Becoming Bio-digital: Coding… Cultivating… Testing…

Can grown materials replace manufactured materials?

Can the products of natural processes lead us toward more ecological cities?

Can biological processes be harnessed to improve our built environments?


The IaaC GSS Melbourne node seeks to explore alternative processes to mitigating the environmental impact of a world of unprecedented urbanisation. Our existing built environment and manufacturing models exploit and deplete our physical and biological natural resources, and produce byproducts which we now understand to have harmful consequences.

At the same time, we recognise that natural processes involve closed-loop processes, in which pollutants are fuel for further processes. Ecologies of organisms ensure that what might be toxic for one species is sequestered by another, ensuring the quality of air, soil and water. How can designers and architects employ natural processes to create the material fabric of tomorrow’s world? How can designers and architects harness natural processes to improve the quality of the environments we design? How can designers and architects embrace the variability of the natural world to enrich our surroundings?

This IaaC GSS node will take a multidisciplinary approach that draws inspiration, technology and knowledge from biological science, algorithmic design and digital fabrication.

Through building and making, participants will collaborate with biologists, engineers, designers and architects to probe, experiment with, and test bio-materials and explore their fabrication potential and performance qualities. Participants will use parametric design tools, digital fabrication techniques, and laboratory science equipment to investigate geometric informed by biology as they propose functional components grown from bio-materials.

The Melbourne IaaC GSS node invites applicants from diverse fields and backgrounds who share a common interest in multidisciplinary learning in design and biology, and are interested in design experimentation and speculation through coupling digital coding with biological cultivating, and testing their proposals as they explore low energy, renewable and polyvalent alternatives to existing paradigms of building and manufacturing.


IAAC Global Summer School is a full-time two weeks course, 1-14 July 2019, that provides both practical and theoretical knowledge. The program is led by expert tutors, combined with lectures by renowned professionals and academics relevant to the topics to be treated during the course. These will be broadcast in the different node-cities, all globally connected. Participants will join a global agenda and an international laboratory at their disposal to test their design hypothesis, understanding how design conclusions derived locally can be tested and evolved globally in the different cities where other teams reside.

The organising team in Melbourne is part of Swinburne University School of Design, School of Science and School of Engineering.

The final project will be exhibited on the Swinburne University Campus for ongoing interaction of students and academics from diverse disciplines.





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John Stanislav Sadar is Associate Professor and Course Director of Architecture at Swinburne University of Technology. From 2016 through 2017, he taught Interior Design at Parsons School of Design in New York, and from 2009 through 2015, he was Senior Lecturer in Architectural Technology and Design in the Department of Architecture at Monash University in Melbourne. He completed studies at McGill University in Montréal, Aalto University in Helsinki, and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He has worked in private practice in Finland, Slovenia, Canada, and the USA, and is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary design studio Little Wonder. Their work is concerned with the relationship between objects and sensory perception, and has been published, exhibited and manufactured internationally.

Sadar is interested in how buildings and artefacts mediate the relationship between the body and the natural world looking at how the task of designing our constructed environments can forge deeper connections between us and the wider world.


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Canhui Chen is a Lecturer in Architectural Design at Swinburne University of Technology where he teaches second-year architecture studios specialising in Digital Fabrication and Construction.

Prior to joining Swinburne, Canhui ran architectural design studios at the Melbourne School of Design focused on how digital design brings new life to traditional manufacturing techniques; a subject explored in his past five years of research. He led the digital fabrication stream in the Master of Design Innovation and Technology at RMIT as an industry fellow from 2016-2017. Canhui has also run workshops at international conferences including Smart Geometry and CAADRIA (The Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia).

Canhui’s interests are centred around exploring the synergic relationship between computational modelling with manufacturing techniques and fabrication process, embracing possibilities and opportunities.


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Ravi Bessabava is trained as an architect, specialising in environmental design, parametric modelling and fabrication. With his expertise in an extensive range of fabrication techniques, machine operation and software packages, Ravi is a current member at Design Factory Melbourne and FHAD ProtoLab, at the Swinburne University of Technology.

He has worked on a variety of projects including the design, analysis and construction of an innovative tensile festival stage structure, adoption of augmented reality for the design and fabrication of sculptures and a collaborative project to develop and run a robotic insect art car with integrated sound and lighting.


Main location

Swinburne University of Technology

Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre (AMDC)

Address: 453/469-477 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122

other locations

Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC)

Applied Science Building (AS)



IAAC GSS is open to creative and innovative people who are interested in fields such as architecture, urban planning, digital fabrication, design, etc., searching for a multidisciplinary experience in an international environment. No previous skills are required, although CAD design, programming and digital fabrication skills are welcome. The official language of the course is English.


After the course, the participants will have gained theoretical and applicative knowledge about advanced design strategies. They will be familiar with parametric software, data visualization and use of digital machines. The last day of course participants will join a presentation of developed projects reviewed by a renown jury and will receive a Global Summer School Diploma.


Each participant is responsible to investigate which documents are required via the embassies in their country of origin. The participant will receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite, and the school will assist, where possible, the visa process.


Fee for Melbourne is 1000 AUD and includes all material costs needed for the course. No additional registration fee is required. Flight tickets, accommodation and food are not included in the fee. Each participant should bring his/her own computer with the software installed. Further details about the software will be given to the participants upon acceptance.


In order to register to the Global Summer School, participants need to submit the online application form, where they will be asked to fill their personal details. Portfolio and CV are not required. GSS19 dates are from 1-14 of July 2019 and applications are open until June 2019.

For more information email: [email protected]