Concrete Tectonics II

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The Concrete Tectonics Studio 2012 was a research based design studio of sixteen Master of Architecture students led by Associate Professor Kirsten Orr, at the University of Technology, Sydney. The studio traversed the gap between analogue and digital spheres of architectural research, pursuing innovation in precast concrete through material experimentation and parametric design. The iterative nature of analogue-to-digital design ultimately manifested itself as an investigation of scale. Multi-scalar prototype-based research focussed on innovative fabrication techniques resulted in student work that tested and challenged the limits of precast concrete against complexities of scale, dimensional tolerance, materiality and mass-customisation principles. The students’ practical and hands-on material testing and prototyping was supported by a parametric scripting tool developed by Supermanoeuvre. The dynamic process of oscillating between the analogue and the digital allowed students to more actively engage with the design process, and to wrestle with the frequent incongruence between digital simulation and physical artefact. This book catalogues the Concrete Tectonics Studio processes into a series of scaled studies, enabling a detailed synthesis of the minute details of the individual components with the complexities of realising the whole. Scale is the lens by which the studio investigations are examined. At the scale of 1:20 is the exploration of form and parametric investigation. At 1:10, the design of the ground plane and scaffolding. At 1:5, the design of mass-customised concrete components and experimentation with casting techniques. At 1:2, the exploration of joints, reinforcement steel, materiality and integration of lighting. And at 1:1, are prototype investigations and the final assemblage.
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