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GRIEF:   Research Group for the Invention and Evolution of Forms

Creation:  2003 (under the name DIPAU)
Principal: Marie-Pascale Corcuff
Contact details:
44 Boulevard de Chézy
CS 16427
35064 RENNES
Tel. : 02 99 29 68 00
Fax : 02 99 30 42 49

Team Members:
ENSAB tenured lecturers:
- Marie-Pascale Corcuff, assistant STA [sciences and technologies applied to architecture]-information technology lecturer, DPLG [government-certified] architect, holder of a doctorate in geography: form generation processes
- Gilles Guézo, assistant STA-construction/engineering lecturer, DPLG architect, École Polytechnique graduate, holder of a doctorate in the history of architecture: civil engineering works and infrastructures
- Dominique Lamandé, assistant ATR [representational arts and techniques] lecturer: hybrid entities
- Frédéric Sotinel, assistant ATR lecturer, DPLG architect: urban itineraries

Associate Members
- Benoît Boris, assistant STA-construction/engineering lecturer at the Nantes ENSA, DPLG architect, ETP [École Spéciale des Travaux Publics, du Bâtiment et de l’Industrie] graduate engineer
- Hervé Regnauld, geomorphologist, lecturer at Rennes 2, HDR [qualified research supervisor], researcher at COSTEL LETG UMR 6554 CNRS – Rennes Centre

Doctoral Student:
- Houyame Mouchid, DPLG architect, ENSAB graduate, doctoral student at Rennes 2 under the supervision of Hervé Regnauld, at the COSTEL LETG UMR 6554 CNRS laboratory – Rennes Centre, jointly supervised by Marie-Pascale Corcuff.
Title of thesis: “Production of Space and Architectural Forms in Cairo. The role played by ways of life and social codes in the production of both intentional and non-intentional space and the various procedures for acquiring a methodology for creating spaces capable of giving rise to new architectural forms in Cairo.
Defence scheduled for 2011

Administrative support for the team’s research work is provided on a part-time basis by Isabelle Roudier.
Scientific Focuses:
Form is the bonding agent among the GRIEF [Research Group on the Invention and Evolution of Forms] research team. The topic requires input from a large number of disciplines and interchange among the various approaches.
A distinction may first be drawn between natural form and constructed form. The landscape is at the interface between, first, forms of a geomorphological (relief, hydrographical, coastal etc.) and vegetable nature and, second, human formal intervention (remodelling of the terrain, management of plant life, erection of infrastructure, buildings and so on).
Every constructed form has to reckon with natural forms, and this calls up issues of integration into landscape. The study of the interaction between the technical and scientific context of the art of building and the institutional and economic environment comes up against the history of mindsets: the large-scale built object thus turns into a catalyst for change and evolution in the landscape and the way it is perceived. This means looking into the process whereby built forms are invented and evolve over historical time.
From the artistic point of view, the distinction between the natural and the artificial may become finer: we may encounter hybrid forms, ponder mimicry and camouflage strategies and so on. The artist’s means of expression (sculpture, photography and the like) are means of probing form.
Photography is also considered from the point of view of putting together frameworks of forms for a comprehension of the manner in which urban forms evolve, and the invention of architectural forms.
Interest in natural forms suggests considering form as the result of generative processes. The invention of form thus turns into the invention, not of an anticipated result, but of the process itself. The methodology that emerges comprises the analysis, simulation and generation of forms using mathematical models and algorithms (generative processes: fractal geometry, cellular automatons, shape grammars etc.).

Thematic Areas:

- form generation processes (form; space; dimension; attractor; emergence; growth; transformation; combinatorics; chance; complexity; architecture and mathematics; art and sciences);
- civil engineering works and infrastructures (coastline; bridge building; innovative structural forms; rigidity, lightness, implementation, civil engineer, government engineer),
- hybrid entities (encounters among visual arts, architecture, landscape and geography; encounter between scientific research and the artistic approach; the gap between; frontiers; mutations),
- urban itineraries (reference framework; creative processes; images; urban and architectural analysis; design process, photography). 
Topic Common to All Areas:

Water and the evolution of urban forms
In addition to the partnership with the COSTEL LETG UMR 6554 laboratory at Rennes 2 University, the team maintains ties with the “Practical and Poetic Arts” workshop at Rennes 2 University, where two of its members are doctoral students, and with the “Art History and Criticism” workshop, where another team member has defended their thesis.
Some team members have taken part in the ANR CRE-ACT project headed by Christine Page (Rennes 2 University), but not adopted.
The team is also in contact with Noël Challamel, lecturer and researcher at the INSA (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées) in Rennes.
Internationally speaking, the “Generative Art” encounters held every year in Milan have enabled us to build up on-going relationships with several researchers, and first and foremost with Celestino Soddu, organiser of the encounters. The team is also in touch with Nicolas Reeves, lecturer and researcher at the UQàM (Université du Québec à Montréal) and director of the Hexagram Institute (Montreal).
The water and evolution of urban forms topic has prompted the team to invite partners in. Catherine Rannou, architect and lecturer at the ENSAB, has been asked, and has agreed, to contribute to the treatment of the topic, as has Cécile Leroux, architect and ENSAB graduate, and member of the ET ALORS architects’ collective.