Designing the Dynamic brought together architects and other built environment designers with specialists from sail design, sailing, mathematics, engineering, and material science to immerse them in the extreme dynamic context of sailing and sail boat design

In sailboat racing tiny increments in boat performance are critical to the chance of winning. Recorded and tacit knowledge of the experienced sailor are as critical to success as scientific analysis. The fastest route is never the shortest.

Architects, engineers, designers, mathematicians were invited to sharpen their wits together by considering the playoff of hydrofoil and aerofoil, vessel and team behaviour and decision-making.

The aim was to build virtual and physical simulation tools and design prototypes that represented the complex trade offs in ways that supported intuitive design decision-making.

Taking multi-disciplinary approach to explore the twist performance of the sailing the group aimed to increase the speed of the sailing boat by controlling the shape of the sail parametrically. For that we had to clearly understand the dynamics of sailing such as wind factors and all the variables around. Aspects of digital virtual simulation and analogue testing with physical models. We spent time in the lab, the pool and Phillip Bay, Melbourne for testing, validating and enjoying sailing.

"...sailing is a natural-science, sailing is a social-science, sailing a  non-science but the experiential and emotional act of engaging with nature on a man-made artifice to take advantage to what is given to us - wind. Sailing is performance but also beauty, the crew and the individual. The aesthetics of sailboat fabrication emerges from the science of computing and manufacturing out of templates... the final validation is the human eye - the expert's wise inspection where the tacit take over the explicit... an iterative interplay of rationality and intuition. The loop is thus closed by visual validation - under the feel/looks good factor. Hand sketching and sculpting is part of the process; scripting and construction computing is what makes it real. Carving a beautiful high-performance, yet fragile structure, is what our assignment is!"

There is a reason for naming this blog architecture with at twist - twist is a technical term in sailing which applies to the sail itself and the angle of attack onto the sail, wind pressure points and that sort of thing.... we worked on such TWIST for about a week to achieve "absolute speed"!

From eCAADe 2012 paper: Trade off and Real Time Analysis Feedback for Designers: Sailing as a research vehicle for developing systems and skills

"This paper reports on a design research project to investigate processes and systems for real time dynamic feedback to inform design decision-making. It took place principally within a four-day research workshop called ‘Designing the Dynamic’ 21-25 November 2011. This project was responding to the following challenge. “Sailing fast to windward is a fine balance between boat speed and pointing ability - as close to the wind as possible. The Design Crew will develop geometric systems, which mimic the controls for rig tuning and sail shape. Mast bend flattens the sail - which reduces power but improves pointing ability. Also, for any condition there is an ideal combination of tension on the three edges of a sail - which control depth, draft and twist. Simulations will be developed which aim to give dynamic performance feedback - leading to optimal responses evaluated for different tactical situations. Exploring the trade-off between speed and pointing requires continual small adjustments that anticipate and reflect every variation in wind speed or direction. Crew responses must be choreographed so that some are synchronised while others must be performed in a sequence of tuning loops. Can the predictions of the Trade off and Real Time Analysis Feedback for Designers Sailing as a research vehicle for developing systems and skills

This paper describes the investigation and outcomes of a workshop aiming to answer the dual questions of how best to link technologies and how best to harness expert knowledge to capture and integrate dynamic performance feedback in the design process. In order to focus on these intrinsic questions, the workshop moved outside the domain most familiar to most of the participants, the built environment, and introduced the participants to design and performance feedback for what, to most, was the new domain of sailing and sail design. It resulted in novel and valuable prototypical systems for analysis and feedback to inform immediate design iteration. It achieved this through problem decomposition and synthetic design activity engaging integrated models and prototypes with components from multiple players and sources of informed or expert knowledge or knowing. Keywords. Design feedback; nested systems; sailing; interaction design.

New Design Concepts and Strategies scientists confirm and inform the experience of the sailors? That is the challenge!” (Whitehead, 2011) All the members of the project group had practiced, studied, and/or professed architecture. For many it was not their first discipline or sole area of expertise. Individually group members also variously had knowledge of computer science, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, sailing, racing boat building, construction and project management and fabrication. Expert mathematical input was also on hand. This experiment involved specialist knowledge in combination with a generalist understanding of the design context and objectives. Architects usually assume the generalist role but in this case many adopted both mantels. This was tested by Carlile studies (2002 and 2004) and is extensibly explained in Lawson and Dorst (2009)."

Link to eCAADe paper 

Year: 2011

Team: Mark Burry, Andre Chazar, Yan Ding, Jessica Dunn, Peter Felicetti, Nick Flutter, Dominik Holzer, Kristoffer Josefsson, Axel Kilian, Tom Kvan, Asha Rao, and Malte Wagenfeld, Tim Black BKK, John Frazer, Tim Daddo, Brad and Barry Marmion. Guillermo Aranda-Mena, Sascha Bohnenberger, Jane Burry, Daniel Davis, Chin Koi Khoo, Alex Pena de Leon, Rafael Moya Castro, Flora Salim, Mani Williams and Suleiman Alhadidi.