contemporary computational design practitioners will be showcased.  

Computational Design Pedagogy Roundtable

A roundtable with educators and interested participants with the aim of fostering a conversation about methods and tactics to incorporate critically computation as a subject of scholarly and creative inquiry into syllabi and curricula in architecture and other design fields. 


Check for updates soon.

Open Session

There will be space for project demonstrations, WIPs, objects, demos, etc. in a tentatively called 'Open Session' at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Check for updates soon.


Saturday October 7

09:00 – 09:20 Registration, Miller Gallery

09:20 – 09:30 Introduction

09:30 –11:00 Visit to the Exhibition at the Miller Gallery; screening of FINGER FILM by Rachel Strickland; conversation with the filmmaker.

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee, STUDIO

11:30 – 13:30 Session one: Software comes to matter

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:30 Session two: Structured Images

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee

17:00 – 18:30 Open Session – Projects

19:30 – 21:00 Dinner with speakers

Sunday October 8

09:00 –11:00 Session three: Interaction and Intelligence

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee

11:30 – 13:30 Workshops; Campus Tour

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:30 Workshops; Computational Design Pedagogy Roundtable

* The program is subject to updates. Please check again as the dates draw closer.



Check for updates soon.

Visiting Pittsburgh

Check for updates soon.


The symposium and exhibition have received generous support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the School of Architecture, the College of Fine Arts, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, and the Berkman Fund for Faculty Development at Carnegie Mellon, and the Computer History Museum.

Register for the Event

Registration is now open.The event will be free of charge, but spaces are limited and must be booked in advance. 

Questions? Please e-mail dcardoso@cmu.edu