The Bartlett School of Architecture


Alberto Fernández González

Recurv(e)sive 2011-2012 - Alberto Fernández González


Cellular Architecture: From Discrete grids to a High-Resolution Space

First and second supervisors


Cellular Architecture is a research project that seeks to investigate the application of Cellular Automata simulations in new ways to develop architecture. Namely, as a growing design process in contrast to the top-down design methods that we normally apply in the architectural field. For that purpose, the focus of this investigation is to explore different ways of Cellular Automata, from digital models to physical simulations, using coding as a reader from real-life contexts and translators of new programmatic and spatial solutions for architecture. 

Architecture has transformed our natural environments into the physical manifestation of our cultural evolution. Architectural design is governed by constraints that, in different ways, synthesise fundamental rules into artificial new shapes. This phenomenon has remained part of human history as the discipline continues to transform environments with spatial interventions, develop a deeper understanding of material properties from different sources, and combine them into new material solutions. Over time this has changed the way the landscape is patterned with discreet and organic shapes, aggregating new forms and layers for centuries, leading to what we can recognise as the modern city today. 

Cellular Automata is a set of cells (with information from black to white to a full coloured ratio) that works on a discrete grid. It can evolve and grow through a sequence of steps and time, recognising rules that function as the mediator between cells and its states, running generatively from state 0 to the desired stage. 

Cellular Automata have previously been studied as a simulation model for biological and chemical systems. These have resulted in a variety of forms from microscopical patterns to urban conditions, all created by simply changing commands within a "simulated" context. In that sense, architectural space (from private to urban) can evolve from an initial state to a living organism: reading, learning and growing from new inputs and self-replicating logic. The application of Cellular Automata, therefore, has the potential to rebuild a unique geometry coherently from beginning to end, layer by layer, rule upon rule.


Alberto Fernández González is an architect, academic and researcher. His career has developed between academia and professional practice, with a focus on building information modelling, generative design and digital fabrication in different scales. Alberto’s work has been recognised internationally by the LAFARGE HOLCIM Award Next Generation, Archiprix International, Sunbrella Future of Shade, UIA-La Biennale di Venezia and Evolo Skyscrapers among others. 


National Agency for Research and Development (ANID) Graduate Fellowship (Chile)


Fernández, A.- Guerrero C. – Jorquera L. (2019), ‘BIM Chilean Social Housing Analysis: from the 70´s to 90´s’, in ECAADE SIGRADI 2019, Oporto, Portugal, pp 259-263

Fernández, A. – Ortega, S. (2018), ‘Coastal Fog Harvesting Tower design process’, in Homo Faber 2.0 Politics of Digital in Latin America, Sigradi, Brasil, pp 58-59

Fernández, A. – Ortega, S. (2018), ‘Design and Fabrication Process of a Vertical Fog Capture Device’, in Technopolitics, Coastal Fog Tower – Sigradi 2018, Blucher Design Proceedings, Brasil, pp 732-736

Fernández, A. (2017), ‘Visual spatial concepts modelling at Architectural Design Studio 1-2 ‘, in Resilience Design, Sigradi, Blucher Design Proceedings, Chile, pp 79-84

Fernández, A. - Fernández, C.B. (2016), Solar Reff, in Powering Places: Land Art Generator Initiative, Santa Monica by Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry (Editor), USA, pp 121 

Fernández, A. – Ortega, S. (2017), ‘Project Coastal Fog Tower’, in Impostergable, XX Chilean Architecture Biennale, Santiago, Chile, pp 554-555

Fernández, A. (2016), ‘Cerros y quebradas: Valparaíso territorio en el tiempo, 4th Schools Proposal El Valparaíso que no queremos, El Valparaíso que si queremos’, in Project City: Valparaíso, Pontificial Catholic University, Arq Editions, pp 118-122 

Fernández, A. (2012) ‘The Summer Cathedral’, in YAP Constructo 2010-2012, MoMA PS1, MAXXI, 2012, Santiago, Chile, pp 98-101

Fernández, A. – Ortega, S. (2012) EVOLO, Skyscrapers, Evolo Architecture, EEUU, pp 392-395

Nakashima, Y - Fernández, A. (2010), Alberto Sartori, Testimonio de Notables, University of Chile, FAU, Santiago, Chile

Fernández, A. – Ortega, S. (2008), ‘Coastal Fog Harvesting Tower’, in Holcim Awards Book Second Cycle 2008/2009, Switzerland, pp 87

Fernández, A. (2007) ‘Agro-industrial School of Rengo’, in ARCHIPRIX, SHANGHAI 2007. 010 Publishers, Netherlands, pp 128-131


Coastal Fog Tower, Homo Faber 2.0, Politics of Digital in Latin America (2018) [Exhibition], SIGRADI, Sao Carlos, Brazil, 5-30 November 2018.

Coastal Fog Tower, Diálogos Impostergables (2017) [Exhibition],  XX Chilean Architecture Biennale, Valparaiso, Chile, 26 October – 10 November 2017

Quasicrystals for design, Sunbrella Future of Shade (2016) [Exhibition], AIA Philadelphia Congress, USA, 1921 May 2016

Coastal Fog Tower, Innovation Market (2016) [Exhibition], 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, Bilbao, Spain, 27-29 April 2016.

Homo Faber, Digital Fabrication In Latin America (2015) [Exhibition], Caad Futures, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 7-31 July 2015.

The Valparaiso that we want (2015) [Exhibition], XIX Chilean Biennale of Architecture, Valparaiso, Chile, 16-26 April 2015.

AF_A Cardboard Pavilion (2014) [Exhibition], MasDeco Market, Santiago, Chile, 24-27 April 2014.

Coastal Fog Tower, Water Wars (2011-2012) [Exhibition], Science Museum, London UK, 20 September 2011 - 31 June 2012.

Summer Cathedral, Expo YAP Constructo MoMA PS1 (2012) [Exhibition], MOMA, New York, USA, 1 March - 30 April 2012.

Xella Sustainable House (2009), [Exhibition], Las Americas University, Santiago, Chile, 1-31 October 2009

Coastal Fog-harvesting tower - Holcim Awards (2008) [Exhibition], Colegio San Idelfonso, México City, Mexico, 23-24 October 2008.

Agro-Industrial School of Rengo ARCHIPRIX International (2007) [Exhibition], Tongi University, Shanghai – Beijin, China, 15-19 April 2007

Bicentros UIA celebration of cities 2 winners (2006) [Exhibition], International Architecture Biennial in 
Venice, the Palazzo Zorzi, Italy, 10 September 2006 - 19 November 2006 

Expo Recoleta City hall Competition (2006) [Exhibition], Recoleta, Chile, 1 December 2006

16 Best Graduation Projects 2004-2005 (2005) [Exhibition], University of Chile – PUC, Santiago, Chile. 28 March - 21 April 2005.

Expo Elemental International Competition (2003) [Exhibition], Santiago, Chile, Santiago, Chile, 26 November - 5 December 2003.

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Image: Recurv(e)sive 2011-2012 - Alberto Fernández González