Processing And Structure: Teaching And Learning From Direct Fabrication

Sense Editor
August 28, 2012

ABSTRACT

File to factory processes, direct fabrication and the technologies that drive them are often described by a number of perceived outcomes.

  • First, they seem to be flexible throughout the process of design. By controlling designs parametrically, many design decisions can be deferred to a later point in the process, adjusted by altering parameters at any time.
  • Second, they appear to provide a unique ability to create non-standard architecture. Individual elements may be entirely unique, and change in every instance of their application.
  • Finally, the resulting products of construction are highly complex, and this results both in an unprecedented ability to adapt to functional requirements and to a new aesthetic in its own right.

This paper argues against these points. More specifically, it proposes that these are true only in a certain sense, while in another sense which is perhaps more relevant with respect to design, the opposite—clear definition up front, standardisation and simplicity—are the case. The paper is a summary of a number of reflections on the student workshops held over the past two years of the F2F Continuum project, and the results of these workshops will be used to illustrate the main points.