New York Digital Design Community

The New York Digital Design Community is a forum that focuses on showcasing technology-driven design by leading New York individuals, practices and universities. It is dedicated to disseminating the application of cutting-edge design methodologies and fabrication techniques related to digital technologies, computation, and digital prototyping in a collegial setting. In a series of quarterly events, design leaders from multiple industries will showcase their most current and stimulating work at a variety of scales and stages of design. These gatherings will bring together individuals from across the field who are in the forefront of developments in digital design, establishing a platform for those who are actively shaping a new profile for their industries and raising the bar for methods of practice in the future.

Current Event

Digital Design NYC
Digital Design Event

November 07, 2018

Past Events

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Digital Design Event

July 11, 2018

In this installment of the quarterly series, three practitioners from ARUP, Werner Sobek New York (WSNY), and Zaha Hadid Architects will educate on the various digital design methods and technologies that they employ in their design workflow, highlighting their recent work in pedestrian modeling, discretization, and digital sketch development, respectively.


Michael Brotherton, AIA, VP of Operations, Situ Fabrication LLC

Alexandra Pollock, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Design Technology, Senior Associate, FX Collaborative


Ian Mackenzie, Software Developer, ARUP

Shamil Lallani, Facade Designer, Wener Sobek New York (WSNY)

Jan Klaska, Lead Architect, Zaha Hadid Architects


Andrew Haas, Designer, SOM

Alfonso Oliva, Associate/Director of LERA Consulting Structural Engineers


Pedestrian Modeling in MassMotion | ARUP’s MassMotion software is used to simulate the motion of pedestrians through diverse spaces such as transit stations, stadiums, theaters and museums. Using the social forces model of pedestrian behavior, it tests spatial planning and design ideas to highlight issues with congestion, uncomfortable or dangerous levels of density, or even operational inefficiencies with ticketing or security. This feedback allows designers to evaluate different options, determine specific interventions that improve pedestrian flow, and ultimately design environments that are safer, more comfortable and efficient.

Data, Discretization and the Giant Canopy: A Case Study of Digital Design Rationalization | WSNY is providing ongoing computational and structural design services for the realization of a 450,000 SF corporate headquarters roof canopy. The complex metal roof will consist of 52 unique, doubly-curved elliptical paraboloid roof spans, draping like a tent between 57 columns over 5 cascading levels. In addition to its role as building skin, the roof will generate power from photovoltaic panels shingled over each paraboloid span. WSNY’s digital workflow mediates between the architectural, engineering and construction considerations of this skin system and support structure, demonstrating how computational geometry processing and data management tools can enable custom fabrication at this scale.

Developing the Sketch | Prior to the fabrication of geometries, how can we utilize digital tools in innovative ways for the creation of form? Simulation capabilities of software packages used within the film and game industries offer disruptive influences on the development and representation of form within the design field. These tools and techniques offer opportunities for designers to fully explore the bounds of their creativity. The potentials of these methodologies will be presented, demonstrating how they allow for an extreme amount of diversity and complexity in form generation, capable of providing new opportunities for developing ideas and thought processes for novel design without limiting the evocative and imaginative intent of designers.


ARUP Sound Lab + Experience Lab


Advanced registration is required for this event. Refreshments and light snacks will be served.

Please Note: Registration for AIA New York and Center for Architecture events constitutes your agreement to the use of you and your guest(s) image or voice in event-related digital and print reproductions (photo/video/etc). If you do NOT agree, email

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Kickoff Event

April 11, 2018

Learn More

The Organizers

Andrew Haas is a designer from the United States and graduate of the Emergent Technologies and Design Programme at the Architectural Association (AA) in London, earning his Masters of Architecture with Thesis Distinction. Focusing on biologically inspired, computationally driven approaches to design, he has taught Digital Technology and Media Studies courses at the AA; seminars for the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), Tsinghua University, and the Laboratory for Computational Design in Beijing; instructed AA Visiting Schools in Mumbai, Pune, Moscow, Penang and Shanghai; and was a cluster Co-Champion for the 2014 Smart Geometry Conference hosted in Hong Kong. Professionally, he has gained experience at the Dynamic City Foundation in Beijing, OCEAN.CN Design Consultancy Network in Hong Kong, and Zaha Hadid Architects in London. He is currently with the Digital Design Group at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in New York, where he is a participant in AIA NY Technology Committee, a member of the Emerging Leader Council for the Regional Plan Association, and the founder and co-organizer of the New York Digital Design Community.

Alfonso Oliva is an Associate at LERA Consulting Structural Engineers and the Director of LERA+, an in-house laboratory for engineering research and automation. Alfonso has dedicated his career to the pursuit of computational design, research and development in the AEC industry. Through LERA+, he collaborates with design teams on a variety of complex projects and provides instructional seminars to other firms. As a structural engineer, he has led the structural design of sculptural art installations, sports arenas and supertall towers. Alfonso was named among NYREJ's 2018 “Ones to Watch,” a 2016 Rising Star in Civil & Structural Engineering by Civil + Structural Engineer and Italian Young Talent 2016 by the Progretto Arkes Association. He has lectured at Penn State University, Polytechnic University of Milan, La Sapienza University of Rome, University of Naples “Federico II” and University of Cassino, and he was one of only 10 recipients of H2CU’s Italian National Engineering Scholarship. He holds a Master of Engineering in Product Architecture from Stevens Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in Structural Engineering from New York University-Polytechnic Institute and both a Master and Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Universita’ degli Studi di Cassino in Italy, where he is currently working towards a PhDc in Computational Design.

In collaboration with AIANY Technology Committee.