On the 15th and 16th of April I had the pleasure of attending the long awaited FABRICATE 2011 conference in London and was honored to be part of the ‘FABRICATE: Making Digital Architecture’ publication with the latest iteration of my research project entitled Minimal Complexity.
An International Peer Reviewed Conference, FABRICATE was organized by the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London and managed to bring together some of the most prominent figures in the professional and academic world of architectural design and digital fabrication. Focused on the potential of the integration of computation, materials science and digital manufacturing into architecture, engineering and construction processes, the discussions have touched on the present and future opportunities of materializing a digitally enhanced creativity through the absolute control of the materials and cutting edge crafting methods. Along with debating the inspiring content of the presentations, the panel discussions proved to be interestingly effervescent in passing from the pragmatic and technical aspects of the projects to the potential social and political implications of the future of architectural design as a multidisciplinary profession already involving computer science and robotics or even biology and nanotechnology.
‘Physical Processes’ , ‘Material systems’ , ‘Machines & The Bespoke’ and ‘Representation & Manufacture’ were the themes of the four sessions of presentations each of them being essentially defined by the corresponding keynote lecture. Accordingly, Mark Burry’s engaging incursion behind the curtains of the construction site of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and Neri Oxman’s captivating ‘material ecology’ design principles and maybe not so utopian visions of 3D printed buildings, were followed by Matthias Kohler’s presentation of the new possibilities of additive fabrication processes by industrial robots and the almost poetic illustration of the sensorial experiences within Philip Beesley’s ‘hylozoic’ responsive environments.
The exhibition was organized around the live demonstration performed by the Gramazio & Kohler’s 6-axis robot using both laser-scanning and digitally controlled assembly in the building process of the installation. Another part of the exhibition was a very impressive set of visualizations of the 3D scanned 2010 Bartlett Summer Show produced by ScanLAB.
The publication – ‘FABRICATE: Making Digital Architecture’ illustrates 32 case studies of academic and professional projects involving the latest digital manufacturing methods and processes. Research work from famous institutions such as the AA, Bartlett, MIT, Harvard and Delft is presented along with ongoing or completed projects from leading practices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster and Partners, Arup, Buro Happold, Amanda Levete Architects and Ron Arad Associates.
Having Ruairi Glynn and Bob Sheil as co-chairs and Marilena Skavara as conference administrator, Fabricate was a big success and prooved to very inspiring for all the participants already looking forward to taking part in the next similar event.