"Seemingly Seamless" A Collaboration with Pratt Institute

Studio Brief: Towards a New Theory of Tectonics: Seemingly Seamless

Contemporary society is flooded by images, and some may argue architecture is now produced by the construction of images. Pixel based technologies have allowed us to fabricate seamless collages that depict hyper realistic representation of fictional architectural content to convey cultural and emotional content. At the same time, advanced manufacturing technologies have also allowed for a variety material effects as a result of subtractive, additive, and material manipulation. These material effects tend to concentrate on singular homogenous material tectonics instead of an assemblage of parts. This Advanced Design studio proposed to investigate how Architects should engage contemporary advanced manufacturing techniques as a spectrum between extreme seamlessness where material properties are blended within multi-stream material blending in a single additive method to a highly customized assemblage of many parts where seams are made to appear and disappear for material attributes as well as emotional triggers.

Historically, when one engages in hands-on material production, the techniques typically provide live feedback that will inform the design process so that the formal tectonics relationship is often informed by physical material constraints and properties. This studio also attempted to explore new forms of feedback between methods and materials to help inform new design agendas. In some way, the studio attempted to provide these new machines with the possibilities of ghosts coded by designers. The studio provided technical workshops to assist with the technical and material exploration on the design of an assemblage of architectural components. Students were expected to work in physical models extensively to prepare and simulate the possible techniques of the machine. In addition, digital simulation was also used to refine the final actions performed by the machines.

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Seam: noun

Seams are often where discussion begin regarding architectural modes of production and critical thinking, where by the relationship between 2 materials or more are either forced or coerced to connect in a meaningful way that exemplifies progressive architecture. Therefore, one can make an argument that Architecture Materiality is a composite one, made up of invisible (cultural aesthetics) and visible forces (Advanced Manufacturing) taking shape within existing and new territories of architectural production. While there maybe multiple materials at play, there Seems to be a desire for architects to generate an approach of developing ideas/concepts with only adopting one material, one technology, and one methodology, that can potentially result in a wide range of possibilities to push progressive architecture.

New concepts of production connect existing materials with new technology (robotics), resulting in / manifesting itself in a new aesthetic composition. These effects and affects are the entry points for new authorship to occur and engage the cultural forces at play.

Physical modeling making is an important component in design and in development of tectonic concepts, and has historically been a driver for making decisions. In most instances, the process of physical production of a model has always been a procedure by which the designer is informed on the quality of the idea, through a feedback loop that is established between the designer and physical model. As automation of model making has been more prevalent in schools and practices, a threat to the intimate relationship between designer and model seems to be less common as we become detach from the process of making.

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