Digital Fabrication In Architecture by Nick Dunn

9156cbb62e9c671.jpg Author Nick Dunn
Isbn 9781856698917
File size 38.4 MB
Year 2012
Pages 192
Language English
File format PDF
Category architecture


Published in 2012 by Laurence King Publishing Ltd 361–373 City Road London EC1V 1LR Tel +44 20 7841 6900 Fax +44 20 7841 6910 E [email protected] Design copyright © 2012 Laurence King Publishing Limited Text © Nick Dunn Nick Dunn has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs, and Patent Act 1988, to be identified as the Author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. A catalog record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978 185669 891 7 Designed by John Round Design Printed in China Front cover: Nordpark Cable Railway, Innsbruck, by Zaha Hadid © Roland Halbe NICK DUNN DIGITAL FABRICATION IN ARCHITECTURE Laurence King Publishing Contents 06 Introduction 14 A brief history 20 Fabricating architecture in the digital age 24 About this book 25 Getting started 26 Digital tools and machines for fabrication 74 INTEGRATION 76 Introduction 77 Hybrid techniques 84 Nonstandard design and mass customization 88 Digital fabrication principles 90 Laser cutting 96 CNC milling and routing 102 Rapid prototyping 30 GENERATION 32 Introduction 34 CAD 40 NURBS 44 Meshes 49 Curvilinear formations 54 Parametric and generative design 60 Algorithmic architecture 66 Morphogenesis 108 3-D scanning 111 Robotics 116 STRATEGIES 118 Introduction 120 Nonlinearity and indeterminacy 121 Digital tooling 130 Contouring 140 Folding 148 Forming 158 Sectioning 166 Tiling 176 Future fabrication of architecture 184 Conclusion 186 Glossary 187 Further reading 188 Index 192 Acknowledgments Related study material is available on the Laurence King website at 6 Introduction Architecture is fundamentally concerned with two core activities: designing and making. Of course, these are not mutually exclusive and often inform one another in a continuous dialogue as projects progress from concepts, through design development, to final form—typically the realization of a building. The ability to effectively communicate creative ideas remains a central aspect of the discipline. With the development of numerous Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and other software packages, the variety of design processes available to architects, which may influence the fabrication of architecture and its components, is greater than ever. Of specific interest in this field is the recent capability to integrate analog and digital techniques and processes to produce physical objects, whether three-dimensional concept diagrams, scale models, or full-size prototypes. The increasing proliferation of computers and advanced modeling software has enabled architects and students alike to conceive and construct designs that would be very difficult to develop using traditional methods. In particular, the emergence of new computational modeling software, which allows parametric systems and complex “biological” organizations to be generated and explored, offers new avenues of holistic design production and detailed component manufacturing for the architectural designer. These massive shifts in design processes have implications in material culture far beyond the discipline of architecture, as ever more research and development is conducted at crossdisciplinary levels worldwide. In addition, the application of CAD technologies as part of the production of physical models and prototypes is becoming increasingly widespread through processes such as CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacture), Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling, and rapid prototyping. The translation of computergenerated data to physical artifact is not a one-way street; processes may be reversed with equipment such as a threedimensional scanner, or digitizer, which is used to trace contours of physical objects directly into the computer. Therefore, this book will focus on the inspiring possibilities offered by digital fabrication for architecture, with all the different technologies and techniques that are now available for the holistic and componential making of designs. Above Above right The prevalence of digital images in the design and communication of architecture is commonplace. Even so, this imposes no limits on designers’ creativity—as is shown by this digital montage for NOX’s proposal for The Three Graces hotel and office towers in Dubai. The design is based on the idea of a “networked” skin offering a symbolic gateway to the Khor Dubai Wharfage. The pursuit by Supermanoeuvre of innovative design and fabrication processes is typified by Supermatter I, where a mould was first designed algorithmically. Fused Deposition Modeling was used to 3D print a positive so that a bronze cast could be produced via a lost mould process to form a complex self-supporting structure. Prototyping of this nature has significant potential for architecture as full structures may be realized from lightweight formwork. Introduction 7 Above This stereolithographic prototype of the skeletal structure for Kokkugia’s project Fibrous Tower is part of a series of investigations that explore the generation of ornamental, structural, and spatial order through an algorithmic design methodology. Conceived as a load-bearing shell that distributes forces across its network, the physical model is a direct translation of the sophisticated design data that satisfies such criteria. Right Zaha Hadid’s Mobile Art Pavilion for Chanel takes advantage of digital imaging and construction processes to create a design with fluid geometries and dynamic space. Below Digital fabrication techniques provide architects with a spectrum of applications, transforming even long-held traditional methods of representation such as modelmaking. This digital model for Coop Himmelb(l)au’s design for BMW Welt, Munich, was used to make laser-cut components to achieve its complex geometrical formal qualities. 8 Introduction The design for Hills Place, London, by Amanda Levete Architects, developed this sculptural façade as a logical response to the narrow street, thereby maximizing the natural daylight available. The form is achieved through a system of aluminum profiles, more commonly used in the production of ship hulls. The façade is fabricated using curved 5½-inch (140mm) profiles that are connected on site. The metallic silver coating is a highperformance paint typically applied to the surface of yachts. Self-cleaning glass and discreet hidden gutters ensure the façade retains its sculptural qualities. Introduction 9 Right The architectural possibilities of developments in material technology continue to increase, fueled by digital fabrication methods. For the Swarovski Crystal Palace, Greg Lynn FORM developed an installation utilizing cutting-edge technology from the nautical industry, in which carbon and aramid fibers are sandwiched between transparent Mylar™ sheets to produce a series of very strong yet lightweight “sails” less than 1/25 inch (1mm) thick. With their potential application as spatial dividers or enclosures for future projects, the innovative design may provide a key stage for more research and development. Above Above Vector Wall by Reiser + Umemoto demonstrates the ways in which a laser cutter may be used to perforate a flexible or semiflexible material with multidirectional patterning, reinterpreting the common wall. The model illustrated here was further developed as a full-size prototype to explore the potential application of the design and its adaptability. Refer to page 142 for how the project developed. Research into materials and their design opportunities informs the work of Barkow Leibinger—as shown in their speculative Coil Tubes. Using laser-cutting technology to form a spiraling pattern on a rotating steel tube, the subsequent geometry allows flexibility while segments also remain locked together. By the addition of LEDs into the tube, variable lighting effects are possible dependent on the degree of bending. 10 Introduction Left Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) design for the China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters proposed a digital media façade, allowing the building to display moving images and footage across its envelope. Left and above The Gwanggyo Power Center near Seoul, designed by MVRDV, has been developed using a combination of digital design tools and manual modelmaking techniques. This hybrid process of creative flow between different modes of investigation is characteristic of the evolving nature of digital design in architecture. Left Foreign Office Architects’ (FOA) seminal design for the Yokohama International Port Terminal, completed in 2002, coupled the concept of folded surfaces as circulation loops with the tectonic realization afforded by digital design tools. Introduction 11 Left EMERGENT, founded by Tom Wiscombe, are renowned for synthesizing aesthetic and engineering issues into innovative design solutions, as shown in this lasercut acrylic design-development model for the Garak Fish Market, Seoul, 2009. Below The screen façade design by the San Francisco– based Faulders Studio for Airspace Tokyo (a collaboration with Studio M, Tokyo) illustrates the potential for digital design and fabrication methods to inform our built environment. 12 Introduction Above Below left Below The Energy Roof Perugia design by Coop Himmelb(l)au uses transparent photovoltaic cells to both produce energy and provide shading from the sun. The orientation of the individual cells is generated and optimized by a computer-driven scripting program. UNStudio’s design for the La Defense offices in Almere utilizes internal façades clad with glass panels, in which a multicolored foil is integrated and onto which—depending on the time of day and the angle of incidence— various different colors are reflected, animating the courtyards. This application of new materials to engage with users of the building and enliven the space is indicative of the ongoing development of material technology and its architectural implementations. University Library Utrecht by Wiel Arets Architects illustrates the manner in which materials may be worked within a digital design-and-production process to reinforce the twin concepts of “openness” and “protection.” In this image the façade components comprise opaque volumes and patterned glazing, to reduce sunlight penetration while offering legibility of the building’s program. Introduction 13 Above Below The multidisciplinary design office ONL (Oosterhuis_Lénárd) developed iWeb as a mobile pavilion and interactive design laboratory. Digital tools and fabrication methods were used throughout the design and realization processes, from initial concept, through 3-D structural strategies and CAD renders, resulting in a full-size “ProtoSpace.” Neri Oxman is an architect and researcher whose work seeks to establish new forms of experimental design and novel processes of material practice at the interface of design, computer science, material engineering, and ecology. Her Carpal Skin project is a prototype for a glove to protect against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and is featured in order to emphasize the multiscalar application of digital technologies. 14 Introduction A brief history Widespread availability, coupled with considerably reduced production costs, has afforded a growth in the use of computers unthinkable 20 years ago. That many of us engage unquestioningly with digital technologies on a daily basis provides some indication as to how easily, yet significantly, they have been assimilated into our everyday lives. Of course, it was not always thus. Indeed, even as recently as the early 1990s very few architectural practices used computers other than as timesaving devices for administrative tasks such as word processing and accounting. The design process was typically analog, using traditional methods including freehand sketching, physical modelmaking, drawing on drafting boards, and manual final rendering techniques. Although computers were being used in other industries, early attempts to adopt them for architectural design, such as the Columbia University Paperless Studio project of 1992, were generally viewed as novel distractions rather than serious propositions for the future of design culture. Fast forward two decades and we find ourselves in a position where almost the reverse is true—we are almost unable to understand the design process of architecture without a degree of integration with digital technologies. Architecture, of course, is not alone in this radical transformation, but before we begin to examine the potential of computers and digital technologies it is worth having a synoptic understanding of how we arrived at the contemporary situation. It is tempting to suggest that it was simply a matter of time before designers adopted technological developments, but this supposed inevitability belies a much more intricate series of historical events and societal changes. As Antoine Picon concludes, “Technology is seldom the only explanation, especially in architecture where so much depends upon economic, social and cultural factors. The transformations that we are observing today. They are also the result of a much longer and complex historical process than the recent conversion of designers to digital tools.”1 It may be surprising to realize that the foundations for many present-day uses of digital technologies were laid at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A period typically referred to as the Second Industrial Revolution, this era witnessed a primary shift not only in modes of mass production and distribution of goods but also in the rise of information that supplemented these changes. As a consequence, the need to deal efficiently with all this data underscored the development of electric tabulating machines. Such machines evolved during the Second World War, giving birth to the computer as an advanced tool for handling huge quantities of information using mathematical logic, specifically binary operations, and the recent discoveries within electronic technologies to develop computability. The latter was of particular importance as it greatly increased the speed at which calculations and, by relation, information could be processed. These electronic calculators were vital for the military advancements made during the conflict. The ability of these early computers to control missile launches and trajectories alongside other increasingly complex weapon 1. Picon, A. (2010) Digital Culture in Architecture: An Introduction for the Design Professions. Birkhäuser, p.9. Operator using the SAGE System interface. A brief history 15 Above Ivan Sutherland, with his early parametric CAD computer interface and screenshots, illustrating the use of the lightpen to change a design, 1963. Left Archigram’s Computer City, the infrastructural networks that allowed Plug-In City to be more than an inert system of components, 1964. systems meant that the enormous investment in such technologies bred further cutting-edge changes. The first computer network, the Semi-Automated Ground Environment (SAGE) System developed in the 1950s to coordinate radar operations, was one such advance. Inherent in such developments were innovations including video displays, artificial memories, and information-translation processes that, after their initial inception in a military environment, would be integrated into commercially available systems. Beyond this stage of computational development, a number of strands emerged which allowed this newfound technology to explore its limits. Significant here was the research and development into artificial intelligence and cybernetics, which negotiated the boundaries between the human and computer/machine interface. However, this was still primarily driven by a desire to optimize the people’s capability in military scenarios. The relationship between humans and their environment is, of course, a fundamental preoccupation for architects, and so, with the advent of the new era ushered in with cybernetics, came a rich field of inquiry. In his influential article of 1969, “The Architectural Relevance of Cybernetics,” Gordon Pask outlined the potential for architects: “The design goal is nearly always underspecified and the ‘controller’ is no longer the authoritarian apparatus which this purely technical name commonly brings to mind. In contrast the controller is an odd mixture of catalyst, crutch, memory and arbiter. These, I believe, are the dispositions a designer should bring to bear upon his work (when he professionally plays the part of a controller) and these are the qualities he should embed in the systems (control systems) which he designs.”2 This highlights one of the most important research themes during this period, that of efficiency. The ongoing experiments with cybernetics and systems theory were developed on the notion that informational processes formed patterns in nature and human endeavor that could be subsequently analyzed for strategic implementation within the built environment. This transformation was also occurring in the corporate field, wherein architecture was responding to the growing 2. Pask, G. “The Architectural Relevance of Cybernetics,” Architectural Design, September 1969, p.496. 16 Introduction need for pattern-based designs to foster better performance within workplaces and corporate hierarchies. The resultant modularization of factory and, particularly, office designs began to span the apparent divide between the theoretically rigorous machinations of a corporate body and the social behavior and patterns of individuals and small groups. A key development in the evolution of the spatial nature of workplace planning was the design of the IBM System/360 by Eliot Noyes in the 1960s. This system comprised various modular components that could be organized in tandem with office furniture, and reflected the integrative manner in which IBM, among others, viewed the design of such space. This was further illustrated by the “A Computer Perspective” exhibition, curated by Charles and Ray Eames and held at the IBM Corporate Exhibit Center, New York, in 1971. Such events mirrored the increasing interrelationships between architecture and computer culture. In his Fun Palace project of 1960–1, British architect Cedric Price embraced cybernetic Right Gordon Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles for the “Cybernetic Serendipity” exhibition held at the ICA in London, 1968. Conceived as a reactive, educable, computer-based system comprising five mobiles, the installation enabled visitors to have a “conversation” with the machines by using lights and mirrors to activate the rotating mobiles. Below right An IBM 360 mainframe computer in use, late 1960s. The modularization of the system’s components allowed easy assimilation into the office environment. theory as the principle upon which his design for a theater and cultural center would operate. Through collaboration with Gordon Pask, Price proposed a backstage computer that would offer a feedback loop between spectators and performers, facilitating an integrated system of continuous interaction. In 1976, Price subsequently developed his Generator Project, this time teaming up with John Frazer, a pioneer of artificial intelligence, to design a modularized system that was programmable and adaptable to its own environment owing to its built-in intelligence. Of course, while Price was one of the most forward-thinking architects of his time he was certainly not alone in his attempts to engage architecture with computer technology. In Paris, Yona Friedman had, since 1958, been exploring the possibilities of The Spatial City, a vast megastructure or architectural “circuit board,” across which elements could be added, removed, or enhanced. This theory would be developed during the late 1960s in his design for Flatwriter, A brief history 17 John and Julia Frazer’s Generator interface, developed in collaboration with Cedric Price, 1976–80. a computerized system that enabled individual inhabitants of a city to imprint their personal preferences with respect to their apartments, and by using symbols to reference the different elements of these decisions the builder, as well as their neighbors, could understand the choices made. In the United States, Nicholas Negroponte founded the Architecture Machine Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1967. Through his directive to explore the interface between human and machine, typified in seminal papers such as “Towards a Humanism through Machines” in 1969, one of the research strands the group pursued addressed the relationships between humans and computers. This objective eventually gave rise to the Media Lab, which continues to push the boundaries of innovation and experimentation with regard to digital technologies and architecture today. Meanwhile, over in the UK, the avant-garde group Archigram were keen to absorb the latest technological advances into their Pop Art and science-fiction explosion of arresting imagery and provocative ideas. Indeed, the polemic of one of their most influential projects, Plug-In City, 1964, was given further impetus by the novelty of its power source: the “Synthesised Metropolis With Electronic Changeability,” aka Computer City. The key feature of this project was its depiction of computer technology not merely as a representational tool but as an environmental model. In Dennis Crompton’s words: “The activities of an organized society occur within a balanced network of forces which naturally interact to form a continuous chain of change. A METROPOLIS is situated at the point of maximum display of interactive energy and shows the most complex field of forces. In the COMPUTOR [sic.] CITY this energized field is synthesized at a much higher sensitivity and is programmed to respond to changes in activity.”3 The contours of Computer City therefore comprised not information but how information moved from one place to another. Although this was a conceptual project that did not directly involve itself with technology beyond illustrative implications, it signaled an important movement that was occurring internationally as architects sought to address the emerging presence and potential of the computer in society. This position was taken to its logical conclusion in Archigram’s later project, Instant City, 1968–70, which examined prevailing attitudes regarding city centers in relation to networks. As Hadas Steiner has observed, “the urban experience of Instant City was shifting toward a point where information and the city were synonymous. In its ideal form, Instant City would provide a bundle of services; its urban strategy would be connectivity and speed over geographical advantage. To inhabit an advanced network, information and the city would be fully decentralized commodities that travelled the same infrastructure, like computers on phone lines.”4 This essentially describes the contemporary situation of many cities worldwide, wherein the physical urban landscape is augmented by digital networks, and was particularly prescient. Architectural history books describe the late 1960s and early 1970s as a very rich time for cultural experimentation, and attempts to embrace computers into this mix were also manifold. The introduction of the Internet into the public domain and the mass consumption of personal computers during the 1980s and 1990s, led to an increasing prevalence of computer technology in everyday lives. The effects of this ubiquitous technology upon the individual in society were 3. Crompton, D. Archigram 5, Autumn 1964. 4. Steiner, H. A. (2009) Beyond Archigram: The Structure of Circulation. Routledge, p.217. 18 Introduction discussed in Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital: “As we interconnect ourselves, many of the values of a nation-state will give way to those of both larger and smaller electronic communities. We will socialize in digital neighborhoods in which physical space will be irrelevant and time will play a different role.”5 Parallel to this was the ongoing investigation into the capacity of computers to drive architectural design. In more radical research areas, this was not simply a case of computers imitating what humans could already do but actually replacing them within the design process. As John Frazer outlines in his widely well-regarded An Evolutionary Architecture, “Architectural concepts are expressed as generative rules so that their evolution may be accelerated and tested. The rules are described in a genetic language which produces a code-script of instructions for form-generation. Computer models are used to simulate the development of prototypical forms which are then evaluated on the basis of their performance in a simulated environment. A very large number of evolutionary steps can be generated in a short space of time, and the emergent forms are often unexpected.”6 This leads us toward the contemporary situation, in which architecture and computers are frequently synonymous. From conceptual design to manufacturing and on-site assembly, computers and digital technologies have transformed not only the way we represent our ideas but also the means through which we generate them. A range of digital tools is now available: Explorative ones allow the designer to investigate emergent concepts via novel computation and generative form finding; descriptive ones, such as three-dimensional modeling and visualization, enable us to understand a design and its development; predictive and evaluative analytical tools allow designers to test the implications and performance of design ideas; and some tools even act as part of the final production of building elements and coordination of construction. It is the last aspect that provides this book’s central focus. However, we will also discuss some of the other interdependent and beneficial approaches to digital technology’s use in architectural design and production. Digital fabrication, therefore, is typically, but not always, a later stage of the design process, and as the name suggests, it is a method using digital data to direct a manufacturing process. That does not mean it follows a conventional route and that design results in the pushing of a button to make something—in fact, nothing could be further from the truth! Many of the fabrication processes featured here require the designer to consider the elements to be fabricated much earlier in the ideation stage. 5. Negroponte, N. (1995) Being Digital. Alfred A. Knopf, p.7. 6. Frazer, J. (1995) An Evolutionary Architecture. Architectural Association, p.9. Detail from the Universal Constructor, a working model of a self-organizing interactive environment made as a group project led by John Frazer, 1990. A brief history 19 Left The transformational nature of digital technologies is prevalent in a range of architectural projects, such as the iconic Blur Building, Yverdon-les-Bains, built for the Swiss 2002 Expo. Literally an “architecture of atmosphere,” the design uses an intelligent weather system to read varying climactic conditions—temperature, humidity, wind speed, and direction—and processes this data in a computer to regulate the water pressure of the “fog” accordingly. Below A key aspect of digital technologies is interactivity. This interface, developed by Coop Himmelb(l)au for their Brain City Lab project, allows visitors to act as emitters or attractors of information within the installation so that their position and movement directly influence the information flow within the virtual city, producing new connections and centers. Bottom Design and manufacturing processes from other disciplines are being integrated with architecture to develop innovative methods of constructing complex geometrical elements. VoltaDom is an installation designed by Skylar Tibbits for MIT’s 150th Anniversary Celebration & FAST Arts Festival, 2011. The project expands the notion of the architectural “surface panel” by intensifying the depth of a doubly curved vaulted surface, while maintaining relative ease in assembly and fabrication. This is made possible by transforming complex curved vaults into developable strips. The assembly could be likened to simply rolling a strip of material. 20 Introduction Fabricating architecture in the digital age Digital fabrication in architecture is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging over the last 15 years to become a substantial aspect of critical debate, professional practice, and education within the discipline. Essentially, it is a subcategory of Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) since it utilizes computercontrolled machines as tools with which to cut or make parts. While still relatively novel in architecture, CAD/CAM processes have been used in engineering and industrial design for more than 50 years in the development and fabrication of cars, airplanes, and smaller consumer goods. Components are usually designed and developed with three-dimensional modeling software, and then scale models are produced using a rapid protoyping process that translates digital information into physical object. Because this type of object includes all the data from the computational model, it is often highly detailed and therefore provides a precise description of the design. This stage may be reiterated to revise the design until such a point is reached that full-size prototypes are made, either as parts in themselves or to form molds from which components are subsequently made; in either scenario, a variety of materials may be used depending on the intended purpose. More importantly, this process has facilitated a greater fluidity between design generation, development, and fabrication than in traditional approaches, which necessitated a more cumulative, staged process. The potential to make things directly from design information has precipitated a transformation in design disciplines, as it allows the designer to engage with the entire process from concept to final product in an unprecedented manner. A significant figure in the field, Lisa Iwamoto describes this shift: “[F]or many years, as the process of making drawings steadily shifted from being analog to digital, the design of buildings did not really reflect the change. CAD replaced drawings with a parallel rule and lead pointer, but buildings looked pretty much the same. This is perhaps not so surprising—one form of twodimensional representation simply replaced another. It took three-dimensional computer modeling and digital fabrication to energize design thinking and expand the boundaries of architectural form and construction.”7 7. Iwamoto, L. (2009) Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques. Princeton Architectural Press, p.5. The Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, by Frank O. Gehry & Associates. Perhaps one of the most important architectural projects with regard to digital technologies, it fueled the development of their application in the discipline, generating specific software programs in the process, as well as demonstrating their potential to a wider audience.

Author Nick Dunn Isbn 9781856698917 File size 38.4 MB Year 2012 Pages 192 Language English File format PDF Category Architecture Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare With the increasing sophistication of CAD and other design software, there is now a wide array of means for both designing and fabricating architecture and its components. The proliferation of advanced modelling software and hardware has enabled architects and students to conceive and create designs that would be very difficult to do using more traditional methods. The use of CAD technologies in the production of physical models, prototypes and individual elements is increasingly widespread through processes such as CAD/CAM, CNC milling and rapid prototyping. This translation of computer-generated data to physical artefact can also be reversed with devices such as a digitiser, which traces the contours of physical objects directly into the computer. This book focuses on the inspiring possibilities for architecture that can be explored with all the different technologies and techniques available for making complete designs or their components.     Download (38.4 MB) Architectural Modelmaking, 2nd Edition Post-Parametric Automation in Design and Construction The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure, and the Misadventures of Precision Fabricating the Frank Gehry Legacy Sketchup 2014 for Architectural Visualization Load more posts

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