Towards Real-Time Adaptive Fabrication-Aware Form Finding in Architecture

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Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design 2016, 2016, 1, pp. 426 - 437
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This paper identifies the disciplinary potential latent in the combination of algorithmic design and sensor-enabled robotic fabrication to achieve multiple channels of feedback between design, fabrication and assembly. Three key methodological shifts are identified. The first is a shift to fabrication-aware-form finding. In comparing analogue form finding to digital form finding practices, it is clear that a greater number and diversity of constraints can be negotiated within an information-based digital environment. The second methodological shift is to bidirectional negotiation between design and production limits. Robotic fabrication is highly customizable—initial constraints do not need to be seen as fixed. The final shift is the introduction of sensor feedback and near real-time control. This permits the continual redefinition of parts during fabrication in response to material-, dimensional- and assembly-volatility. Taken together, these shifts challenge the typically linear and compartmentalised nature of the processes linking design with construction and therefore open up new ecologies of design practice and opportunities for innovation.
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