New architectural thinkings: The interaction of architecture in the era of digital fabrication

Wrriten by: Redacción Sordo Madaleno | August 16, 2018

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Architecture and city are about to change fundamentally due to the intersection with the digital world. This process is taking place alone and not in collaboration with the domain that digital is influencing. We have to understand the impact of digitalization at large and in particular digital fabrication technologies is having on the design as well on the production of architecture.

Architects as cultural actors will have to directly and deeply engage in real dialogue with machines. Such engagement will be not only avoid being ruled out the upcoming structural changes in architecture but it will extend our rich in the domain of the physical world and finally allow us to design things that we could not design in other ways.

We are having the opportunity to directly move from data to material, from the digital to the physical with the highest possible definition without any intermediate steps. Therefore is becoming relevant that digital fabrication has the potential to create differentiation and variation at no cost. It is increasingly evident that the digitalization of almost every aspect of our life and society has his counterpart in Architecture where the materialization of the digital becomes the focal point.

As architects, we are witnessing some sort of second digital age which finds its expression in the interconnection between data and material, digital design and digital fabrication.

The beauty of the digital is that is not necessarily defining a new aesthetic but rather defining a new level of performance. It adds another level of intelligence. To understand which levels of performance and intelligence can be achieved we are working on a number of serious ambitions and the intention in order to shape a way of working based on the relation between concepts, data, and the physical world. To materialize our ambition, we are using open source technology in order to create machines as a Design tool.

In SMA, we are currently developing a machine with the scope to generate a collaborative process where we design concepts and rules in a computer program that can be translated into spatial movements performed by the machine.

It becomes possible to directly connect the human act of design with the robotic act of production performed by the machine. The result of the simple connection between data and material is astonishing. The machine has the ability to create a complexity that lies far beyond of what could be done by a hand.

In this process, we will discover how computer programming, human interaction and robotic fabrication can be performed in design both as conceptual and methodological level. We basically want to simulate the new working condition and a new working environment of the architect which engage directly with robotic fabrication processes.

While becoming part of the design processes, these machining procedures designed by architects for architects allow for novel design methods and bring it to expression. The physical study model which had a long tradition in Architecture gains again a central significance but in the context of computational and digital design.

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