Journey of a Computational Designer with Nicholas Rawitscher Torres| AG 41

Journey of a Computational Designer

Nicholas has lived every aspiring computational designer’s dream which is to work for some of the biggest firms in the world who are at the forefront of computation, travel and also acquire new skills and technologies.
In this episode, you will get to listen to Nicholas’s journey into Architecture and inevitably Computational Design, studying Architecture at Universidad de Los Andes Columbia, working at MAD Architects, 3XN & Fojab Code, discussions on Architectural Education, learning how to code, BIM, Automation,  visual programming, and a whole lot more. 

Here’s a brief on Nicholas.
He completed his Bachelor in Architecture in 2015 from Universidad de Los Andes. He then went on to work as a Graduate Architecture Intern at MAD Architects and also at 3XN/GXN. After which he pursued his M.Arch in the DRL Program at Architectural Association, London. 
He worked as a Computational Designer and Software Developer at FOJAB for about a year and then went on to work as a Computational Designer at Zaha Hadid Architects. He is always found studying something related to computational design and always pushing his own boundaries. There’s a lot to learn from this episode and hopefully it inspires to become a computational designer too. 


Podcast Shownotes

02:00 Nicholas’s introduction to Architecture
03:40 Studying Architecture in Columbia 
06:10 Architectural Education
07:20 How Nicholas picked up on Computational Design
12:30 A Parametric Tower for his Thesis & exploring computational design.
14:30 Moving overseas & Working at MAD Architects
22:00 Inefficiency in Beijing

“The Architectural Industry has bad staff management.”

22:50 Working at 3XN & Work-Life Balance
26:00 First C# Component 
27:00 Architectural Competitions 
30:30 Joining the DRL Program
37:30 Understanding Vector Mathematics

“Visual Programming is Superficial.”

40:50 The overlap between Mathematics, Computation, & Architecture.
42:05 Helium Based Drones – Thesis at DRL

“The market demands automation and it is in every industry. And it is now arriving in Architecture as well.”

48:30 The importance of learning how to code

“People should learn how to code. It is similar to ‘reading & writing'”

50:50 AI & ML in Architecture
54:10 Jumping to another industry.

“There are no meshes for Architecture.”

54:10 Jumping to another industry.
59:50 Daily Routine
1:01:00 Working with BIM at Fojab Architects 
1:01:20 Encounter with the Revit API

“I don’t know Revit but I know how to code in Revit.”   

1:03:20 Creating Dynamo Nodes using C# & Visual Studio
1:06:50 Advice for those getting into the Computational Space

The Quick Fire Round


Favorite Series
  • Vikings
  • Black Mirror

“I don’t think consciousness only belongs to humans.”

Favorite Music
  • Martin Roth
  • Alex
  • Nicholas Jar
  • Christian Loefler
Favorite City
  • London

Connect with Nicholas

Notable Mentions

Rem Koolhaas
Greg Lynn
Johanna Freeman
Architectural Theories of the 90s
MAD Architects
Ma Yansong
DRL Program
Shajay Bhooshan
Patrick Schumacher – Volume 1
Theodore Spyropoulos
Seymour Papert
Alan Turing – Morphogenesis 
John von Neumann
MIT Artificial Intelligence LAB
Marvin Minsky
Algebra & Calculus in Computational Design
Unity, Population Logic, Super Organism.
Air-Based Architecture that can constantly reconfigure – Nicholas’s Thesis at DRL
Understanding Life through Machines
Logo Programming Language – Seymour Papert
Refik Anadol
Data Structures & Algorithms Course – ‘Critical’
Machine Learning by Curiosity