Here at [Re_Map], we share the view that we have entered a post-digital age in which how and why we design has become as significant as what we design. As part of our ongoing research and critique into modes of representation and production, a new book by Nick Dunn has just been published, ‘Digital Fabrication in Architecture’ (Laurence King). The publication features work from leading-edge practices and researchers from around the globe as well as numerous [Re_Map] alumni.
Architecture is fundamentally concerned with two core activities: designing and making. Of course, these are not mutually exclusive and often inform one another in a continuous dialogue as projects progress from concepts, through design development to final form – typically the realization of a building. The ability to effectively communicate creative ideas remains a central aspect of the discipline. With the development of numerous Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and other software packages, the variety of design processes available to architects, which may influence the fabrication of architecture and its components, is greater than ever. Of specific interest in this field is the recent capability of completely digital workflows or the ability to integrate analogue and digital techniques and processes to produce physical objects, whether three-dimensional concept diagrams, scale models or full-size prototypes.
As such, there has been considerable emphasis on the notion of ‘digital craft’ which, rather than the relationship between human and the machine creating distance from the design and making process, actually reinforces the level of engagement between the two. Therefore, whilst some of the contemporary tools we may now use differ vastly from those used in previous times, the idea of craftsmanship still prevails in the sense of a designer who is involved in a cyclical process between the generation of an idea, its representation (whether through drawing and/or modelling), and its fabrication.
This book seeks to bridge various gaps in understanding through three major themes:
1. Generation – how do we produce and develop design data?
2. Integration – how do we than use this design data, since it is often also the construction data, in a meaningful and creative manner?
3. Strategies – what are the overarching approaches connecting geometry and material, design and fabrication?
‘This welcome publication is inspiring, informative, lusciously illustrated and methodically structured. As digital fabrication technologies seep evermore into the daily routines of design practice, it should provoke more designers to become familiar with these tools, and to exploit their potential as makers.’
– Bob Sheil, RIBA, Senior Lecturer and Director of Technology and Computing, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
‘Nick Dunn has perfectly situated this book at a point where advanced thinking in architecture meets emerging, cutting edge technologies. Digital Fabrication in Architecture is as inspiring as it is informative.’
– Thom Faulders, Architect, Faulders Studio, and Professor, Department of Architecture, CCA