Fractals Workshop [virtual studio]

The Fractals Workshop is a hands-on workshop exploring generative design through the use of analog algorithms. It is a 3D thinking workshop in which participants develop algorithms or rules of growth that are demonstrated through geometric aggregation models as an ongoing design research. The Fractals Workshop combines logic, geometry, natural systems and structure. This workshop is an adaptation of the teaching methods practiced at the Design Research Lab at the AA School of Architecture in London.

The focus is on developing prototypical design systems from the bottom up using analog algorithms versus designing from the top down with a preconceived end in mind. The method is inspired from the organic growth of natural systems, parametric architecture, structural systems, mathematics and geometry, and algorithms.

Fractals Workshop series is an ongoing iterative design research focusing on the process itself and relinquishing control over the final outcome, which remains unpredictable.

Since 2011, the Fractals Workshop has been to Hyderabad, Chennai, Vellore, Roorkee, Surat, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Sharjah, Dubai, Doha and Bahrain, and  is coming up in Xixinan and Muscat.

Fractals 25.0: Virtuosity

During the COVID-19 lockdown, for the very first time, the Fractals Workshop will be held entirely online, and can be attended remotely by participants from all over the world, using a combination of available household objects, paper or disposables, and computational tools. The workshop will be held over 3 days from 11am-4pm (with a 30min break in between).

It will be mentored by Takbir Fatima, architect and Director of the award-winning interdisciplinary design and experimental architecture studio, DesignAware and the Fractals Workshop, and will also feature presentations by guest architects.

Click here to see previous Fractals Workshops.


Fractals 25.0: Virtuosity will take place over three days:

Phase 1: [remote design]

Batch 1 [concluded]
Friday 29 May
Saturday 30 May
Sunday 31 May

Batch 2 [concluded]
Thursday 11 June
Friday 12 June
Saturday 13 June

Batch 3 [concluded]
Friday 3 July
Saturday 4 July
Sunday 5 July

Batch 4 [concluded]
Friday 7 August
Saturday 8 August
Sunday 9 August

Batch 5 [open]
Friday 4 September
Saturday 5 September
Sunday 6 September

10.30am- 4.30pm IST (with a break in between)

31 August is the last date for application acceptance for Batch 5.

Phase 2: [remote build]
Dates and fees TBA after lockdown

Analog to Digital


The design research and formfinding process with be conducted between the analog and digital realms. Physical aggregation models made of readily-available materials at home will be developed based on analog algorithms, which will then be translated to data-embedded digital models.

Virtual to Real

Three design systems from this workshop will be selected for further design development and prototyping in real-material, and real-scale fabrication and installation as urban sculptures post-lockdown.

Guest Speakers


Iasef Rian is an architect, educator and a design researcher focusing on computational design, geometry-based structural design and optimization, and fractal geometry. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and Design at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), China since 2019. Prior to joining XJTLU, he was teaching at the University of Sharjah, UAE as an Assistant Professor.

Dr Iasef holds a PhD in Architecture and Design from Politecnico di Torino, Italy. He has been a member of several professional organizations in the disciplines of architecture (Council of Architecture, India), mathematics (ISGG), structure (IASS), and computer aided design (ACADIA, CAADRIA). Some of his workshop pavilions were exhibited in prestigious international design events such as MadeExpo 2012, 2013 in Milan and Dubai Design Week 2018 in Dubai. Dr Iasef is also a regular reviewer of some well-known international architectural journals, such as Automation in Construction, Computer Aided Design, Frontiers of Architectural Research, etc.

Dr Iasef founded his own architectural studio Rian Architects & Designers in Malda District, India.

[Access to recorded lectures]


Xiong Ying has a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) from Arizona State University. She has worked as a landscape architect at Turenscape since 2012, and is LEED AP, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, Accredited Professional certified. Her extensive landscape architecture project management experience includes master planning & design, city smart growth, micro-climate improvement, and ecological recovery & habitation. Ying is currently Director of Turenscape Academy (TA), the educational arm of Turenscape. TA provides multi-level, interdisciplinary training on sustainable design training in planning, ecology, architecture, landscape architecture, and art & design.


Vinu Daniel completed his B. Arch in 2005 from The College of Engineering, Trivandrum, following which he worked with Auroville Earth Institute for the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Post-Tsunami construction. On returning from Pondicherry in 2007 he started Wallmakers which was christened thus by others, as the first project was just a compound wall. By 2008 he had received an award for a low cost, eco-friendly house from the Save Periyar Pollution Control Committee for the house which was constructed for a cancer patient. Many such eye-openers in the course of his practice prompted him to resolve to devote his energies towards the cause of sustainable and cost-effective architecture.

Vinu won the closed competition to build the Kochi-Muziris Biennale Pavilion. The pavilion is the largest Conoid ever built using ferrocrete. In addition, he has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the NDTV Design & Architecture Awards in 2014 and 2015, HUDCO Design Award, and the IIA National Award. Wallmakers’ Valsala Cottage was published in the book Architecture in India by Rahul Mehrotra.


Shameel Muhammed is an architect and educator with a research focus on digital fabrication and robotic construction. He holds an MArch in Architecture + Urbanism from the Design Research Laboratory of the AA School of Architecture, London. His joint master thesis at the DRL, named W.A.V.E, addresses regeneration of the disappearing coastline along the estuaries using algorithmic symbiotic systems. On completing the postgraduate program, he worked with world renowned architecture practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, London for over two years. He has worked on several award winning architecture projects including Morpheus hotel in Macau, China for which he was part of the core concept team. Shameel’s own practice Studio 7 is a progressive studio with a key focus on residential and retail design. In the past he has collaborated on several projects with a Dubai based design collective, Caravan where his expertise on digital platforms and fabrication methodologies actively contributed to design outcomes.
Shameel has extensive experience in academia. He has been associated with various design workshops, both at regional and at international platforms such as AAVS DXB, Expo City, Dubai and Future Earthen Shells at Boisbuchet, France. His works have been exhibited at various forums in the Middle East and UK.

Currently, Shameel is teaching at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai where he leads the second year architecture program.


Poonam Sardesai Agashe is a registered architect, interior designer and an Assistant Professor at the University of Pune, India. She has an MArch in Architecture + Urbanism from the Design Research Laboratory of the AA School of Architecture, London. Her master thesis at the DRL, psi.neu, was the exploration of alternative building systems using vaccum as an actuator and hacking into digitally-controlled machines for fabrication and deployment.

Poonam is associated with the architectural firm Archimedia since 2011 as a Senior Architect. She is also the Co-founder and Partner at the firm OHA Studios from 2011. This firm deals mostly with architecture and interior design consultancy and is into product design and customization.

As an Associate Professor at MKSSS’ BN College of Architecture, Pune, India, Poonam teaches at the Masters course in Digital Architecture since 2012. Her subjects of teaching include material and digital fabrication and digital design. She is also the in-charge of the Digital Fabrication Laboratory at the University, since 2017. Poonam has previously conducted the urban studies studio for the fourth year undergraduate students at the university for a couple of years.

Poonam’s interest lies in parametric architecture and innovative use of digital fabrication techniques. She is always keen to pursue parametric logic and thinking at different scales from product to urban solutions, both through her design practice and teaching. She regularly organizes and conducts presentations and workshops at different platforms, notably a recent collaborative workshop conducted at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


+Basic design sensibility or inclination towards art or design
+Basic 3D modeling skills are a plus, but not a must
+Internet access and good WiFi connection
+Computer with mouse, webcam and headphones, and compatibility to run Zoom and Rhinoceros 5.0 or above
+Inquisitiveness, openmindedness and a willingness to try and learn new concepts


Batch 5

Individual                                                    ₹4,500 / $60 per participant
Individual (student/academic)                ₹4,000 / $53 per participant
Group of 3+                                                  ₹3,500 / $46 per participant

31 August is the last date for application acceptance for Batch 5.


Screenshot (98)_

Phase 1 of the workshop will be completely online! This is part of our remote learning initiative. You attend the workshop from home or wherever you are, and you will receive recordings of the workshops to review later at your convenience.

Phase 2 will be a remote build workshop, in which selected designs will be executed on site. Authors of selected designs from Phase 1 will be automatically enrolled into Phase 2; other participants may apply separately.

Our Partners

Turenscape Academy
Xixinan, China

Phase 2.1 of Fractals 25.0: Virtuosity will be hosted on the beautiful campus of Turenscape Academy in the heritage town of Xixinan, China.

Read more about Turenscape Academy here.

TA logo-official

government of telangana
hyderabad, india

The Government of Telangana has extended support for the build part of Phase 2.2 of Fractals 25.0: Virtuosity which will be held in the historical city and IT hub of Hyderabad, and explore a combination of digital fabrication and virtual reality for execution.


Construction workers and laborers are the backbone of the construction industry, without whom it would be impossible to build.  Unfortunately, due to the necessary lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, many migrant workers, day laborers and construction workers have been adversely impacted and rendered all but homeless overnight. Thousands of migrant workers and their families have been stranded with no work, no source of income, no food, no access to toilets or homes, and are left with no choice but to travel to their hometowns on foot, a dangerous journey, as public transport has been shut down. In order to provide relief to these workers and their families, many local initiatives and volunteers are working together to prepare meals and supply rations.

Though the coronavirus is deadly and fatal virus, even in times of normalcy, tens of thousands of people lose their lives due to hunger, a deadlier virus. We at DesignAware have started a social media campaign to collect funds from interested donors and channel them to volunteers working to help the lesser privileged, to #StarveTheHungerVirus.

Each registration to the Fractals Workshop will be provide one month of rations to one family in need that has been impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Fractals Swag

Each participant will receive a digital Participation Kit containing a Workshop Manual, additional online reference material, a DIY GeoDesk 2020 calendar and online access to recordings of the guest lectures for 3 weeks after the conclusion of the workshop.

On completion of the workshop, you will receive an official digital Participation Certificate signed and stamped by DesignAware and the Turenscape Academy.

Good to Know

+This is not a digital fabrication or software workshop, but a generative design workshop using computational tools and physical models. All designs created will be in the form of analog or physical models, augmented by digital models.
+Attendance is mandatory on all three days.
+In case a participant does not attend all three days of the workshop, they may not receive a participation certificate.
+Fee once paid will be non-refundable under any circumstances.
+Registration is not transferable to any other participant.
+In case the workshop is canceled by the organizers due to any other reason, the full fee will be refunded.
+Once your registration is confirmed, you will receive an email with all the details and requirements of the workshop.
+If at any point you have trouble making the payment, email us at with “Fractals Workshop Virtual Studio” in the subject line.