CAD/CAM: Introduction to applications in Architecture

Computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) techniques, often referred to as digital fabrication techniques, are being widely adopted for the production of architecture. As technology evolves this rapidly changing field continually presents architects and designers with new challenges and opportunities. Recently emerging robotic technologies, for example, are now broadening the scope of more commonly used computer numerically-controlled (CNC) machines, allowing for new modes of expression and new efficiencies in production. Despite its focus on understanding the fundamentals of current and emerging fabrication technologies this course ultimate pursues questions of design, positioning and testing technology as a driver in creative design processes.Offered as an open enrollment lecture/workshop the course introduces students to the fundamentals of CAD/CAM, with a particular focus on applications in architecture, and with reference to product design and related industries. Of particular interest in the course will be the role of performance in relation to digitally driven design and fabrication methods. Topics include parametric digital modeling for fabrication, digital tooling approaches, fundamentals of fabrication including direct and indirect methods, CNC machine environments, industrial robotics, prototyping techniques, building systems, and customization strategies. Automation approaches to design and manufacturing will be introduced, juxtaposing industrial as well as shop-based concepts.Technologies are introduced through a combination of weekly lectures, labs and hands-on workshops. Field trips to local manufacturers provide a real-world exposure to the implementation of CAD/CAM technologies in the professional context. Assignments will include digital and physical prototypes, and students will make extensive use of the GSD\’s digital fabrication lab and its CNC-devices and industrial robots.