Digital Production at Scale

Digital design and fabrication technologies have become integral to the discourse surrounding contemporary design and architectural practice. The translation from design to realization is mediated by a range of tools and processes whose development is informed over time by material properties, skill, technology, and culture. As a whole, these systems are the vehicle by which design teams, manufacturers, installers, and ultimately users engage the materiality of architecture and design. Parallel technological developments relating to the way in which things are designed (digital modeling, simulation, generative design, AI, etc.) and the way things are made (automation, computer-controlled equipment including robotics, advanced materials, etc.) have afforded new opportunities and challenges related to the realization of new forms in architecture, part customization, user-centered design, and enhanced building performance. Structured by the typologies of manufacturing processes – including subtractive, additive, molding, assembly processes, and beyond – this course will explore the materialization of design as both a technical and a creative endeavor. Special attention will be given to the interplay between digital information and physical artifacts, and the opportunities and shortcomings of those translations. Through lectures, hands-on workshops, and a series of making-centric assignments, students will engage with a range of methods and materials that underpin digital fabrication. In addition to a deep connection with the context of digital making, the course is designed to provide hands-on experience with the digital fabrication equipment–including CNC mills, 3D printers, and industrial robotic arms–located in the GSD Fabrication Lab and is suited for novices and experts alike.