Below is the brief of a new class a few colleagues and I are working on at Columbia's GSAPP this Fall.
The recent obsession with digital fabrication in architecture schools has focused on the return of the 'master builder' through direct production offered by computer numerical control. While this form of production has resulted in a resurgence of full scale prototyping, it emphasizes an isolated study of tools and techniques over communication and collaboration. Without argument the most significant change facilitated by information technology has been the means by which architects communicate with their peers involved in building production. This workshop seeks to realign digital fabrication from prototyping to production and simulate a form of digital exchange grounded in actual practice. In this case, digital fabrication shifts from design based on a particular tool and an individual knowledge of technique to design based on rules of production with a network of expertise contributing to the final outcome. Here designers need to embed the downstream logic of production (including logistics, manufacturing, assembling, installation, etc...) into the upstream tools of design, while simultaneously streamlining the communication pathways with the people and machines who carry out this production.
The First Session of the workshop students will strengthen their abilities to communicate with fabricators through shop visits and the formation of a design assist arrangement. Design assist is an alternative to the typical design-bid-build process that incorporates the feedback of fabricators from the onset of design. Working with the fabricators students will design and digitally prototype a building component using a parametric modeling application, such as Revit and Autodesk Inventor.
The second session of the workshop will focus on the execution of the designed component.
Autodesk is sponsoring of this workshop through training, and funding for students production outside of the school.
The students have formed 3 groups to explore the fabrication of components or parts of un-built architectural works. Here are links to each group's project blog. Please post comments or links that you think the students could benefit from.