The course is an introduction to fundamental concepts, techniques, and methods in digital design, with a focus on reciprocal processes of translation between digital media and material artifacts. Beyond an exploration of novel form and its reading, the course is a critical inquiry into how digital tools and fabrication methods can impact the design process reflects the contemporary cultural condition intersects with history and theory.
The relationship between architecture and digital technology over the past two decades has produced a vast collection of design artifacts, research endeavors, and cultural conditions. The emergence and implementation of new tools, however, register a long and erratic history. Some early architectural projects employing digital tools are characterized by linear relationships in the design process and expressing design thinking. However, over time, an ever-expanding repertoire of digital media has not only radically altered the conventions of the design process into serial or system-based processes, it has also presented new possibilities for conceiving and perceiving architecture.
The course is organized into two sequential areas of inquiry. In the first phase, students will select an architecture precedent (from the list provided or an alternate discussed with the instructor) and will research that precedent, considering how new digital tools could allow us to reconceptualize the project’s design and representation. In the first half of the semester, students will fabricate the precedent’s primary volume/massing with an articulation of its underlying geometry and tectonic logic. Students will also reconstruct analyzed information such as generative formal logic, circulation, spatial and programmatic relationships, in the form of digital data. This data will then be represented through a series of animated projection installations mapped onto the physical model. This process will speculate new possibilities for conceiving and perceiving architecture, challenging established conventions of architectural representation.
During the second half of the semester, students will work towards the development of their own treatise on the precedent’s form and suggest a radical modification/manipulation to it based on found or imagined techniques from research. The second phase will also speculate on the capacity of digital technologies to assign new or alternative readings to physical form. We will explore this capacity through a series of animated projection installations designed to subvert the conventions of metrical geometry explored earlier in the semester. These mapped projections can enhance, efface, transfigure or further disintegrate traces of physical geometry with volumetric contrast and illusions of depth. In this process, animation will transcend its role as a method of visualization, becoming a design tool itself. Here, design will manifest a dynamic environment of forces, in which form and matter can be manipulated by ever-moving, ever-changing sets of data and digital information.
This framework allows the conception of a variable architecture, capable of representing not only static forms but the very conditions of formalization and the embodiment of invisibles. The line between three-dimensional objects and digital creations blurs as projections alter architecture in real-time. These projection mapping projects create a liminal zone between real and virtual space and question the relationship between perception and representation. In this series of design exercises, the course explores how new processes of manipulation—namely techniques in digital form-making, fabrication and representation—can facilitate new ways of thinking about architecture.