Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Welcome to the workarea of ARC 499 - Digitally Enhanced Construction And Fabication.
This elective course fo undergraduate and graduate students at CalPoly Pomona is hosted by Assistant Profesor Axel Schmitzberger.

ARC 499


The course contains lectures and problems in the area of digital modeling procedures of complex geometries under the use of parametric design methods and automated output in form of rapid prototyping. The course consists of Lectures and problem-solving exercises.

General Objective
The course focuses on two main subjects, first the establishment of ‘file-to-factory’ principles along with the introduction of elemental planning tools such as rapid prototyping and parametric design and second, the practical exercise of material and architectural ‘hot-swapping’ based on an assignment schedule. Assignments and lectures offer a combined practical and theoretical background.

Expected Outcomes
To develop a digital accurate 3D model based on 2D plans.
To develop a structural strategy under the use of primary digital model and knowledge of industry standards and possible customization processes.
To have an understanding of contemporary, automated production techniques at model-scale and full-scale.
To develop a physical prototype from a digital 3dmodel.
To have understanding of customized detailing under use of contemporary design techniques.

All lectures support the development and completion of the assignments. They are structured in a software-teaching portion where methods of modeling are discussed and elaborated. They further feature a theoretical element which contains backgrounds in design theory of the last 100 years, a history of machining, tools and techniques of digital manipulation and design as well as a overview over rapid prototyping methods interwoven with practical examples of built architecture. software workshop with attendance requirement will be presented at the beginning of the course all students. Detailed information will be issued in the first class meeting.

In the past, traditional architectural practice has engaged in the production process in a consistent and refined process. With the emergence of Numeric Controlled machining equipment (NC) such as CNC Milling, Laser-Cutting, Plasma-Cutting etc. industry advances to a state where established routines won’t necessarily apply.
The architectural practice changes with the offered tools and with the introduction of new materials, customization at mass-scale and prototyping from digital fi les; as a result it becomes necessary for the modern architect to rethink his position and re-evaluate construction procedures.

Parallel to lectures on various topics around digitally enhanced construction and fabrication, it is useful to study the principles of file-to-factory scenarios and examine related issues through practical examples. Students will be able to experience digital production and its procedures firsthand in conjunctions with current areas of conflicts and problems.

Hot-swapping is a term created by the computer industry. It describes the ability to remove and replace components of a machine, usually a computer, while it is operating. This technology has begun to appear in the mid to low end computer systems in recent years. Hot-swapping in architecture therefore requires ‘intelligent’ planning and planning accuracy in all stages. To hot-swap a material or eventually structures throughout the development process of a full-scale building not only challenges the architect and his aesthetic desires but also the industry and used software.

This course and the assignments aim to offer an introduction in the understanding of parametric design and the ability to exchange materials without altering the precision of the digital model.

In Architectural hot-swapping all geometric constraints remain intact while thickness, subdivision and/or cladding methods can be alternated, refined or evaluated without affecting other parts of the building. In addition this course focuses on detailing in form of aggregation (one building, one detail)
EX01: Aggregation
In this exercise students will develop an interlocking aggregate and allow it to populate a specific surface area. Digital handshakes need to be developed.
EX02: Digital Handshake
In this exercise students will learn how to team-work in a total digital environment.
EX03: Hot-swapping
Students will take learnt lesson from EX01 to digitally collaborate and reverse engineer details and parts in small teams of a given architectural problem to later match up the work and assemble a comprehensive digital reversed engineered building.

For a competent guide through building with complex geometry students should refer to:
POTTMANN H. (Author et. al.), BENTLEY D. (Editor), Architectural Geometry, Bentley Institute Press, 2007
VOLLERS, KAREL, Twist & build, creating non-orthoganal architecture, 010 publishers, 2001
SCHODEK D. (et al.), Digital Design and Manufacturing: CAD/CAM Technologies in Architecture, John Wiley & Sons, 2005

To develop accurate 3d models of case studies the students may refer to the Internet but also follow the published material in the book list below.
Following bibliography consists of reference material used throughout the course and can be considered suggested reading to increase depth of knowledge in the subject of digitally enhanced construction and fabrication:

Design theory / History:
ARNOLD, HEINRICH, The Recent History of the Machine Tool Industry and the Effects of Technological Change, University of Munich, Institute for Innovation Research and Technology Management, November 2001
BEAUCÉ, PATRICK, CACHE, BERNARD, Objectile: Fast-Wood: A Brouillon Project, Consequence Book Series on Fresh Architecture, Springer Wien New York, 2007
JORMAKKA KARI, Flying Dutchmen, Motion in Architecture, Birkhauser, 2002
LYNN GREG, Folds, Bodies & Blobs, La lettre Volee, 1998
OOSTERHUIS, KAS, Hyperbodies, Towards an E-motive architecture, Birkhauser, 2003
REISER J, Reiser + Umemoto, Atlas of Novel Tectonic, Princeton Architectural Press, 2005

Physics / Geometry / Techniques:
POTTMANN H. (Author et. al.), BENTLEY D. (Editor), Architectural Geometry, Bentley Institute Press, 2007
VOLLERS, KAREL, Twist & build, creating non-orthogonal architecture, 010 publishers, 2001

Materials / Prototyping:
BROWNELL, BLAINE ERICKSON, Transmaterial: a catalogue of materials that redefine our physical environment, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006
CHUA, C.K., LEONG, K.F., LIM, C.S., Rapid Prototyping, Principles and Applications, 2nd edition, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd, 2003
LEFTERI, CHRIS, Plastic, Materials for Inspirational Design, Rotovision SA, 2001
LEFTERI, CHRIS, Ceramic, Materials for Inspirational Design, Rotovision SA, 2003
LEFTERI, CHRIS, Wood, Materials for Inspirational Design, Rotovision SA, 2003
LEFTERI, CHRIS, Metal, Materials for Inspirational Design, Rotovision SA, 2004
LEFTERI, CHRIS, Glass, Materials for Inspirational Design, Rotovision SA, 2004
JAMES, THURSTON, The Prop Builder’s Molding & Casting Handbook, Betterway Books, Cincinnati, 1989

Architectural practice:
REESER AMANDA, SCHAFER ASHLEY (eds.) Praxis: Journal of Writing and Building, Issue 6: New Technologies://New Architectures, Praxis Inc., 2004
TOY, MAGGIE (ed.), SPILLER, NEIL (guest-ed.), Architects in Cyberspace II, Architectural Design Profile N 136, Architectural Design, Vol 68, No 11/12 November/December 1998, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., London, 2000
KIERAN STEPHEN, TIMBERLAKE JAMES (EDS.) Refabricating Architecture, How Manufacturing Methodologies Are Poised to Transform Building Construction, McGraw-Hill, 2004
MCNEEL ROBERT, Rhinocerus Nurbs modeling for Windows, Version 4.0 user Guide, Robert McNeel Associates, 1993-2002