Advanced Topics in Digital Design and Fabrication 2016

Course Description

The course offers knowledge and skill on advanced topics in digital design and fabrication, namely additive manufacturing, architectural robotics and automation in construction. The course is in continuation of the undergraduate design computation courses and in alignment of the Master’s thesis research proposal formulation. As a graduate level course it is based on design research where students are required to develop their own proposals, methods and artifact which may lead to publication of results in journals and conferences.


  • Introduction to Design Computation
  • Digital Design and Fabrication
  • Building Information Modeling

Learning Objectives

  • Obtain knowledge of advanced digital design and fabrication through literature reviews of theoretical and applied research work in the fields of architecture and general manufacturing for topics such as mass customization, computer controlled fabrication, industrial robotics and automation in construction.
  • Identify areas of high impact research in digital design and fabrication for future architectural design and construction.
  • Acquire application-oriented knowledge and skills relevant to additive and subtractive fabrication processes, including integration of electromechanical systems controlled by computation towards modulation of material and geometric configuration and properties.

Measurable Outcomes

  • Composition of a publication-ready research paper that clearly presents the (I) design objectives, (ii) relevant work, (iii) processes and methods developed, (iv) prototypes produced, (v) future applications and contributions to the field of architecture within digital design and fabrication.
  • Demonstration of A functional proof of concept process and experimental design prototypes evidencing (i) creative and innovative thinking and (ii) integration of technical and aesthetic sophistication competitive with state of the art work in the field architecture within digital design and fabrication.

Weekly Schedule

Tuesday            9:00 – 13:00

Recommended Readings

List of recommended readings that cover concepts from various domains relevant to digital design and fabrication. Excerpts from those reading sources are incorporated in the lecture sessions. Students are encouraged to further their understanding of the subject by self-study.

Digital Fabrication

  • Gramazio, F. and Kohler, M.: Digital Materiality in Architecture, Lars Muller Publishers (2008)
  • Dunn, N. (ed): Digital Fabrication in Architecture, Laurence King Publishing (2012)
  • Kolarevic, B. (ed): Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing, Taylor and Francis Group(2003)


  • Siciliano, S. and Khatib, O. (eds): The Springer Handbook of Robotics, Springer (2008)
  • Graig, J. J.: Introduction to Robotics, Mechanics and Control, Addison-Wesley Series in Electrical and Computer Engineering: Control Engineering (1986).
  • Denavit, J., Hartenberg, R. S.: A Kinematic Notation for Lower-Pair Mechanisms Based on Matrices, Journal of Applied Mechanics, 215–221 (1955)


  • Gambao, E, Balaguer, C., Gebhart, F.: Robot Assembly System for Computer-Integrated Construction, Automation in Construction 9, 479–487 (2000)
  • Cousineau, L., Miura, N.: Construction Robots, The Search for New Building Technology in Japan, American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE Press (1998)

Mass Customization

  • Davis, S. M.: Future Perfect. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley (1987)
  • Pine II, B. J: Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition, Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press (1993)
  • Lampel, J., Mintzberg, H.: Customizing Customization, Sloan Management Review, 37, 21–30 (1996)

Indicative list of reading research papers. Students are required to read those papers as reference point for their own technical paper writing. Additional sources of digital design and fabrication can be found at

Design Computation

  • Pigram, D., McGee, W.: Formation Embedded Design, A Methodology for the Integration of Fabrication Constraints into Architectural Design, ACADIA, 122–131(2011)
  • Brell-Cokcan, S., Reis, M., Schmiedhofer, H., Braumann, J.: Digital Design to Digital Production, Flank Milling with a 7-Axis CNC-Milling Robot and Parametric Design, eCAADe, 323–330 (2011)
  • Lavallee, J., Vroman, R., Keshet, Y.: Automated Folding of Sheet Metal Components with a Six-Axis Industrial Robot, ACADIA, 144–151 (2011)
  • Willmann, J, Gramazio, F., Kohler, M. and Langenberg, S.: 2012, Digital by Material: Envisioning an extended performative materiality in the digital age of architecture. Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art, and Design, PP12-27. Vienna: Springer.
  • Schwinn, T., Krieg, O.D., Menges, A., Mihaylov, B. and Reichert, S.: 2012, Machinic Morphospaces: Biomimetic Design Strategies for the Computational Exploration of Robot Constraint Spaces for Wood Fabrication, ACADIA, PP157-168.
  • Dörfler, K., Ernst, S., Piskorec, L., Willmann, J., Helm, V., Gramazio, F., and Kohler, M.: 2014. Remote Material Deposition: Exploration of Reciprocal Digital and Material Computational Capacities. What’s the Matter: Materiality and Materialism at the Age of Computation, PP361–77. Barcelona.
  • Leach, N., Carlson, A., Khoshnevis, B. and Thangavelu, M.: 2012. Robotic construction by contour crafting: the case of lunar construction. International Journal of Architectural Computing, 10(3), PP423-438.