UT Vienna/Studio Manfred Berthold

Master Thesis

Crit: Manfred Berthold, Cuno Brullmann, Dörte Kuhlmann

Nucleus; romantic scientific novel about architecture in a dystopian urban future.

The intention of this architectural work was to react on climatic changes and, along with this, environmental changes on our planet.
The scenario is set in an dystopian future where resources getting short and cities begin to decay. The „Nucleus Project“ should be seen as a new starting point to vanquish climatic and resource crisis. The aim is to create architecture that is able to develop itself in various surroundings with varying environmental influences.

To obtain this Nucleus adheres close to nature, so its base code is leant on a chemical reaction which is transformed into digital, driven by parameters of the „host environment“. The fractal appearance tries to simulate the natural behavior of cells, membranes and their growing properties.

The architectural process itself starts with gathering information about the site. Since Nucleus could be placed everywhere on this planet, grabbing information is vital. With this information about specific parameters of the site [e.g. density, headroom, pollution, still existing infrastructure] Nucleus is able to develop itself in decent directions. This development process is leant on state of the art mechanical and biomechanical apperatures which are specificly designed for this intend.

Nucleus literally acts as a single „cell“ which could be placed in e.g. a decaying building. From the time of the placement the building [and site] acts as a host for the growing Nucleus. A multi-axis drone inside Nucleus is liable for the [bio]me- chanical development process via printing units. Feeding this system is inalienable, so the Nucleus nutrition system gathers nourishment from its surroundings. It is connected to its site by a vein lilke pipe system, driven by mechanical cutterheads. This ducted system feeds Nucleus by chemically disolving construction material and moving it towards the cell.

To react at a fast changing environment this archtectural sequence is able to change its appearance during a lifetime cycle. By the provided information of its surrounding, Nucleus is able to react similar to a Taxis in nature.
E.g. if the lighting situation is changing radical during the development process the growing Nucleus is able to change its faces, openings in the faces and alignment of the extrusion to the light source. This is provided by steady lightning analysis during the recursive growing process.

The created architectural environment is stable in all conceivable surreal, hostile, contaminated, earthquake prone or desert alike peripheries. Its created space gives human kind host and shelter. The fractal design of the outside reflects to the inside of the object and offers a vast amount of layouts for all different needs of human residence. Because of the ongoing development and growing process human needs could be easily implemented into the architectural program of a object.

Architecture designed around life.

featured @ visualizingarchitecture

published @ pitcrit

published @

honorable mention @ next7 2015 – competition from arch2O


UT Vienna/Faculty for Architecture Theory

Additional Team: Konrad Zellner

Crit: Stefan Rutzinger, Kristina Schinegger, Christoph Müller, Manfred Berthold, Brian Deluna

Millepora stands for a self organizing and self assembling tower concept. The tower unit by itself is based on data- and information-collection all around the site area and furthermore all around the chosen city. Starting point is a seed at a determined spot. Different phases of growing and spreading go along with each other.

After the initial seeding process, main-drones start to create a very first horizontal supply network for all following iterations. The main-drones slide on a magnetic rail like a vertical cargo system. This large scale supply network serves with the main-drones as a continuous vendor for the outer shell substance delivery – and the continuous outer shell expansion. The outer shell expansion starts when a decent level of inner-support-network spreading is reached. The main-drones provide a steady grow of the outer shell.
During this ongoing process the unit keeps collecting data from all around. With this dataset the tower unit gets information about how to spread and where to add new branches. Furthermore the tower tries to react and interact with its ‘host’.
After a few iterations of vertical growing, spreading and generating space, the unit tries to collect more data from the near surroundings to start a horizontal spreading in decent directions. At the base of the new collected data, the tower connects with its very near infrastructure to defer a symbiosis with it. At a balanced stage of horizontal and vertical spreading the main drones begin to extend their supporting network both, horizontally and vertically to keep the steady growing shell alive. When the interlocking and connecting with the near surroundings is finished, the tower unit keeps collecting and informing about ‘its’ city. The need of more habitat gets recognized and the unit is able to react with expanding the tower at decent positions.

Furthermore the information layer on the very outside of the tower unit keeps spreading through the city. This fibrous network is printed by printing-drones on the outer shell of millepora and on existing infrastructure of the host. The information layer collects all the data which is needed for the growing calculation. The network invades even into buildings, checks their supply system and calculates if a extension is needed.
This extension grows as a pocket in the inside of the tower unit parallel to the outside growing, spreading and encrusting process. A encrusted spine is generated by the main-drones as a guidance for multi axis roboarms. The roboarms create the pockets around them. The size of these pockets is limited by the range of the roboarms – this limitation forms the grotto like inside sculptures with a very high amount of connectivity. The porosity of the tower inside allows a multi way inside concept.

A multi-layer unit is generated through self information and a ongoing growing process provides sustainability in a fast changing environment.


published @ pitcrit

published @ vague operations 2015 book (soma architecture)



UT Vienna/Faculty for Architecture Theory

Crit: Christoph Müller, Michael Hansmeyer

Pattern inspired by the system of subdivisions and very simple base geometries.