This research attempts to repair the perceived loss of a critical process in architectural design: the ability of ar- chitectural modeling to function as analysis through making. Traditional (analogue) architectural modeling func- tions as nexus of haptic engagement with material properties acting under spatial conditions. Here mak- ing-as-analysis—operates on sensory, intuitive, and indirect channels of intelligence, in direct dialogue with the design object. The reaction of the design object, through its material properties acting in spatial forces, is essen- tial to making-as-analysis. These reactions provide feedback through modeling during the design process, thus provide design objects with agency to affect their making. The perpetual interaction of spatial and material properties key to design object agency is referred to in this research as spatiomateriality.
Architectural modeling as making-as-analysis has been severely impacted by the separation of architects from the design object and the design object from context—as a result of working digitally, where the design object is isolated in the computer. Therefore the initial research aim was to establish spatiomateriality in digital archi- tectural modeling. To this end, the research improvises and develops a hybrid analogue-digital modeling tech- nique. The first discovery using this technique is that—spatiomateriality is an existing condition of digital space! This finding pivots the research aim, and thereby defines its main contribution: a hybrid modeling technique1 accessing and establishing digital spatiomaterial engagement as the basis for digital architectural modeling. Further, this research contributes the concept of spatiomaterial as bonded space-matter, the dynamic media of ‘live’ design objects with agency. The importance of digital spatiomaterial modeling to architectural making-as-analysis cannot be overstated. Digital spatiomaterial modeling ensures that design objects are the result of their specific materiality and behaviors thereof, (flexible, rigid, soft, tense, etc.)2 combined with their siting (flat ground, suspended, tilted, etc.). Such factors become the basis of design decisions and as such, this research has the potential to evolve digital modeling, and by implication architecture, from its current largely hylomorphic practice.