Adaptive Design Lecture: Skylar Tibbits, “Self-Assembly & Programmable Materials”

The making of our human-scale world is outdated, energy intensive, error-prone and inefficient. From the laborious mass-customization of the maker-movement to consumer product assembly lines, the construction industry and out-dated infrastructural systems, an opportunity has emerged to revolutionize the assembly of our physical world. As demonstrated across recent developments in nanotechnology, synthetic biology and the biomedical industry, the phenomena of self-assembly and programmable matter similarly offer a radical solution at much larger scales. Self-assembly is a scale-independent technology that allows components to come together on their own and transform shape or property for highly efficient and programmably adaptive systems. The combination of additive manufacturing and programmable materials, or 4D Printing, offers one technological solution for the smart assembly of our future world.

Skylar Tibbits is the director of the Self-Assembly Lab in MIT’s Department of Architecture. He also teaches graduate and undergraduate design studios and co-teaching How to Make (Almost) Anything, a seminar at MIT’s Media Lab. Skylar was recently awarded a 2013 Architectural League Prize, The Next Idea Award at Ars Electronica 2013, the Visionary Innovation Award at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit, a 2012 TED Senior Fellowship and was named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine’s 2008 Design Issue. The Self-Assembly Lab focuses on self-assembly and programmable material technologies for novel manufacturing, products and construction processes. 

Previously, he has worked at a number of design offices including: Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design. He has designed and built large-scale installations at galleries around the world, has been published extensively in outlets such as the New York Times, Wired, Nature, Fast Company as well as various peer-reviewed journals and books.

Skylar has a Professional Degree in Architecture and minor in experimental computation from Philadelphia University. Continuing his education at MIT, he received a Masters of Science in Design Computation and a Masters of Science in Computer Science under the guidance of; Patrick Winston, Terry Knight, Erik Demaine and Neil Gershenfeld.

Initiated in 2007, Skylar Tibbits is also the founder and principal of a multidisciplinary design practice, SJET LLC. 

The event is sponsored by the GSD Technology Platform as part of the Adaptive Design lecture series.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office in advance at 617 496 2414 or [email protected]

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].