Aerial Stigmergy V1.0 Workshop - April 27 / May 2, Barcelona (Spain)

Aerial Stigmergy V1.0 Workshop
April 27 / May 02
6 days, from 9:30 to 18:00
Barcelona (Spain)

Over time, robots have become more capable of matching and exceeding human capabilities, even though at the beginning of the robotics age, some employments still seemed beyond their reach. Still, robots are no longer merely passive onlookers capturing information about an environment, they are engaging with it through manipulation, construction, and interaction.

Against this backdrop, aerial robotics became a common applied research tool for many different fields. In construction drones are usually deployed for carrying out inspection, surveying, and mapping tasks in complex or dangerous environments that are barely accessible to humans and heavy machinery. These robots are capable of going beyond the simple gathering of data. They actively contribute to building processes, instructed by generative design algorithms that translate digital data into flight paths and behaviors.

This research focuses on the application of drone technology to collect data for the design process, creating new knowledge that culminates in the development of a new design methods. Hence a new paradigm leading towards generative design emerges.

The Aerial Stigmergy workshop, organized by Noumena and Design Morphine, is one week of learning experience designed as an immersive journey in aerial robotics, open innovation, computational design, digital fabrication, and collaborative culture. The tool set includes, but is not limited to, Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Processing, as well as analysis software. It is intended for students of Architecture and Urbanism as well as professional architects, designers, and artists interested in contemporary digital design techniques.


Aerial Stigmergy aims to investigate a non-conventional construction system informed by environmental data collected by aerial robots. It will explore generative design methodology based on data driven strategies. The workshop will be a team-based program and will be divided into different phases through which participants will build up several skills and develop their own design strategies.

Flight Control and Mapping Environment

The first phase of the workshop is about understanding software and hardware for flying and measuring environmental data. Participants will learn diverse strategies to fly the drone autonomously in an optimized way, to map terrain via near-infrared filtered camera, and to sense the environment through the Smart Citizen board, which is able to collect data about temperature, humidity, noise and CO2.

Visualizing and Interpreting Data

Participants will then embrace computational techniques to organize and visualize data gained during the first stage, by generating environmental 3D cartography. Using these maps and database as resourceful informative documents will generate ideas for further speculations on the potentials of generative design proposals.

Generative Design Strategies

In response to the data values and 3D cartography of mapped areas, a series of agent-based generative strategies will be proposed.

With constant feedback, architecture is no longer designed, then built. Instead it adapts over time to the informed data. This stage explores bottom up methodologies for time-based design in response to environmental data. Inspired by nature, students will design with behavioral rules for flocking, stigmergy, and 3D formations. This will generate a catalog of simulations of 4D objects that will be evaluated based on specific design brief and criteria explored by each team.

What you will learn

  • Drone flight control using Mission Planner
  • Collecting data with drone and visualizing data using the Noumena library add-on for Grasshopper
  • Understanding of nature-inspired design and adaptive architectural systems
  • Understanding of evolutionary computational principles
  • Introduction to Generative Design and Agent Based Modeling in Processing
  • Introduction to Rhinoceros and Grasshopper
  • Introduction to Mesh Modeling in Grasshopper from points with Cocoon and smoothness with Weaverbird
  • Visualization and rendering techniques with KeyShot


  • Daily meetings will take place from 9:30 to 18:00.
  • There will be a final presentation of your group’s work containing renderings and diagrams on May 2, 2017.
  • All works will be published on Design Morphine web page.
  • All participants who complete the workshop will receive a certificate of completion.
  • To attend the workshop and intensive courses, no previous software experience is required.
  • Participants need to bring their own laptops or workstations.
  • Places are very limited and will be assigned on a first-pay, first-served basis.

Late registration: March 27, 2017.


Aldo Sollazzo
Founder @ Noumena
Founder @ Fab Lab Frosinone
Director @ Reshape
Head of IAAC Visiting Programs
Master in Advanced Architecture @ IAAC

Eugenio Bettucchi
Partner @ Noumena

Martina Rosati
Member @ DesignMorphine
Architectural Assistant @ Zaha Hadid Architects
MArch AA Design Research Lab

Alejandro García Gadea
Member @ DesignMorphine
ARB Part III Registered Architect in United Kingdom
MArch AA Design Research Lab

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Posted Feb 13, 2017 by Elena Caneva on Rhino News, etc.