Digital Fabrication and Robotics

The materials and procedures of constructing architecture have changed surprisingly little since the late 1800’s / early 1900’s when the introduction of industrial mass production of Portland cement, low carbon steel, aluminum extrusion, float glass and an ever-expanding range of petrochemical polymers shaped modernity. While the economic circumstances, social mandates, environmental sensibilities, design narratives and advancements in technologies have made great leaps forward, we still downstream build and by implication upstream design influenced by notions of standardization and persistence.

The course investigates the notion of alternative materials and fabrication processes aiming to bridge the gap between traditionally sustainable materials and techniques with notions of information and labor-oblivious technologies such as industrial robotics. Participants are called to develop novel materialization processes and explore design opportunities that emerge naturally from them; to approach design bottom-up from the perspective of an inventor.

In depth familiarity with computer aided design / manufacturing, programming, material characterization, electromechanical prototyping and numerical control machinery is highly welcome but not strictly required. Intensive training during the three-hour workshops and teamwork sprit is required for successful results. As a research-oriented thematic course, participants are encouraged to document and share new knowledge with the broader community in form of publications.

The course consists of a three-hour workshop session per week comprised of presentation, active learning and discussion components. Students must bring their laptops in workshop sessions. The software used in the class is: Rhino3D, Grasshopper as well as bespoke software components by the tutor.

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of computer aided design and computer programming.