Leire Asensio Villoria and David Mah on decoding and upgrading design systems, reverse engineering the creative process, knowledge dissemination, the long tail of niches, Erwin Hauer and associative models, book writing and publishing, and much more.
Leire Asensio is a senior lecturer in urban design and architecture and Co-Director of the Advance Digital Design + Fabrication (ADD+F) at the University of Melbourne’s school of design.
David Mah is a senior lecturer in urban design and architecture at the University of Melbourne’s school of design.
Previously, both Leire and David were lecturers at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (2010-2017), design research leads for the Health and Places Initiative, a research collaboration that studied the links between the built environment and health outcomes, and taught design and theory at Cornell University’s department of architecture (2006-2010) and Landscape Urbanism at the graduate design school of the Architectural Association in London (2004-2007).
Leire and David have worked within several international design practices, including Zaha Hadid Architects, FOA (David), or Arup (Leire), engaging in the design and delivery of urban designs and architectural projects
Leire and David have been collaborating as asensio_mah since 2002. They’ve authored the books Systems Upgrade: (Re)fabricating Tectonic Prototypes (2022, Actar) and Lifestyled: Health and Places (2016, Jovis) and have been active in the production of architectural and creative works, exhibited internationally including at the Royal Academy of Art in London and The Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York and featured in professional books and journals published by Birkhauser, Evolo, Lars Muller, Actar and Routledge amongst others.
In this episode, we discuss their latest book, Systems Upgrade, which offers a design research approach that leverages the embodied knowledge latent within the material legacies of design history for direct applicability in creative practice.
- Systems Upgrade by Leire Asensio Villoria and David Mah
- The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
- Translations from Drawing to Building by Robin Evans
- Suture curve
- Continua surface
- Reconstruction of the Dresden cathedral
- Sagrada Familia
- Visual programming
- Digital Project
- The Long Tail by Chris Anderson in WIRED
- Nike by You
- Objectile by Bernard Cache and Patrick Beaucé
- DALL-E by OpenAI
- Stable Diffusion
- Erwin Hauer
- Enrique Rosado
- Joseph Albers
- Sheila Hicks
- Jørn Utzon
- Miguel Fisac
- Buckminster Fuller
- Eladio Dieste
- Victor Papanek
- Antoni Gaudí
- Chris Anderson
- Robin Evans
- 00:00 · Introduction
- 00:36 · Erwin Hauer
- 02:22 · Associative models
- 04:18 · Erwin Hauer's model making
- 07:03 · Limitations of digital tools
- 09:39 · Systems Upgrade book
- 11:10 · Reverse engineering
- 26:09 · Decoding Erwin Hauer
- 30:21 · Authorship and knowledge dissemination
- 36:48 · Visual programming
- 41:39 · Selling less of more
- 46:54 · Individualizing everything
- 49:23 · Context
- 53:18 · Book writing and publishing
- 01:02:49 · Creative process
- 01:11:13 · AI content generation
- 01:17:42 · Thanks
- 01:18:43 · Outro
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