design by data advanced masters designboomnews


the design by data advanced master course provides attendees with a cross-disciplinary understanding of computational design and cutting-edge technologies in the fields of parametric architecture, robotics, digital manufacturing and 3D printing for the construction industry. the program is tailored specifically for architects, engineers and designers, offering a variety of fascinating fabrication and prototyping workshops, conferences, digital talks and prestigious networking events. it is run by the renowned école des ponts paris tech and takes place at a number of locations across the french capital, including innovation hubs, co-working spaces, art galleries and fablabs. as a 12 month executive part-time course, which consumes one week per month but includes 350 hours of teaching, a final project and a thesis, candidates can continue their professional activities or make use of these facilities for their own research.


applications are open for the second edition of the design by data advanced masters, which begins in september 2017.

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projet synapses
image © WAO architecture



the course unites high-level scientific research with the popular fablab culture, as the école des ponts paris tech has partnered with some of the most active co-working spaces in the city. this not only offers students with the best collaborative learning experience, but also provides them with unrestricted access to the workspaces and their digital fabrication tools. as well, the program’s main academic partner is the navier laboratory – a 170 personnel mixed research unit of école des ponts paris tech, IFSTTAR and CNRS – which includes a team dedicated to structural engineering and materials. the laboratory, together with the research community thinkshell, strongly support the design by data program by following students’ research from a scientific perspective.

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école des ponts paris tech’s main venue for design by data



the design by data advanced masters program is led by director francesco cingolani, who is an architect, professor and co founder of volumes – an innovation hub in paris. his projects and research focus on the exploration of new possibilities for innovation by merging design, architecture and engineering.


I see digital design nowadays as an extremely interesting opportunity to go beyond the traditional boundaries separating different fields (architecture, engineering and design) and different scales (urban planning, building construction and interior design)‘, says director francesco cingolani.manipulating data and creating a design process based on them requires a new set of skills and there is a growing need for them in architecture practices and in the construction industry.

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architect and engineer minh man nguyen
image © ophelia noor



additionally, architect and engineer minh man nguyen, who is the co-director of architectural practice WAO, is in charge of the digital manufacturing area in design by data. his work on the ‘parametric staircase’ project exemplifies the possibly fabrication processes taught on the course. the staircase was designed as part of a house elevation in the parisian suburbs. regarding the existing context, the architectural bias was to create a fluid articulation between the ground floor and the new one,‘ stated nguyen. using parametric design, WAO composed a series of CNC-milled wood profiles that generate steps on the upper face whilst sculpting a flowing shape on the sub-face. as well, the blades were vertically stretched to create handrails for the staircase and the opening slabs.

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‘parametric staircase’ by WAO architects


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the series of CNC-milled wood profiles create steps as well as a fluid sculpture beneath



furthermore, the design by data program joins and is supported by a wide range of professional partners who all work within the discipline of computational design at many different scales. this includes hugh dutton, founder and director of HDA architecture studio, who’s portfolio lists the spanning sun-screening blades of the ‘climate ribbon™’ that provides an effective microclimate underneath; franck boutté consultants, a team of engineers, architects and urban planners who specialize in environmental design, strategic thinking and computational urbanism; and several fablabs who apply digital design and manufacturing on furniture and interior design disciplines.

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temporary cathedral in paris, 2013 – composite materials gridshell – designed by T/E/S/S + navier research lab (école des ponts paris tech)



the inaugural edition of the design by data advanced masters program, which ran from 2016 to 2017, involved 14 students from numerous nations, including colombia, australia, spain, france, morocco and india. like these participants, potential applicants are encouraged to have a background in architecture and structural engineering. however, the course is open to unconventional and specifically selected profiles who might come from digital arts and natural science education. during the academic year, students develop a research project that ends with a final prototype, whilst in collaboration with a company or as an entrepreneurship. current work includes; robotic fabrication tools that are applied to traditional stone buildings, cinetic façades, micro-architecture and a furniture start-up based on neuroscience data.

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CLIMATE RIBBON™ is the roof of brickell city centre in miami
designer : hugh dutton associés
main architect : arquitectonica
image © jimmy baikovicius



école des ponts paris tech, which was founded back in 1747 under the name école royale des ponts et chaussées, is a higher education establishment that trains engineers and designers to a high level of scientific, technical and general competency. it is one of the most prestigious engineering institutions in europe, advocating for continuous innovation in the future of building and design. this strong desire led to the creation of the design by data advanced masters course in 2015.


applications are open for the second edition of the design by data advanced masters, which begins in september 2017. to find out more about the program and how to apply, visit;

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the steps of the urban optimisation process based on computational design applied to urbanism
image © franck boutté consultants