Digital Craft

Digital Craft

 

Architecture, by definition, is the art or science of designing and building. However, in both training and practice, architects are focused on the means and methods of design. The means and methods of design are distinct from those of physical construction or fabrication, which have traditionally been in the hands of those who are actually physically manufacturing, assembling, and constructing. Thus, the perceived complexity of constructability is predicated on the efficiency of communication between the designer and the maker.  For the last two centuries, traditional architectural drawing packages of projected two dimensional plans, elevations, sections and details representing three dimensional constructions, assemblies and spaces have been a suitable means of communicating design intent to fabricators, builders, and contractors.  However, as the aspirations, performative requirements, and complexity of architectural projects have increased exponentially, the need for more relevant means and methods of design, as well as mediums and protocols for communication between designer and maker have become critical. 

 

Recent advances in design computation (associative or parametric modelling, scripting, algorithmic design, building information modelling, performative analysis etc) and digital fabrication (rapid prototyping, CNC milling, robotic assembly, etc) have enabled a newfound connection between the act of designing and the act of making by favouring a direct and recursive bidirectional file-to-factory communication protocol that utilizes digital media as not only a tool (for creating design drawings) but as a technique (for embedding design logic).  By doing so, an opportunity has emerged for digital media to be utilized as more than an enabler of automated production protocols (representation), but rather as a medium for embedding and communicating design process (realization).

 

Research into the application of experimental design techniques with pragmatic delivery processes and material constraints defines an emerging territory known as "digital craft", where the exchange between the technology of the digitally conceived and the artisanry of the handmade is explored.

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