Teaching Fund – Comparative Modelling

Title: Comparative Modelling: Understanding the relationship of digital and physical design in architecture
Principal Investigator: Eike Schling
Co-Investigator: Sherene Ng, Jason Bond, Christian Johannes Lange
Type: Teaching Development Grant 2021
Received by: Teaching and Learning Quality Committee, HKU
Start Date: 01.09.2021
Scheduled Completion: 31.8.2022
Sum Awarded: 299,880 HK$
Office: The University of Hong Kong, Department of Architecture


Digital modelling and simulation of structures have become an essential part of architectural design. This trend is accelerated through COVID-induced online learning and teaching. In architecture, students and professionals rely on algorithms in order to find a form, predict its behaviour, and argue for specific design solutions. Digital methods save cost and time, and allow to increase the scope of experiments. However, a purely digital workflow is susceptible to error and manipulation, overlooking fundamental practical challenges, such as tolerances, fabrication process, assembly and load-bearing behaviour.

This project aims to investigate the relationship between theory and practice in building technology through comparative modelling (CM). By creating digital and physical models of the same design, and comparing their behaviour differences, we create evidence of the relationship and limitations of modelling. The experiences will be shared through interactive exhibitions and collected in online repositories for future discussion and teaching.

We will collaborate with former students, computational designers and engineers, to created tailored course assignments that are driven by comparative digital and physical prototyping. We implement a communication-intensive teaching environment producing short video documentation to exhibit and disseminate knowledge. We further promote the construction of full-scale prototypes in collaboration with international and interdisciplinary academic and industry partners, and involve students in a Design Research methodology.

About eikeschling

Dr.-Ing. | Architect BYAK Assistant Professor in Architectural Structures The University of Hong Kong

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