Sean Ahlquist is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He is a part of the Cluster in Computational Media and Interactive Systems which connects Architecture with the fields of Material Science, Computer Science, Art & Design and Music. Ahlquist teaches courses at all levels, including on-going involvement with the Master of Science in Material Systems program.
Sean Ahlquist is a part of the Cluster in Computational Media and Interactive Systems which connects Architecture with the fields of Material Science, Computer Science, Art & Design and Music. His particular research thread is centered on the topic of material computation, in developing means by which complex material behaviors can be instrumentalized to formulate integrated, variable, and sensory-responsive spatial environments.
Ahlquist's research agenda is directed at formulating computational design frameworks which place materiality as the primary agent in the organization of architectural systems and their spatial tectonics. In particular, the research explores technologies in the design and fabrication of variegated textile and fibrous material assemblages, utilizing advanced CNC textile manufacturing. As lightweight self-structured material systems, the methodology and techniques, through experimentation both virtual and real, investigates the maximizing of integrated spatial capacities through the articulation of responsive structured envelopes of minimal material use. In order to do so, the research explores the very fundamental nature of materials in their fibrous composition being able to form rigid assemblies and simultaneously modulate environmental conditions and physical interaction. As well as a study of envelopes, the research addresses spatial organization as an instigator for material performance. This is evident in current research exploring the development of technology-embedded playscapes for children with autism, addressing sensory challenges to help overcome challenges with motor control, social interaction and communication. This involves the cross-disciplinary collaboration with computer science, material science, structural engineering, human-computer interaction, pyschiatry and kinesiology.
Ahlquist, S., Ketcheson, L., and Colombi, C.: 2017, Multisensory Architecture: The Dynamic Interplay of Environment, Movement and Social Function, AD Design for Health: Sustainable Approaches to Therapeutic Architecture, 87 (2), pp 90-99. (online)
Ahlquist, S.: 2016, Sensory Material Architectures: Concepts and Methodologies for Spatial Tectonics and Tactile Responsivity in Knitted Textile Hybrid Structures, International Journal for Architectural Computing, 14(1), pp 63-82. (online)
Ahlquist, S.: 2016, Textile Environments and Tactile Interfaces: Responsive Multi-Sensory Architectures for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, AIA Academy of Architecture for Health Journal, Vol 18. (online)
Ahlquist, S., Erb, D. and Menges, A.: 2015, Evolutionary structural and spatial adaptation of topologically differentiated tensile systems in architectural design, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing Journal, 29 (04), pp 393-415. (online)
Ahlquist, S.: 2015, Membrane Morphologies - Heterogeneous Forces and Articulated Material Form, AD Fusing the Physical and the Computational, 85 (5), pp 80-85. (online)