By now, it is clear that technology has taken over almost every aspect of our lives. It has changed the way we communicate, how we connect, how we work and study, and has even modified our buying and eating habits. Architecture and construction were not the exceptions, and technology is also now present in the way it is being thought, designed, and built.
Digital Fabrication: The Latest Architecture and News
3D printing (as known as three-dimensional printing) is a type of rapid prototyping technology. It is a technology that uses powdered metal or plastic and other bondable materials to construct objects by printing layer by layer based on digital model files.
For several years, the construction sector has been facing a labour shortage, generating a growing interest in automation. The health crisis has only exacerbated the trend, prompting automation companies to turn their focus from car manufacturing to the construction industry, for which automation is expected to grow up to 30% within the next few years. The following explores present capabilities and future possibilities of automation within the construction process, its integration within the mainstream practice and the impact on design.
A recent collaboration between the team of Mario Cucinella Architects (MC A) and WASP, specialists in 3D Printing in Italy, has resulted in the first 3D-printed construction of a fully natural, recyclable, and carbon-neutral material: raw earth. The circular housing prototype is called TECLA and it was built in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna, Italy) using multiple 3D printers synchronized to work at the same time.
Like most functions in recent months, this year’s Digital FUTURES, which is held annually since 2011 at Tongji University in Shanghai, had to move online due to the pandemic. The organizers took this as an opportunity to give the event a global dimension, turning the festival into what they rightfully call the most significant worldwide event for architectural education ever staged, with a 24/7 display of workshops, lectures and panel discussions involving some of the most prominent architects and educators. Here is an overview of the festival, together with a selection of lectures from Digital FUTURES World.
Digital Fabrication in Architecture & Design Webinar with Fabio Gramazio, Jorge Lopes, and Barbara Iseli
Digital fabrication is a manufacturing process that uses a machine controlled by computers. This method has sparked the interest of architects and product designers, as it opens the door to new possibilities in terms of solving complex processes and new approaches for mass construction.
New technology in digital building, particularly Computer Numerical Control (CNC) systems, are changing the way that we design and build wooden structures. Their high level of precision allows us to design perfect assembles--without screws or visible metalwork--resulting in structures that are durable, easy-to-build, and extremely well-organized. We spoke with the experts at Timber to better understand the process of building a wooden structure and to compile a list of key tips in designing one.
How do designers think? How do they visually communicate complex ideas? What strategies do they employ to make a positive impact on the built environment? How does design change the way people see and experience the world?
In 2016, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech has established an advanced masters program with a focus on digital fabrication and robotics. Currently recruiting for its fourth installment, the Design by Data Advanced Masters Program appeals to architects, engineers, and tech-oriented designers. Since its launch in 2016, the program’s director Francesco Cingolani has sought to shape the relationship between architecture and technology by creating a cross-disciplinary culture between the two.
As previously mentioned on Archdaily, students study the main components of the program - computational design, digital culture and design, and additive manufacturing and robotic fabrication - throughout the 12-month program to fulfill Design by Data’s main objectives while working with peers in a dynamic learning environment. While providing each participant with both technical skills and an aesthetic eye, the program ensures students will also gain critical knowledge of current innovative trends and ongoing research. By exposing them to technology through hands-on use of tools of digital fabrication, the program will teach students to approach design through a process-oriented lens.
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "SHoP's Chris Sharples on Urban Architecture, Digital Fabrication, and the Public Realm."
Twin brothers Chris and Bill Sharples are two of the founding partners of SHoP Architects, a New York-based firm established 20 years ago to bring together diverse expertise in designing buildings and environments that improve the quality of public life.
The firm’s style is difficult to define, but a connective thread throughout SHoP’s portfolio is a design philosophy rooted in constraints. From digital models to next-generation fabrication and delivery techniques, technology is at the center of the firm’s movement toward an iterative approach that, as Chris Sharples says, “is beginning to blur the line between architecture and manufacturing.”
The advent of robotics in the creative and construction industries has led to an amazing revolution, changing not just how things are designed and made, but also transforming knowledge cultures, politics and economics that surround them. As such, the ROB|ARCH 2018 conference – hosted by the NCCR Digital Fabrication and ETH Zurich – will continue this path, developing and revealing novel insights, applications and impacts of this transformation within the scientific, creative, and entrepreneurial domains, including, for example, architecture, structural design, civil and process engineering, art and design, and robotics. A particular focus lies upon cross-disciplinary approaches and applications, providing state-of-the-art knowledge, techniques and methods of robotics not just in individual areas of exploration, but also beyond. These ideals aspire to complement the transformation processes of emerging robotic research and applications, and to redefine cross-disciplinary work in an era of global digitalisation and knowledge transfer. Key topics and issues of ROB|ARCH 2018 include autonomous control systems, advanced construction, collaborative design tools, computerised materials and structures, adaptive sensing and actuation, on-site and cooperative robotics, machine-learning, human-machine interaction, large-scale robotic fabrication and networked workflows.
Anoma, headed by EDIDA-winning Indian artist Ruchika Grover, is a product design studio that explores the potential of natural stone. Its surfaces, sculptures, and installations, are created through a unique process, which combines digital manufacturing and traditional hand craftsmanship.
This summer, July 11-13, the annual Fab City Summit will take place in Paris at the Paris City Hall and Parc de La Villette. The yearly event will gather the core team behind the Fab City Global Initiative together with city officials, innovation ecosystems from civic society and industry. Get your tickets with 30% discount using code FABDAILY30.
The rapid urbanization of the 20th century was possible thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the assembly line, which allowed the rapid reproduction and replication of infrastructure, products and repetitive urban patterns in cities around the world. Urban morphology and dynamics produce standard patterns and forms of living. At the same time, and following the linear economy, cities consume most of the world’s resources and generate most of world’s waste (according to the United Nations). However, the exponential growth of digital technologies (computation, communication, fabrication) of the last decades offer the opportunity to enable a transition towards a spiral economy (an open circular economy approach), in which data (and knowledge) flow globally, and materials flow locally: from networks of logistics that move atoms, to networks of information that move bits.
This summer, July 11–13, the annual Fab City Summit will take place in Paris at the Paris City Hall and Parc de La Villette. The yearly event will gather the core team behind the Fab City Global Initiative together with city officials, innovation ecosystems from civic society and industry.
Neri Oxman and MIT have developed programmable water-based biocomposites for digital design and fabrication. Named Aguahoja, the project has exhibited both a pavilion and a series of artifacts constructed from molecular components found in tree branches, insect exoskeletons, and our own bones. It uses natural ecosystems as inspiration for a material production process that produces no waste. “Derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water, this work points toward a future where the grown and the made unite.”
The Chinese Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, themed "Building a Future Countryside", is endeavored to explore new technology and ideas to make better of China's rural areas. A digitally-fabricated outdoor pavilion "Cloud Village" has been set up in addition to the national exhibition at the Venetian Arsenale. The Cloud Village has a twisting form which creates a sequence of open and semi-enclosed spaces under its roof. It seeks to convey an abstraction of the everyday life in Chinese countryside where boundaries of private and public realms are not always defined.
The Cloud Village is structurally made possible by the robotic printing technology developed by Philip F. Yuan and his team. Read below for a detailed account of the project from the architects.