sg2011:Building The Invisible

An intense, exhausting, invigorating, and inspiring week, sg2011 brought together a global community of innovators and pioneers in the fields of architecture, design, and engineering for a six remarkable days of experimentation, discussion, collaborative research and networking in Copenhagen, Denmark, 28th March – 2nd April 2011.



Vast streams of data offer a rich resource for designers. User data, energy calculations, embedded sensing, material and structural simulation allows design to be situated and responsive.

Design sits not separate from is environment but inhabits an ecological system, open, dynamic and interdependent. We now have the chance to instil design with an immanent intelligence creating new relationships between the user, the built and its ecosphere. From the simulation of megacities to the solid modelling of material systems, design has the potential to be informed by the real.

Informing Digital Design with Real World Data

Systems theorists suggest that data is only a raw material. It can be differentiated from information, knowledge and wisdom. Understanding is multi-levelled: understanding of relations, understanding of patterns, understanding of principles.

As digital designers our challenge is in harnessing the power of computation to assist us in informing our design process. Computers help us collect, manage and analyse the environment and inform us about an abundance of data. Our challenge is to use these inputs in a meaningful way to help us make better informed design decisions.

Challenging Design Thinking

The role of data and information - How can real world data be captured and how can it be interfaced it with the design environment.

The role of calculation - Draw on the intertwining of design and analysis to translate and process information. How can data become meaningful for design?

The role of feedback - Develop systems that incorporate intelligent feedback mechanisms and learning.

The role of the physical - How can intelligent behavioural systems, learning networks and passive responding material systems become tangible?




Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. We offer solutions for the infrastructure lifecycle: from buildings to bridges, transit to utilities, clean energy to clean water. Bentley Systems applies information mobility to improve asset performance by leveraging information modelling through integrated projects for intelligent infrastructure.

Silver Sponsors


Z Corporation makes products that enable users to capture, edit, and print 3D data with unprecedented speed, ease, versatility and affordability. 

Bronze Sponsors



The CEnter for information technology and Architecture

The Center for Information Technology and Architecture, providers of the Workshop, Venue and Digital Fabrication.

sg2011 team

review & planning committee


smartgeometry directors

Shane Burger   Woods Bagot
Xavier DeKestelier   Foster + Partners
Lars Hesselgren   PLP Architects
J Parrish   AECOM
Hugh Whitehead   Foster + Partners (retired)