Unit 6: Crafting Space
Tutor: Daniel Widrig/ Stefan Bassing/ Soomeen Hahm
Hailed as Industrial Revolution 2.0 digital fabrication, particularly additive manufacturing, has long impacted industries that are traditionally faster in adapting to new technologies such as fashion, product and automotive design. Those industries not only actively engage in the development of these new techniques but already managed to fully integrate technologies such as 3D printing not only for prototyping or product development but for the manufacturing of market ready products. Brands like Audi for instance use PolyJet technology to build final large-scale car parts that before required complex and expensive moulds. In other cases additive manufacturing is used to directly print moulds, eliminating exorbitant cost of traditional mould making. Either way, these are just two examples out of a large pool of possibilities of using new materialisation techniques in an opportunistic way.
In contrast to this in an architectural context rapid prototyping still propagates as and is reduced to being a fast and painless way of creating representational models instead of using its potential for architectural production and to bring a new materiality into the architect’s increasingly virtual studio. This is at least partly due to the fact that until recently just larger, commercial practices and institutions were in a position of acquiring expensive equipment. The recent plunging of cost of industrial-quality manufacturing tools as well as and the general democratisation of tools (soft- and hardware) is just about to change this. The spread of open source/DIY equipment, shared knowledge and innovation in the bypassing of patents both in terms of machine construction as well as the production of consumables now basically allows to create complex parts almost for free and enables also smaller studios to excessively engage with these systems.
In that context cluster 6 pushes a new kind of craft, rooted in a thorough understanding of traditional, hands-on craft combined with an expertise in contemporary computational concepts. The studio is particularly interested in merging traditional, low-tech manufacturing processes with advanced technological approaches to design and realise new spatial concepts. Set up as an open framework students will script individual architectural scenarios and address those through custom form-finding and materialisation processes. The emerging proposals (prototypical structures, architectural objects and products) will be build and tested in a 1:1 scale.