Emergent Design (Tom Wiscombe)


Through his firm Emergent Design, Tom Wiscombe approaches computational architecture from a critical perspective in which the built form is the product of a process and of systems functioning in synergy. It refers as much to art as to models from genetic biology, the sciences and mathematics. A partner of the Coop Himmelb(l)au firm on numerous projects, Tom Wiscombe stands out for his bio-constructivist approach to architecture. For Emergent Design, architecture is more about designing systems than objects: as a project progresses, elements can appear or disappear, like certain characteristics in the evolution of a species. Architecture is therefore defined as consisting of living networks: the interconnection of parts and elements, according to simple rules, which gradually build various forms of behavior and events into the form.

Beginning his career as an intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Tom Wiscombe took part in important projects on the Coop Himmelb(l)au team, notably for the UFA Palace of Cinema in Dresden (1998), the BMW Welt in Munich (2007) and the Museum of the Confluences in Lyon (under construction). In 1999, in Los Angeles, he founded his firm, Emergent Design, and in parallel, in 2008 founded his company, Crystalline Rapid Prototyping, specialized in rapid design and prototyping for the automobile, aerospace and animated image industries. A previous student of UCLA and UC Berkeley, today Tom Wiscombe teaches at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles, at UCLA, at the University of Applied Arts of Vienna as well as at Woodbury University.

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