Digital architecture: main features, architects, examples

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Digital architecture: main features, architects, examples
Digital architecture: main features, architects, examples

Video: Digital architecture: main features, architects, examples

Video: Digital architecture: main features, architects, examples
Video: AI-Powered Architectural Design Visualization Workflow that Every Architect Should Know | D5 Render 2023, September

Digital architecture is a new breath of the digital age of mankind. It is fundamentally different from other styles (baroque, classicism, empire, postmodernism, minimalism, gothic) not only in its external parameters, but also in its internal structures. You can learn more about this direction by reading this article.

General characteristics

The term "digital architecture" was first used in the early nineties. During these years, there was a constant search for new opportunities for self-expression and ways of shaping. Focusing on the development of science and technology, the architects settled on computer technology. Digital in translation from English means digital, which, in fact, explains the name.

architecture in Russia
architecture in Russia

Here no one is guided by aesthetic preferences. In this case, everything determines the functionality of the buildings, their environmental friendliness and dynamism. The latter, moreover, accurately characterizes the message of digital architecture.

Causes of occurrence

The information age is takingits beginnings in the middle of the twentieth century. In the fifties, computational methods and computers influenced the development of architecture, but did not fundamentally change traditional methods. The digital stage of human development (translated digital - digital, electronic or computer) started in the late 1990s, when the technological revolution began.

digital architecture new design methods
digital architecture new design methods

Due to significant differences from already established opinions about architecture in general, the parametric direction has two main problems along the way:

  1. The need to rethink the fundamental principles of shaping.
  2. The need to reconsider the objects of architectural transformation, i.e. the space of human habitation.

Modern architects must take into account the requirements of technology and the lightning-fast merging of the virtual and real worlds. Here we are talking not about the architecture itself, but about the reality of man and his culture. And the twenty-first century is directly related to electronic, information and post-information culture.


Digital architecture is based on the use of computer modeling, programming and visualization techniques to create both virtual and physical buildings. The basis for creation is a set of numbers that is stored in an electromagnetic format. They are used to form demos according to material parameters

The non-linear type combines the concepts of parametricism, organi-tech, electronic baroque, etc. They addressto complexly ordered systems, the analogues of which are clearly traced in the natural environment.

digital architecture key features
digital architecture key features

Key features of digital architecture:

  • negation of fragments and symmetry;
  • ephemeral integrity in the use of textures, textures and technologies;
  • out of the Cartesian coordinate system;
  • nonlinearity - the effect of unevenness and destabilization;
  • variety of states;
  • amorphous forms;
  • dynamics;
  • randomness.

It is worth noting the transition from the usual "lattice" to new "fractals". The lattice limited the possibility of structural experiments for a very long time and compensated for this by facilitating the application of mathematical methods. “Fractals”, on the other hand, are complex structures that involve the repetition of a spatial form at any scale.


New design methods are used in digital architecture. Among them it is worth highlighting:

  • combinatorial modeling - involves the use of model detail parameters and their relationships;
  • scenario modeling method - based on various code manipulations;
  • morphing - transformation with interpolation of extreme forms;
  • topological morphogenesis - continuous deformation and invariance of forms;
  • prototype modeling of architectural form - creation on the basis of phytomorphic, anthropomorphic or other analogues;
  • plasticism - modeling of shape transformations with physical properties(air or liquid);
  • adaptive systems - kinetic, interactive and informative shell.
features of digital architecture
features of digital architecture

With the use of modern computer technology, modernized equipment and appropriate materials, the boundaries of design have been expanded and a new strategy for interaction between the manufacturer and the consumer has been formed.

Famous architects

Architects in digital architecture are freed from the symmetry of forms and can fully embody unrealistic ideas. The most influential personalities in the development of the described direction:

  1. Patrick Schumacher. Introduced the term "parametrism" and connected it with the concept of "heuristics". He believes that in the near future all architectural developments will have an organic character: all forms smoothly flow into each other and create a single harmonious urban ensemble.
  2. Peter Eisenman. He founded the Institute for the Study of Architecture and Urban Planning. From deconstructivism, he moved to a non-linear version and was inspired by the theory of fractals after the famous exhibition dedicated to Deconstructive architecture at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
  3. Frank Gehry. His compositions are arbitrary, but many see them as decaying volumes, rough surfaces and broken traditional architectural elements.
digital architecture in russia
digital architecture in russia

But only one name is exactly associated with digital architecture - Zaha Hadid.

Zaha Hadid

This woman entered the rowlists of successful people and influential architects. Rem Koolhaas (a famous Dutch architect) noticed the talent of a young lady in her student years, and after graduating from an architectural school, the young lady began working with the OMA architectural bureau. Worked here for three years.

In 1980, Hadid creates his own architectural office. For decades, many customers rejected her projects due to the impossibility of implementation and even due to subjective rejection.

Realized projects Hadid

The first digital building erected according to Zaha's drawings is a fire station for furniture company Vitra. The design is reminiscent of a bomber, and the wing visors are similar to Soviet avant-garde pavilions.

Sheikh Zayed Bridge is a symbol of modernity and prosperity in the UAE. Its design was developed by Zaha under the vivid impressions of the sand dunes. The structure is very durable and can withstand sharp gusts of wind at speeds of more than 100 km/h.

digital translation
digital translation

The architect's box of successfully completed projects contains:

  1. Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati.
  2. The new wing of the Odrupgaard Art Museum in Strasbourg.
  3. The central building of the BMW plant in Leipzig.
  4. Hotel Puerta America (Madrid).
  5. London Water Sports Centre.
  6. Guangzhou Opera House.
  7. Heydar Aliyev Center (Baku).
  8. Business Center "Peresvet-Plaza" (Moscow).

The Guardian newspaper editors believe that it was Hadid who freed the geometry of architecture and gave it a newexpressive identity. One can't help but agree.

Examples of buildings

Examples of digital architecture impress with their inherent scale and versatility.

The most striking and memorable buildings (besides the previously mentioned ones), formed in the digital direction:

  1. Exhibition pavilion "Breloga" ("Seliger-2009").
  2. Rosnano Museum.
  3. Parametric railings in Novosibirsk.
  4. Media ICT office building.
  5. Kumu Art Museum.
digital architecture architects
digital architecture architects

It is worth noting the Google campus project, which dissolves in the environment, thanks to a plastic translucent shell, and transforms due to the provided features of the structure. The ICD and ITKE pavilion, which mimics the structure of the beetle exoskeleton.

Telekom office building in Mustamäe was recognized as the best digital project in Tallinn in 2017.

Digital architecture in Russia does not translate into reality. Only a few of Zaha's projects and pavilions of educational and cultural structures are known. This is due to quite objective reasons.


The main cons are:

  • inefficient use of free space in the building;
  • destruction of historical centers;
  • ignorance of customers and workers;
  • unpreparedness of manufacturers to change production technology;
  • lack of adequate funding;
  • difficulties in the production process.
digital architecture examples
digital architecture examples

Also, some note the danger of construction work. On this occasion, a scandal erupted around the Al Wakra stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid. The architect herself noted that the safety of work does not depend on design, but, above all, on the construction company.

But, as professionals accurately point out, digital architecture is the future of humanity. What now seems ridiculous and strange will soon become commonplace and necessary. Just like virtual reality, smartphones or fitness trackers.