The Linda Initiative


The first part of this thesis was done in collaboration with Linda Dowell and her twenty-two third-grade students at the Maurice Sendak Elementary School, North-Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The original research on California and its native inhabitants was brought in the class room as a way to inspire and inform the kids and stimulate their raw, spontaneous and ‘true’ creative energy.

The goal of this scenario was to create a ‘land’ where kids would ‘design’ regions and shelters with the sets of attributed materials. Inspired by the four regions of California, four sets of materials where distributed to the students, one set per region. What follows is our generative process.

PHYSICAL* refers to the space in which the scenario has been conducted.

Idea > Ask children (8-9 years old) to create shelters and a new land.

Agents > Students from the Maurice Sendak Elementary School.

System > There will be 4 different ‘regions’ each with a unique set of materials. You can only use the materials that are given, and you cannot share with a neighbor from an other region.

Output > 22 unique shelters, built for their own region.

Observation > looking back at our original statement: “Generative Design helps us create forms that possess the character of Living Systems.” This scenario attests of that belief as we notice that each shelters as well as the land and its regions on which they are built embody the characteristics of Life such as: Levels of Scale, Strong Centers, Positive Space, Good Shape, Local Symmetries and Contrast.

Simultaneously, we see in the following picture how powerful generative systems are. Below are three images that depicts three shelters made by the same student. Each design was made using two unique sets of materials specific to their different regions: Coast, and Mountain.

No designs are alike. By exposing himself to different materials, Jeremaia engaged in different ways of making, while the end goal remains the same: creating a shelter, the change in variables: the materials, alters the morphology of the outcome.

As we reach the end of this scenario we can conclude that Generative Design trully helps us create forms that possess the character of Living Systems. It is vital to consider the relationship between between the forms we create and the context in which they are created.