Digital Design & Fabrication 2015

Course Description

Design & Fabrication investigates the transformation of concept design to production documentation and manufacturing of architecture within contemporary digital media. Situated at the threshold between virtual and physical, design information and architectural artifacts, it is comprised of both design computation methods as well as material fabrication technologies.

The course introduces advanced concepts of design computation such as parametric modelling techniques of design description & analysis for fabrication, computer aided design and manufacturing workflows and technologies of materialization such as conventional fabrication protocols as well as rapid prototyping and numerical control manufacturing.

Student Work

  1. A Million Cuts
  2. Generative Casting
  3. Planar Joints
  4. Spatial Joints
  5. Rapid Prototyping
  6. Paper Constructs


20.003 Introduction to Design Computation

Weekly Schedule

Tuesday            Lecture             9:00 – 10:00
Wednesday      Workshop       10:00 – 13:00         Group 1 + 2
Thursday          Workshop       10:00 – 13:00        Group 3 + 4

Learning Objectives

  • Apply concepts of imperative (scripting) and declarative (parametric) modelling (CAD/CAM) to create, represent and document architectural design information for production.
  • Apply methods of part and assembly composition (and decomposition) workflows to understand material and manufacturing complexity and select appropriate methods of production.
  • Apply conventional and computer controlled manufacturing methods (cutting, machining and printing) to create physical prototypes to communicate design intent.
  • Apply computer aided design and manufacturing methods to design, produce and present a small scale installation

Measurable Outcomes

  • Evaluate methods of prototyping and fabrication using various technologies (eg. laser and water-jet cutting, machining, 3d printing) in terms of quantitative metrics such as material use/waste, documentation and production time requirements, and qualitative factors such as finishing, affective and visual performance.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the variety of design description, documentation and production methods and technologies in terms of their capabilities and limitations.
  • Respond to the implications of the transformation of design information through various representations (3D/2D, sketches, design/shop drawings and machine files) within the context of provisioning for design-built precision and tolerance.
  • Demonstrate the potential for a creative convergence (or divergence) between original design intent and final outcome through the various phases of representation transformations from design to production mediated thought design computation.

Tutorial Notes



Materials & Structures


Stylianos Dritsas
Course Instructor
Assistant Professor, ASD

 Recommended Readings

  • Kolarevic, B. (ed) (2003) Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing, Taylor and Francis Group
  • Schodek, D., Bechthold, M., Griggs, J. K. and Kao, K. (2004) Digital Design and Manufacturing: CAD/CAM Applications in Architecture and Design, Wiley
  • Kolarevic, B and Klinger, K (eds) (2008) Manufacturing Material Effects, Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture, Routledge
  • Gramazio, F. and Kohler, M. (2008) Digital Materiality in Architecture, Lars Muller Publishers
  • Iwamoto, L. (ed) (2009) Digital Fabrications, Princeton Architectural Press
  • Dunn, N. (ed) (2012) Digital Fabrication in Architecture, Laurence King Publishing
  • Howes, P. and Laughlin, Z. (2012) Material Matters: New Materials in Design, Black Dog Publishing
  • Glynn, R. and Sheil, B. (eds) (2012) Fabricate: Making Digital Architecture, Riverside Architectural Press, Riverside Architectural Press
  • Peters, B. and De Kestelier, X. (eds) (2013) Computation Works: The Building Of Algorithmic Thought, Architectural Design, March/April
  • Lefteri, C. (2007) Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design, Laurence King Publishing
  • Wigginton, M. (1996) Glass in Architecture,Phaidon Press
    Reeser, A. and Schafer, A. (eds) (2004) New Technologies / New Architectures,Praxis Journal, Issue 6
  • Jenkins, D. (ed) (2007) Foster 40 Themes,Prestel
    Sakamoto, T. and Ferre, A. (eds) (2008) From Control to Design: Parametric/Algorithmic Architecture, Actar
  • Littlefield, D. (ed) (2008) Space Craft: Developments in Architectural Computing, RIBA Publishing
  • Fiell, C. and Fiell, P. (2009) Plastic Dreams: Synthetic Visions in Design, Fiell Publishing
  • Peters, B. and Peters, T. (eds) (2013) Inside Smart Geometry: Expanding the Architectural Possibilites of Computational Design, Wiley