Buenos Aires

To be more specific …


1st Semester


Universidad den Buenos Aires,

Buenos Aires


The first semester explores different aspects of the concept of the threshold.


Module 1



Seminar Spatial Structures

Thresholds: Structures, forms and bodies


In the seminar, we will take an interdisciplinary look at spatial structures from the perspectives
of architecture, cultural history and biology. The following key topics will be covered: Pre-modern human dwellings and modern cities; the shaping of the environment and building by non-human-organisms (‘animal architecture’) and the significance of ‘architecture beyond construction’.


Seminar Media Technologies

Thresholds: The history and theory of measuring


The seminar deals with the history and practices of measuring as a means of representing
nature through a system of symbols. The 1st stage provides instruction on the history and theory of numbers, with the Sumerian sexagesimal system as a case in point. The 2nd stage examines the adaptation  of the place-value system, including a short introduction to the problem of zero and the formation of algebra. Against this background, the 3rd stage of the seminar is an overview
of instruments, techniques and sensors for analogue and digital measuring with a focus on the 19th century. Continuing into the 20th century, the 4th stage discusses the problem of
resolution and scale.



Seminar Design Strategies

Thresholds: Do you matter? – Perception, communication and transformation


The seminar deals with the threshold between mind and matter, focusing on the threshold
itself as communication – in that crossing thresholds involves a transformation of qualities.
This transformation can be performed in different media and with different strategies to choose from, starting with the sketch. Sketching the world with pencil and paper is a process of choosing, from a multitude of possibilities, to draw a line, of choosing what is important, of connecting to an
idea, of setting a system of relations. ‘Sketching’ can be done by drawing, discussing, measuring, theorizing, prototyping, etc. Creating newness in this way is about creating new relations.


Module 2


Exercise Elements



This exercise provides an introduction to the basic skills that will be applied in the unit Laboratory Elements. Connecting to the Design Strategies seminar and its topics, from sketching to modeling, the exercise deals with the basics of digital drawing tools, image manipulation and professional 3D modeling tools. In connection with the Media Technology seminar, students focus in this exercise on learning to build their own hardware project based on the easy-to-use microcontroller platform.


Laboratory Elements



In the laboratory module, the theoretical knowledge and practical skills learned over the course
of the semester will be applied. Interdisciplinary teams of students will be asked to observe, analyze and understand diverse threshold situations. In the final stage, teams will formulate a design proposal to redefine the relations of the researched situations. A presentation of their research and findings to the whole group will conclude the laboratory module.


Module 8 or 9




Elective I


Opportunities to gain insights into the perspectives and research methods of other disciplines.




Language Course I


Opportunities to acquire language skills in Spanish and/or German.


2nd Semester


Universidad den Buenos Aires,

Buenos Aires


The second semester examines different aspects of designing openness: barriers & interfaces.


Module 3


Seminar Spatial Structures

Designing Openness: Sequences – folding – objects


The seminar examines different aspects of sequences, ‘From sequential code to 3D code’: sequences of signs/information units will be analyzed in texts, codes and objects. The operative character of stretching, twisting and bending defines the character of the structure; examples
will be given, from Fuller’s Synergetics to the different hierarchical structures of nature. Further research topics include ‘From sequence to structure in biology’: relations between sequence, structure and function, and the influence of primary structures on flexibility, switching,
bending and stretching.


Seminar Media Technologies

Designing Openness: Barriers


The seminar analyzes the diverse systems and tools used in the development and implementation of experiments, such as different software (LabVIEW, Arduino, Rhino), prototyping, the history and theory of measurement of contact barriers and synapses, data in complex systems, visualization and statistics.



Seminar Design Strategies

Designing Openness: Connecting


Drawing on the material and symbolic interdependence of opening and closing, connecting
and separating as basic operations across disciplines and sectors, the seminar examines the theoretical and practical design strategies for creating openness. Framing them in a historical context will highlight the ‘designing of openness’ as an epistemic practice, its relation to analysis in different types of experiments and their design and its application in the natural and social sciences and engineering.


Module 4


Exercise Experiments

Types of Barriers


This exercise researches types of barriers and how they can be incorporated in the model

of the experiment. The contextual fields to be researched are autism, health issues, language,

light barriers, temperature, physical materials and structures.


Laboratory Experiments

Barrier Experiments


An experiment consists of measuring the ‘response’ of a material in different conditions after a certain ‘perturbation’ is exerted on the material by an external media. This is measured using a specific sensor. Examples of experiments in physical and chemical modification will be performed. Based on the results, it should be possible to predict how a material must be treated in order to improve its properties, and different approaches in design, science and the humanities for optimizing materials can be compared.


Module 10 or 11




Elective II


Opportunities to gain insights into the perspectives and research methods of other disciplines.




Language Course II


Opportunities to acquire language skills in Spanish and/or German.


3rd Semester


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,



The third semester addresses the notion
of growth.


Module 5


Seminar Spatial Structures

Growth – Structures in becoming


The goal of this seminar is to investigate how structures evolve, change, grow or are remodeled

in the course of time from three perspectives: design, cultural history and biological materials science. The seminar will be divided into three components corresponding to each of these disciplines. The first part of the seminar is in the form of lectures providing an overview of current themes on growth in biology. The second part focuses on the history of mechanics in biology.
A third topic to be investigated is the link between structure and function relationships in
self-moving materials and their implementation in the design of objects.


Seminar Media Technologies

Growth: Time of technology – Technology of time


Changes in structures over time can be understood as a function of technology. On the one hand, technology ‘produces’ time (historicity); on the other hand, it allows manipulation through time
(as an instrument of growth). An example is Moore’s Law: for almost 60 years, Moore’s Law has
defined the pace of innovation in the computer industry by ‘stating’ that the sector’s growth will
be exponential: every two years or so, the number of transistors on a chip doubles while the price
of the transistor halves. Moore Law’s connects the macroeconomic roadmap with microphysical structures on chips. The seminar will examine the very complex nature of this ‘connection’ in
the epistemic core of such unprecedented growth.


Seminar Design Strategies

Growth: Dimensions of growth in design processes


There are multiple dimensions to growth that play a role in design processes and in design decisions. Firstly, the seminar discusses the historical perspectives of growth in design, including digitalization and mobility, or genealogy in the development of design. Secondly, the seminar discusses and teaches methods of finding forms and producing variations through growth, such as minimizing, maximizing, scaling and multiplication. Thirdly, the seminar focuses on complexity as a growth process in projects as well as in design, production and distribution. The students will investigate growth and complexity both as a challenge and a practice.


Module 6


Exercise Projects



In these exercises, tools for developing and presenting students’ projects are analyzed and will
be applied. This includes prototyping skills (paper, rapid prototyping, physical computing), forms
of visualization (sketching, illustrating, data visualization), simulation (Coding, Film, CAD) and the construction of (user) scenarios. In addition, project management skills (projecting, organizing, staffing, communicating, cooperating, operating, realization, budgeting) will be addressed.


Laboratory Projects

Consequences of Growth


The laboratory project highlights the knowledge and techniques learned in the first two semesters and helps students to develop the theme of their individual master theses. In the laboratory project on growth and in interdisciplinary groups, management skills will be developed, and the stages of project development addressed.


Module 7


Intercultural Competence


This seminar adopts an anthropological perspective to study the historical and cultural construction of design concepts and the behavior of users as well as the differences between Europe and Latin America in relation to cultural contexts and design strategies. The concept
of ‘cultural hybridization’ will be introduced in order to study the complexity of Europe and
Latin America.


Interdisciplinary Competence


Nowadays complex problems cannot be solved within the boundaries of a single scientific discipline. The goal of this seminar is to provide an in-depth understanding of interdisciplinarity
and an awareness of the tools that facilitate interdisciplinary research.


4th Semester


Universidad den Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires

or Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin