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School of Architecture

Digital Ecologies

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


Treated Glulam Timber Columns with Steel Joints, Biblioteca Sotto L’Onda

Clemson University 2020 Fall Semester Professor Miguel Roldan ARCH Study Abroad Program (Genova), Student: Sarah Smith, Scott Dignacco, Austin Lemere

Since there is so much weight to be support up top, we made sure that our columns and connections to the supporting beams were sturdy. Although the columns are thin, there is a looped connection at the base with a an elastic band to keep it from lifting out of the base. Throughout the column, there are a series of “coins” to keep the columns from shifting within itself.We paid close attention to the connection at the top of the column to the longitudinal beam that supports the canopy and kinetic system. The longitudinal beam is at an angle, and as one can see in the first iteration, there was a lot of movement as the beam would teeter or want to slide off. To solve this problem, we implemented a bracing system to stop the beam from teetering, and allowed us to safely build up.

  • Program Requirements

    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

  • Fall 2021 Course Offerings

    There will be at least four digital ecologies electives in the Fall (see below) and two Fluid Studios, one offered by Prof. Michael Carlos Barrios Kleiss and the other by Prof. Joseph Choma that satisfy the DE requirements. Courses suited to online instruction if required are noted. If you take studio and one or two of the electives you will complete 12 credits, with three elective it would be all 15 credits. Depending on your load, we will certainly have additional courses in the Spring that will fulfill the DE requirement.

    • ARCH 8760 Smart Materials and Kinetic Structures  (Blouin)

    • ARCH 6690-001 Digital Ecologies – Applied Mapping  (Newman)

    • ARCH 6990-001 – (CRN 83663) Immersive Virtual Environments  (Lee)

    • ARCH 8570 – Design Studio V  (Kleiss)

    • ARCH 8570 –Design Studio V  (Choma)
  • Spring 2021 Course Offerings

    There will be at least three digital ecologies Fluid Studios in the Fall (see below) and two electives. Courses suited to online instruction if required are noted. If you take studio and one or two of the electives you will complete 12 credits, with three elective it would be all 15 credits. Depending on your load, we have a good number of courses this Spring to help you fulfill the DE requirement.

    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 8520 Moon2MARS eXploration Workspace 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 8120 Computational Design or ARCH 8590 User-Centered Design concurrently.

    ARCH 8590 User-Centered Design of Interactive Responsive and Assistive Artifacts and Environments   (Schafer)
    This course will focus on understanding, developing and testing interactive, robotics and technology-embedded systems for the built environment. The studio/seminar format will provide an intensive project-based introduction to interaction design, oriented toward practical methods for designing interactive systems. Students will develop working prototypes responsive to challenges and opportunities of living in the built and natural environments today.It is recommended to take a digital ecologies ARCH 8520 Fluid Studio concurrently.

    CPSC 4820/6820 section 1  (Ullmer)
    Design and implementation of software and hardware systems toward realization of tangible and embodied interfaces. Discusses techniques for mixed physical and virtual representation and control of computationally-mediated systems. Includes hands-on projects designing and realizing tracked physical tokens, multitouch systems, embedded electronics, physical fabrication, and architectural installations.
    This class will incorporate a major hands-on projects component. Students will work in four-person teams, on a combined multi-stage semester-long project. Each team will be composed of two subteams: two students focusing on content, and two on platform. Student feedback will be used to select two or three content alternatives, and several platform alternatives. All project platforms will combine one or multiple screens; and one or multiple physical tokens. Projects will also incorporate one or more Raspberry Pi, Arduino and/or Circuit Python Express (embedded Python), HMD, tablet/smartphone, NFC/RFID reader, and/or other technologies.


Anomura Little House Assembly

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.

School of Architecture
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