from File 2 Factory continuum>>>

Project Details

Student/s: Stella Dourtmes

Date: August 22, 2016

omputer numerical control (CNC) fabrication technologies have impacted architectural practice and the architect’s relationship to design and construction. Due to CNC technology the architect’s role has shifted to focus more on the a continuous sequence of design that embodies constraints directly tied to fabrication processes. Although there has been a number of shifts in architectural conception and realisation over the last two centuries that are historically tied to social and technological change, none of these have oered as much design freedom to architects as CNC technology allows. My thesis dissertation aims to identify the nature of the new architectural “Paradigm” through an analysis of the theoretical and technological background that led architects to investigate the qualities of the “File to Factory continuum” architectural process. During the early twentieth century a perceived need for radical social changes in Europe in conjunction with the rapid development of the construction and materials industries enabled architects to use new materials and experiment with new industrial construction methods. Later on complex spatial configurations were developed by architects such as Peter Eisenman through his use of time-based processes that utilised diagrams and manipulatable 3d-grids. Although these processes began without the use of computers, as computing and fabrication technology developed these design processes lent themselves well to Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) where various differentiated building elements could be fabricated with reasonable cost and a high level of accuracy.
The exploration of Non-Euclidean geometries opened up new trajectories for architectural design. The role of computing shifted from its use as a 3D representational tool to obtaining a role as an orchestrator of a generative process where parametric and algorithmic design methods could be applied through various Computer Aided Design softwares according to certain criteria chosen by the designer. More recently, developments in Computer numerical control (CNC) fabrication technologies has allowed computational design processes to directly inform manufacturing without the need for a set of representational drawings in-between. CNC machines are programmed to translate the three dimensional models of architects into movements and commands of machines that cut, mill, weld, and fold materials into their designed configuration. Often referred to as a “File to Factory” process, CNC technologies have influenced architectural design due to its necessary incorporation of manufacturing constraints within the design process. Issues related to construction and the economy of production, along with material and geometrical constraints and fabrication detailing become incorporated into the design idea and design process. This new era of File to Factory architectural design is characterized by a dynamic and open-ended design process that focuses on fabrication and the mass customization of architectural form. The dynamic nature of this process is provided through the continuous feedback loops possible within the design and manufacturing process that allow for modifications in geometry to be made in response to prototyped parts. Furthermore, design is able to be modified during the final manufacturing process providing that already fabricated parts are not changed.These benefits further tie architectural design to computational and fabrication processes.

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