How can nature inform next-generation building materials and fabrication techniques? The Affinito-Stewart Grant is supporting two specific projects that engage the topic of ‘Generative Fabrication’ through the novel use of ceramic media at the cutting edge of digital fabrication for application at the architectural scale. The first project, jointly support by the Jenny Sabin Studio and Affinito-Stewart, is a large interwoven spatial structure composed of over 1400 digitally produced slip-cast ceramic components. This project is currently on view at the prestigious international exhibition titled ‘Naturalizing Architecture’ as part of ArchiLab 2013 at the FRAC in Orleans, France. The second project is underway and is in collaboration with Cornell Professor and Robotics Engineer, Hod Lipson. Together, we are producing the first 1:1 scaled 3D printed ceramic brick wall. This proof of principle prototype will revolutionize how we fabricate non-standard brick components for wall construction at the architectural scale. Sabin has already successfully 3D printed and fired complex clay forms for ceramic production that have never before been achieved.
Overall, this project aims to engage a new material practice and next steps in digital fabrication in architecture through the production of models and prototypes via cutting edge parametric and associative software that interface fabrication technologies in related, but alternative disciplines. No longer privileging column, beam and arch, our definition of architectural tectonics has broadened alongside advancements made in computational design. How have these advancements impacted material practice in architecture, engineering and construction at economic, technological and cultural levels? How might we address these issues during the design process? Importantly, the proposed design research project seeks to communicate, document and make public advances in tooling and fabrication to advance the design and production of nonlinear systems via complex geometries. Central to this is the integration of fields and industries outside of our own in the practice of design research by a multi-disciplinary team composed of architects, mechanical engineers, scientists and fabricators active in academia, practice & industry. The main goal of this proposal concerns the evolution of digital complexity in the built world.