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Aggregates are materials formed from a loosely compacted mass of fragments or particles. The system has two states, an almost fluid, moving state where the fragments are influenced by external forces, gravity or wind and a state of equilibrium where there is a balance between fragment friction, weight and force.

In the building industry aggregates are used for construction but mainly in a bound state for example granular materials are bound with cement to form concrete or with bitumen to form asphalt. But what if aggregates are not bound? The greatest potential of aggregates may lie in its fluid like behavior allowing the system to shift its fragments and reshape easily. An illustration of this is found in nature where Sand dunes are reshaped by wind or water.

Using aggregates in a lose state where connections are made simply by accumulation of elements requires a radical departure from architectural design based on assemblies and assembly processes. Multiple research project lead by Michael Hensel and Achim Menges play a leading role in creating a better understanding of aggregate systems.

Research Projects

- Deploying Natural Granules and Aggregation Processes

Gen Takahashi, Diploma Unit 4 (Michael Hensel and Achim Menges), Architectural Association, London, 2005-06

Hani Fallaha, Diploma Unit 4 (Michael Hensel and Achim Menges), Architectural Association, London, 2003-04

-Designed Particles and Aggregation Strategies

Eiichi Matsua, Diploma Unit 4 (Michael Hensel and Achim Menges), Architectural Association, London, 2003-04

Anne Hawkins and Catie Newell, GPA Studio (Michael Hensel and Achim Menges), Rice University, Houston, Texas, 2004


Detailed descriptions on the projects above and information of aggregates can be found in these books:

Morpho-Ecologies: Towards Heterogeneous Space In Architecture Design


Versatility and Vicissitude: Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design (Architectural Design)


Persönliche Werkzeuge