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Digital Ecologies


Intelligent technologies are increasingly changing our society.  Digital tools offer us opportunities, influence our practices, shape our cultures and are constantly evolving.  Digital thinking is prerequisite to understanding how to design, produce and negotiate our future in the virtual and physical world.

The Digital Ecologies Certificate Program cultivates knowledge through research and design practices responding to our increasingly digital society.  The program cultivates theory, application, and innovation in a number of areas, but the following sub-areas are emphasized:


  • Computational Design and Morphology
  • Parametric Design and Shape Grammars
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Smart Materials and Smart Structures
  • Interaction design and evaluation at multiple scales of the built and natural environment
  • History and theory of digital tools, methods and environments artifacts
  • Visualization


  • ARCH 6990-001 Virtual Reality Assisted Design to Fabrication  (Lee)
    This course examines the potential for Virtual and Mixed Reality Environments (VR/MR) as a design and fabrication tool. Specifically, we will test the use of MR as a fabrication ‘assistant’ in 1:1 construction. Cross-listed with ARCH 4990 Computation Design Group CI. Graduate students need to contact the instructor for permission. 
  • ARCH 6690-001 Digital Ecologies – Applied Mapping  (Newman)
    This course looks at mapping and map-making as part of the decision space for design. Students will learn to critically evaluate, analyze and identify the mapping procedure, how maps are structured, their terms and utility. 
  • ARCH 8760 Kinetic Structures (Blouin)
  • ARCH 8790 Digital Manufacturing (Hecker)
  • ARCH 8570 Studio V (Kleiss)
  • ARCH 8570 Studio V-Tailoring Architecture (Choma)
    The studio will consist of two parts: research and design. The first part will follow a teaching through research, research through teaching pedagogical approach, where the students will collaborate with the professor on calibrating fabric formworks for concrete according to fabrication and structural criteria. This part will include three workshops which move from textured wall panels to columns to shell structures. Each student will be responsible for designing and making physical prototypes (smaller than full-scale, but larger than a model). The second half of the semester will focus on applying the research into a designed building. Working in teams of two, students will design a new building for the School of Fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design. The new building will express the creative ambitions of the department, while also projecting a possible future for the construction industry. How can columns and floor slabs be designed and fabricated like a pair of pants? How can pleats be used to tailor a vault and orient structural forces? These are just a couple of the questions this studio will use as generative devices.  
  • ARCH 8570 Studio V (Harding)


  • ARCH 8129 Computational Design / Fabrication Methods  (Lee and Sutherland)
    Introduction to computational design with emphasis on parametric and algorithmic design tools presented as case studies and investigated in a hands-on environment. This course will incorporate robotic fabrication research for the optimization of variable mold making strategies for cast architectural elements. You will learn Grasshopper for Rhino and various CNC equipment in this course. It is recommended to take ARCH 8570 concurrently. 
  • ARCH 8790 Design Science (Barrios Kleiss)
    Design Science studies theories and practices of creativity and collaborative work through formalistic models of visual design analysis, formal composition, and computational design. Special emphasis is on Shape Grammars and Parametric and Generative Design.
  • ARCH 8570 Lunar eXploration Systems and Habitation (X-Hab) (Newman and Sutherland)
    Student teams will design, manufacture, assemble, test, and demonstrate functional prototypical subsystems and innovations that enable increased functionality for human space exploration missions. The prototypes produced by the teams may be integrated into existing NASA-built operational prototypes. It is recommended to take ARCH 8129 Computational Design concurrently.
  • ARCH 8570 Los Angeles Studio: ADD_home – The Additive Manufactured Home (Hecker)
    The term 3d printing has in recent years given way to the term additive manufacturing. The significance of this evolution in terminology confirms the shift of the 3d printer from a representational and prototyping device to a manufacturing device capable of producing entire buildings out of any material that can be pulverized into powder or formed into filament.


The D+E program is intended for graduate students interested in developing requisite skills and knowledge in domain areas associated with computational thinking and design. Students lead research in the built environment driven by the technologies, systems, and data used to address challenges facing South Carolina, the nation, and the world in the 21st century. The domain areas of the certificate contribute to resilient and sustainable environments, materials and systems through design innovation, critical thinking, and engaged learning, extending the values of the University to serve the public good through research and engagement.

The certificate requires 15 credit hours of design studios, research time* and courses at Clemson or one of the Clemson Fluid campuses. The credits can additionally be used to partially fulfill the requirements of the M. Arch and M.S Arch. The earned certificate is acknowledged on the recipient’s academic transcript. Applicants interested in the certificate program should signify their intent at the time of admission but may qualify for the program at any time during their study upon completion of the required credits. Students need to complete the minimum credit hours prior to graduation; submit a completed Graduate Certificate Curriculum Form to the School office for signatures, and submit this signed form with the required form for requesting graduation.

MASTER STUDENTS | Fluid Studio + 3 Elective Courses

PHD STUDENTS | 6 cr. Research Time + 3 Elective Courses

Sample Curriculum: 

Semester 4 Spring

  • Digital Ecologies Elective
  • ARCH/LARC 8570 D+E Fluid Studio (For students taking studio in Sem. 4, Elective is required co-requisite)
Semester 5 Fall
  • ARCH/LARC 8570 D+E Fluid Studio or Ph.D. Research Time
  • ARCH/LARC 8000 or abo. 1-2 Electives (1 Elective required co-requisite with studio)


  • Computation Design Methods ARCH 8120, Spring
  • Smart Materials & Kinetic Structures ARCH 8760, Fall
  • Digital Manufacturing Processes ARCH 8780, Fall
  • Interactive, Responsive and Assistive Artifacts and Environments ARCH 8790 Special Topics in Architectural Technology, Spring
  • Directed Studies in Landscape Architecture LARC 8900, Fall and Spring
  • Directed Studies in Architecture ARCH 8900, Fall and Spring
  • Selected Topics in Architectural Technology ARCH 8790, Fall and Spring

*Research time is for PHD students only.
This is a STEM designated program: CIP code 04.0902 (architectural and building sciences/technology)
For the Graduate School forms and submission procedures, see


Tessalation Morphology

Clemson University 2016 Fall Semester Professor Carlos Barrios Kleiss Morphology Studio, Students Harrison Polk and Matthew Krider. All the patterns shown are created from a single shape. Video of same process with additional shapes: Songs are not original by author. Only used as background music, ODESZA - "Say My Name" (Instrumental).