Page T1.1 . 15 December 2004                     
ArchitectureWeek - Tools Department
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Architectural Fabrications

by Celine Pinet

Digital technology is helping to breed a new generations of architectural forms, some of which appear to be born of science fiction. But unlike fantasy images from "Star Trek," or from fringe visionaries, some of these forms are being developed and used by no-nonsense practitioners. Could this be the beginning of a new era for architecture?

To discuss new ways of shaping buildings, experts in this field architects, scientists, and educators met at the University of Waterloo in Cambridge, Ontario, in November, 2004. "Fabrication," was the first joint conference of the academic Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) and the practitioners' group within the American Institute of Architects, Technology in Architectural Practice (AIA TAP).

ACADIA takes a scholarly approach to digital technology in architecture, through research and conceptual 3D modeling and by helping architecture students apply digital tools to their design processes. AIA TAP takes a pragmatic approach to the use of digital tools, which they use to support the building design/ construction life cycle and to foster productive collaboration.

In meeting together, the academics and practitioners voiced a conviction that digital design and synthetic fabrication can change architecture in fundamental ways. As ACADIA president and Ball State University professor Kevin Klinger put it: "Architecture is engaged with a retooling of instruments and techniques."   >>>

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Presented at the recent conference, "Fabrication," is a structure designed with computer assistance to fit the human body. The exploration of structure and void was presented by Lisa Iwamoto and built by her students at the University of California, Berkeley.
Photo: Lisa Iwamoto

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The "SmartGeometry" workshop, with tutors Volker Mueller, NBBJ, and Rob Woodbury, Simon Fraser University, drew participants from leading architectural practices.
Photo: Robert Aish


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