Architecture & Urban Design III (ARCH 5001) – Agents of Change: Automation and Design of the Envelope

STUDIO AGENDA

This studio researched and explored the integration and manifestation of automation into the process of designing architecture.  The starting point for the use of automation tools was the management of “overall project control geometry” and the directly interconnected detailed instantiation and assembly of the actual elements of the building envelope into that framework.  Alternatives to the traditional assumptions about orthogonality and unchallenged mechanical repetition were sought, and these drove the search for viable languages of mass customization that remain appropriately informed by the practical requirements of specific projects.  Solutions were intended to be highly defensible in performance-based terms.

The result was intended to be real and deliverable alternatives to the predictable and over used current façade status quo that falls short in delivering adequate performance, individual expression and appropriately specific cultural identity.  The intent was to use automation to drive meaningful variation whilst at the same time improving performance, efficiency and sustainability.  A renewed, collaborative quest was undertaken for a more innovative and “beautiful” built environment.  The studio was intended to directly inform the students’ imminent transition into architectural practice.

During the reading week, this studio participated in a PRD factory tour trip. A number of key factories relevant to the industry of the built environment were visited.

MArch Studio 2013-14 (ARCH 5001) – Automation in Design

This studio researched and explored the manifestation and integration of automation into the process of designing architectural facades.  The starting point for the use of automation tools was the management of “overall project control geometry” and the directly interconnected detailed “instantiation” and assembly of the actual elements of the building envelope into that framework.  Alternatives to the traditional assumptions about orthogonality and unchallenged mechanical repetition were sought, and these drove the search for viable languages of mass customization that were to remain appropriately informed by the practical requirements of specific projects.  Solutions were to be highly defensible in performance-based terms.

The intended result was for real and deliverable alternatives to the predictable and over used current façade status quo that often falls short in delivering adequate performance, individual expression and appropriately specific cultural identity.  The intent was to use automation to drive and manage meaningful variation whilst at the same time improving performance, efficiency and sustainability.  A renewed, collaborative quest was undertaken for a more innovative and varied built environment.  A one week tour of relevant Pearl River Delta region factories and completed architectural projects was intended to directly inform the process.  The studio was intended to directly inform the students’ imminent transition into architectural practice.

Exceeding expectations, the resulting projects displayed an occasionally serendipitous but nevertheless highly exuberant integration of rigorous, detailed research combined with confident individual creative expression.   The case for implementing automation technology in exploring and developing architectural language was clearly demonstrated.