ETS4 - The relevance of Digital Fabrication in Architecture

Digital Fabrication (DF) entered the realm of Architecture in the late 90’s and has since become an intrinsic part of the discipline and its everyday modes of making. What was once a testbed for advanced research practices is today considered regular in many offices and buildings of varied scales.

From its initial outcomes, DF has continued to evolve acquiring higher levels of complexity and sophistication in its tools, techniques and methodologies becoming a crucial area of architectural knowledge. The workflows between coding, parametric software and computer numerically controlled (CNC) hardware have disrupted the economies of serialisation that had been inherited from the 1st industrial revolution, while opening up a whole new paradigm based on the dynamics of non- standardisation and mass-customisation. The effect that this has on architectural design is unsurmountable.

The relevance of DF, the study of its progression and the present of affairs are the subject of study of this course. We will revise the various types of DF and their implications for architectural design.

Through lectures and analyses of relevant case studies developed by pioneers and current practitioners, we will learn the appropriate machinery, tools, materials, assembly types and workflows for each particular situation and type of architectural project.

Students will learn strategies for laser cutting, CNC milling, additive manufacturing and robotics to fully expand their awareness of the significance of such technologies. Special focus will be placed on the relationship between standard and non-standard building components as products of opposite industrial and construction processes.

We will also be revising readings from practitioners and theorists in order to ground the exercises in broader and deeper contexts. Acquiring this knowledge ought to become highly instrumental in developing your Unit Projects as much as adding capacities to your own portfolios in preparation for professional life.


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