High-Performance Facade Panels


The project is a three-year collaboration between the LID, DIALOG architects and Ferguson Corporation to develop high-performance façade panels with a specific focus on using them for retrofitting the Castell Building located in downtown Calgary. The first year was focused on analyzing the envelope and developing a generative, form-finding design and fabrication workflow. The generative process is focused on integrating thermal and digital fabrication parameters to generate high-performance, customized façade panels for retrofitting. In addition to solar energy-based performance metrics, the developed workflow incorporates geometric parameters constituting the form and an evaluation system for multi-material façade panels. Fabrication parameters that consider planarity, compound curvature, member length, connection nodes and materiality for robotic fabrication are also included in the simulation . The compression steel nodes are fabricated by our partner Ferguson Corporation. Machinic operations such as robotic glulam bending and milling are part of the fabrication process developed at LID. An ad-hoc bending machine based on electric linear actuators was digitally and physically developed. The design to fabrication workflow was tested by fabricating a 1:1 façade prototype during the summer of 2021.


Principal Investigator Alicia Nahmad

Graduate Research Assistants Matt Walker, JoLynn Yen, Youness Youssefi

Partners DIALOG Architects Ferguson Corporation

Funding Agency MITACS Accelerate



Mediated Drawings

During the summer of 2021 The Laboratory for Integrative Design presented an interactive week-long exhibition: Mediated Drawings. The performance launched on July 12th at the City Building Design Lab in Downtown Calgary inviting the public to engage with an interactive platform mixing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and industrial robotic arms. Bridging the divide between human spatial experience and digital perspectives, Mediated Drawings is a platform that speculates how robots and AI can augment and democratize artistic agency in creative processes. Mediated Drawings aim to introduce digital perspectives into human narratives. Participants engage with a robotically embodied Artificial Intelligence through the Mediated Drawings App. The AI reimagines Calgary corners based on semantic input from the participants. Everyone was invited to engage with different corners of Calgary – art, architecture, urban and green spaces. Participants were prompted to assign emotional meaning to these spaces. Images are imbued with emotional sense from a human perspective. An alternative machine intelligence generates original representations of these places, infused with the emotional meaning assigned by the humans. The machine intelligence then physically produces the line drawings of these speculative spaces through Freddie our robotic arm. Mediated drawings use OpenaAI CLIP to modify the learner weights of a styleGAN model based on the prompts that the public selects. It then uses canny edges to detect the lines that are drawn in the windows of the City Building Design Lab by Freddie the robot Freddie’s drawing performances were presented online and in person at the City Building Design Lab from the City Hall C-Train platform: July 12th to July 16th, 2020. A gallery of finished works was presented at the City Hall train platform for the remainder of the summer.


Principal Investigator Alicia Nahmad

LID Collaborators Guy Gardner

Graduate Research Assistants Sam Baril, Carter McHugh, Anagha Patil

Funding Agency SSHRC Connection







Log-A-Rythm In 2021, LID co-director Alicia Nahmad got shortlisted for the Tallin Biennale 2022. Our proposal responds to the topic of Slow Building by connecting the topics of mindful automation, participatory craft-making and appreciation of human-based physical processes. Our proposal explores techniques related to the longstanding Estonian traditions of log-house construction and joinery. Traditional materials and fabrication methods have been investigated, augmented and put to reinterpreted uses.
The pavilion takes the form of a doubly curved form-found structure. The fluid nature of the form aims to combine state-of-the-art computational design and automation technologies with traditional fabrication techniques. The design takes advantage of the heritage and sustainability of green log wood to create the structure. Logs of varying diameters of Estoniant timber are packed to achieve the curved geometry. The logs are stacked in such a way as to achieve a duality of textures – a smooth exterior in contrast with the rich texture on the other.

The proposal uses lashing as a joinery strategy to avoid unsustainable milling and a robotic enabled lathe to shape the logs for packing .

Two woven mesh patterns of ropes, with a variable offset, are used to lash and tension the logs. Along with the varying log lengths, this increases the bending capacity where bending moments are highest.
Our inhabitable structure could be dismantled in legacy mode giving each visitor a log to keep and make into a stool, table or post-process into a wood product.
It was an honour to be named one of the finalists out of 119 entries

Design Alicia Nahmad, Andy Watts, Vishu Bhooshan
Structure Summum Engineering
Team Anagha Patil, Mauricio Villagra



Spatial Curved Timber Laminas

This summer the Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID) collaborated with Zaha Hadid Architects Computation & Design Research Group (ZHACODE) to deliver two 5-day design to fabrication workshops in the context of the international conferences ‘Digital Futures 2021’ (28th June – 2nd of July) and ‘CAAD Futures 2021’ (12th – 15th of July). The workshops were an exploration on innovative Timber Tectonics. As part of the workshops a full-scale prototype was built at LID. The prototype has a bounding box of 2.5 x 25. x 3m. It was form-found using 3D graphic statics and built with an ad-hoc design and fabricated bending machine based on linear actuators and curved glulam laminas. The prototype ‘Spatial Curved Timber Laminas’ works as a proof of concept of the graphic statics structure form found by ZHACODE and the corresponding fabrication techniques developed at the LID. Everyone is invited to visit the collaborative prototype Spatial Curved Timber Laminas at the LID.


Design ZHA CODE : Vishu Bhooshan, Henry Louth SAPL LID : Alicia Nahmad

Fabrication Design ZHA CODE : Taizhong Chen, Vishu Bhooshan, Henry Louth SAPL LID : Alicia Nahmad

Fabrication & Assembly SAPL LID: Matt Walker, Youness Yousefi, Jo-Lynn Yen, Anagha Patil, Guy Gardner, Alicia Nahmad

Documentation SAPL : Matt Walker, Youness Yousefi, Jo-Lynn Yen, Anagha Patil, Alicia Nahmad ZHA CODE : Taizhong Chen, Henry Louth, Vishu Bhooshan

With Support from ZHA CODE : Jianfei Chu, Edward Meyers, Philip SInger AA: Jean Nicola Dackiw

Student Participants CAAD Futures Sania Halim, Soubhi Jabal, Elisabeth Kathryn, Aria Sanei, Hussein Hamed, Mansur Arevalo Kishan Prajapati, Jayanaveenaa Periyasamy, Mirian Maia, Diego Pinochet

Digital Futures Zebing Xu, Anuj Mittal, Anagha Patil, Deebak Tamilmani, James Lo, Emi Shiraishi, Mauricio Villagra D.,Gaurav Janendra, Yuerao Chen, M. Arkan Haqqi, Juan Antonio Brito