Negotiated Materialization: Design Approaches Integrating Wood Heterogeneity Through Advanced Robotic Fabrication
Whilst robots are predictable, repetitive, predefined and constant, natural materials present unpredictable complexity. Over the past few centuries, materials have been standardized to fit industrial processes, in an attempt to defy this unpredictability. Thanks to new advances in sensing technologies and computational design, today we have the opportunity to reintegrate the intrinsic properties of natural materials in their full complexity. What is the potential of a synthesis between the particularity of each specific material element—specific properties and parameters—informing the fabrication process? Digital and Robotic Fabrication are based on the use of flexible machines that open the possibility to mass-customize the production process. Combined with sensors and computational analysis, they allow to work with “soft systems”, both adaptable and continuously evolving, whose dynamism is constantly fed by a flow of information. How can the designer integrate this uncertainty and complexity in the design process? In this paper the authors specifically discuss the management of structural and material tolerance inherent to large scale construction and anisotropic materials, such as wood. A series of projects developed and built at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and the Bartlett School of Architecture are used as case studies to investigate tolerance management in Digital Fabrication with different kinds of wood.
KeywordsWood design Parametric design and fabrication strategies CNC and woodworking technology Complex wood structures
Special thanks to Dr. Mathilde Marengo for input.
Fusta Robòtica Pavilion is a research project of IAAC realized as part of the Open Thesis Fabrication 2015 developed with the generous sponsorship of Serradora Boix; in collaboration with Gremi de Fusters, Tallfusta, Incafust, Mecakim, Decustik.
Digital Urban Orchard is a project of IAAC, realized as part of the Open Thesis Fabrication 2015, developed with the generous sponsorship of Merefsa, and the collaboration of Windmill and Scanarq.
Both projects were led by Areti Markopoulou, Alexandre Dubor, Silvia Brandi; assisted by Djordje Stanojevic; and developed by students: Andrea Quartara, Angelo Figliola, Monish Siripurapu, Ji Won Jun, Josep Alcover Llubia, Yanna Haddad, Mohamad Mahdi Najafi, Fathimah Sujna Shakir and Nada Shalaby.
Robotic Sawmill is a project of IAAC, realized as a workshop within the Master of Advanced Architecture 2012–13, led by Tom Pawlofsky, assisted by Alexandre Dubor, and developed by students: Alexander Dolan, Kartik Ashok Gala, Robert Francisco Garita Garita, Vincent Huyghe, Stefanos Levidis, Iker Luna, Stuart Maggs, Dirce Medina Patatuchi, Pedro Moraes, Boleslaw Musierowicz, Urte Naujekaite, Amir Reza Saheb, Dori Sadan, Ahmed Selim, Jin Shihui, Anand Singh, Sofoklis Giannakopoulos, Georgios Soutos, Angeliki Terezaki, Ali Yerdel, Maria Kuptsova, Vicente Gasco Gomez, Inder Prakash Singh Shergill.
Digital Woodcraft is a project of IAAC, realized as part of the Master of Advanced Architecture Individual Thesis, in 2016–17, led by Marcos Cruz, with the input of Raimund Krenmueller and developed by student: Nikolaos Argyros.
The “Adaptive Robotic Carving” project is part of ongoing Ph.D. research conducted by Giulio Brugnaro, supervised by Prof. Bob Sheil and Dr. Sean Hanna, at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College of London, within the framework of the “InnoChain Training Network,” supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 642877.
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