David Newton

Assistant Professor
BSc Design (Arizona State), MArch (Rice)

Macdonald-Harrington Building
Room 215A
Tel.: 514-398-6707
david.newton2 [at] mcgill.ca (Email)

Courses given

ARCH 304 - Design and Construction 2

ARCH 672 - Architectural Design 1

ARCH 678 - Advanced Construction


Trained as both an architect and in computer science, David Newton’s teaching and research situates itself at the intersection of computer science, robotics, and architectural design. The departure point for the research lies in the idea that architecture plays the critical role in society of translating the technological into something relevant and understandable to human experience. Emerging technologies must therefore be critically engaged by the discipline and used to creatively rethink the boundaries that define the role of the architect, design practice, and design process.  

Specifically the research and teaching organize themselves around three key fronts:

  1. Responsive Architectural Systems: How can we leverage principles in artificial intelligence, big data science, and robotics to create smart objects, buildings, infrastructures, and landscapes that may better serve the needs of the public good?  
  2. Generative Algorithmic Design Processes: How can we create better digital tools for design? What are the potentials of advanced algorithmic processes for designing sustainable and experientially rich buildings and environments?
  3. Emerging Fabrication Processes: How might we leverage cutting-edge fabrication processes (robotic fabrication and CNC processes), new materials, and human interaction with these technologies to generate multi-performative, sustainable, and culturally rich architectural systems?

David’s work has been published by AD Magazine, the Architectural Association (AA), and Rice University. Before starting in academia David worked with the office of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, where his interests in parametric design/thinking, hybrid spaces, and socially driven infrastructure we’re explored professionally. David has held teaching positions at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Minnesota – where he taught design studios and lecture courses on algorithmic design processes, digital fabrication, biomimcry, and interactive objects/spaces. David also leads an architectural practice called Populations – specializing in consultancy related to digital design and fabrication processes.    

Recent Lectures:

“The Social Network: Emerging Models of Program” Working Models Forum, McGill University 2014

“The Emergence of Mass Integration: Technology as a Deep Interface to Architecture”  UQAM Symposium on Construction and Detailing 2014

“Algorithmic Architecture” Arts, Media, and Engineering Lecture Series, Arizona State University 2013

“Parametric Systems in Design” AIAS Technology and Design Conference 2012

“Cultured Natures” UBC School of Architecture 2012

“Architecture and Digital Culture” Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, ASU 2011

“Excursions in Biology, Computation, and Design” University of Minnesota School of Design  2010

PhD Student Recruitment:

I am currently interviewing and enrolling PhD students for a limited number of slots who have research interests that align with the three research vectors outlined above.  Please contact me through email if you are interested.


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