Graphic / Volume Conflations

“The myth of the Neutral Tool under complete human control and the myth of the Autonomous Destiny that no human can master are symmetrical. But a third possibility is more commonly realized: the creation of a new goal that corresponds to neither agent’s program of action”
                           – Bruno Latour, (Pandora’s Hope, p 178)

Exercises in advanced technology and fabrication performed for the sake of technology are of very little use to our collective architectural imagination. Design experimentation executed in a technological vacuum is a similarly hermetic and aesthetically bankrupt mode of operating as a contemporary practitioner.

This seminar will explore three distinct, interrelated (non-consecutive) areas of focus: design, methodology, and fabrication. The main ambition of the course will be to construct a balanced relationship between advanced technology and the agency of more conventional design-thinking in a fabrication-heavy project setting.

During the course of the semester, students will become familiar with new software platforms, design processes, representational techniques, and workflows. Our projects will employ ZBrush (a digital sculpting software native to the gaming industry) and Rhino to develop formal and graphic compositions. CNC machines and Robotics will allow us to fabricate panelization systems and corresponding structural components. Grasshopper 3D will facilitate the translation of this information back and forth between digital and physical environments.

The project component of the seminar will consist of a series of small design exercises that will culminate into one, final, half-scale prototype. Each team will develop a complete section of a panelization system with a graphic identity using vinyl films, flatbed commercial printing technologies, and hydrodipping processes. The panelization system prototype will include custom components built from flat-cut and thermoformed polymer sheet material. Our final prototypes will be staged in a gallery style exhibition at the end of the semester.

*There are no prerequisites for this class. Students will be evaluated on participation and group work. Select classes may be held at the Autodesk Build space (to be confirmed).