home / past work (academic) / symbiogenesis

in studio MXD, epfl, 2011

with mariko tsunooka (jp)


winner / best-of architecture prize (archizoom, epfl), 2011

published & exhibited / best-of architecture, 2011, archizoom, epfl

exhibited /  Roman-Getaz, switzerland (2012)

exhibited / uae-swiss research day, epfl (2011)

Master plan & project proposal for the Swiss EPFL offshore campus in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.







symbiogenesis is the driving force of this campus design proposal. it describes a system whose evolution is driven by symbiosis, where entities are able to function both autonomously and as a network, merging to form new organisms. the goal was to create a campus that embodies these interactions, and fosters interdisciplinary relationships.


the design is parametric, based on a diffusion-limited aggregation model (DLA/ pattern found in nature: lichen, thunder, crystals) allowing an efficient occupation of site and new, network-based configurations of connecting spaces. the model feeds on site data such as topography, relative heights (natural water accumulation paths), and sun exposure.


the model was translated into a triangulated canopy  that exacerbates the underlying topography, bringing used water from the more individual branches down to the green common courtyards. the campus program is located underneath the canopy. common program is placed closer to primary nodes (courtyards and circulation spaces) whereas individual cells spread out to the dendrites. 


the project attempts to integrate local cultural specificities: a “backdoor” overlap between the private and public spheres is commonly observed in the Gulf. through the residual informal spaces on the fringe, we seek to foster and accentuate social interaction in a more intimate space, from which professional and academic collaboration can start to grow.

spatial distribution
water accumulation points
dla aggregation model 01

parametric design process

feeding on site data : relative height and natural water accumulation paths

DLA model - early stage

dla aggregation model 02

DLA model - advanced stage

spatial distribution

Diffusion-limited aggregation model - parametric visualization of density variation

Diffusion-limited aggregation model - parametric visualization of growth variation

cross section

long section

nodes : intersections connecting public spaces

above / partial physical model - under the canopy

opposite / the boundary : fostering informal interaction 

partial exploded axonometric view

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