Project DisCo: Choreographing Discrete Building Blocks in Virtual Reality
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Current excursions within architectural research are exploring the potential of discrete design strategies at different scales. Starting with the introduction of the Great Invention Kit (GIK) and the subsequent development of reversible 3D printing processes based on “digital materials” at the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms  similar concepts of additive manufacturing have recently entered the field of architecture. This development hints at the potential for new reversible fabrication methods , as well as new ways to define architectural shapes as bottom-up syntactical aggregations of modular building blocks.
Within this emerging field of “Discrete Architecture”, Gilles Retsin showcases prototypical architectural designs with his Diamond House among other projects , also focusing on the possibilities for robotic assembly, while José Sanchez explores techniques borrowed from game-design to define loose assemblies based on their specific “topological diagrams” .
This paper introduces Project DisCo (Discrete Choreography), an application to integrate bottom-up aggregation of modular building blocks and intuitive spatial design into Virtual Reality (VR). The work presented here builds on Sanchez’s approach to discrete interactive design within gaming environments, though it is neither based on a sequential placement of individual parts, nor does it utilize static vector fields. In contrast, it allows the designer to choreograph large amounts of building blocks interactively through physics simulations as a means of form generation.
KeywordsVirtual Reality Discrete assemblies Digital material
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