CAD/CAM 1: Introduction to applications in Architecture

This course teaches the fundamentals of computer-aided design and manufacturing (cad/cam), with a focus on applications in architecture. Our core question will be how component design is affected by digital design and production techniques – methods that allow architects and designers to move beyond conventional design paradigms. Weekly lectures, lab sessions and case study discussion explore this question, while at the same time teaching students the fundamentals of digitally driven design and fabrication methods. Students are introduced to the principles of parametric digital modeling, numerically-controlled machines and basic manufacturing processes. Strategies for prototyping are discussed as well, and are tested and further explored through hands-on exercises. This course uses the GSD\’s extensive digital fabrication facilities, in particular the CNC laser cutters, CNC router and the CNC milling machine, as well as other devices. Students are expected to immerse themselves in the software applications needed to generate parametric models and the machine instructions necessary to operate CNC machines. Four short digital and design-to-prototype exercises allow students to acquire new design and prototyping techniques representative of the digital fabrication age. The exercises deal with aspects of the Virgin Galactic Project – the first commercial space flight scheduled for operation in 2008. We will collaborate in this project with Virgin Galactic and several foreign Universities that each investigates different aspects of the new base station and other facilities. This academic project is meant to generate original ideas for an entirely new architectural program – a public rocket launch station.Prerequisites: Students should have some familiarity with AutoCAD and a 3D modeling program. The willingness to learn aspects of new 2 new software programs is essential!