The novel stones of venice: The marching cube algorithm as a strategy for managing mass-customisation

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Conference Proceeding
ACADIA 2013: Adaptive Architecture - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, 2013, pp. 311 - 318
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© 2013 ACADIA. All rights reserved. The Marching Cube (MC) algorithm is a simple procedural routine for the surface representation of three-dimensional scalar fields. While much has been written of the algorithm’s efficiencies and adaptive nature within the domain of computer graphics and imaging, little has been explored within the context of architectural geometry and fabrication. This paper posits a novel implementation of the MC algorithm coupled with robotic fabrication (RF) techniques, to realise an open-ended design method that approaches mass-customisation as the unique geometric distortion of a finite set of topologically consistent families of tectonic elements. The disciplinary consequences of this and similar methods that intimately couple algorithmic design techniques with robotic fabrication are discussed. These include the re-affirmation or expansion of the role of the architect as master builder that is enabled by challenging Leon battista Alberti’s 15th Century division between design concept and building. The method and its disciplinary potentials are illustrated through the description of an installation built by the authors for the Australian Pavilion at the Venice biennale. Clouds of Venice serves as a case study for a new integrated mode of production, one that increases the quality and number of feedback relations between design, matter and making.
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