Digital Design and Fabrication 2017

Course Description

Digital Design and Fabrication investigates the transformation of conceptual design to production documentation and manufacturing within contemporary digital media. Situated at the threshold between virtual and physical, design information and artifacts, it is comprised of both design computation methods as well as material fabrication techniques. The course introduces advanced concepts of design computation such as imperative and declarative techniques of design description and analysis for fabrication, computer aided design and manufacturing workflows and technologies of materialization such as conventional fabrication protocols as well as rapid prototyping and numerically controlled manufacturing.


20.211 Introduction to Design Computation

Weekly Schedule

Monday       Lecture            10:00 – 11:00
Monday       Workshop       11:00 – 14:00         Group 1 + 2
Monday       Workshop       15:00 – 18:00        Group 3 + 4

Course Schedule

Classes consist of one-hour lecture per week containing active learning components for all students together LT5 (2.505). In addition the course has a three-hour workshop session, where much of the technical, hands-on material is practiced. Workshop sessions are held twice a week each time for half of the students. These sessions take place at the TT22 (2.311). Students must bring their laptops in workshop sessions. The software used in the class is: Rhino3D, Grasshopper, RhinoCAM, Fusion 360 which is available by IT.

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.


Assignment 01         15%
Assignment 02         15%
Assignment 03         15%
Assignment 04         15% Exam
Assignment 05         15%
Assignment 06         25%


Stylianos Dritsas
Course Instructor
Assistant Professor, ASD
Sihan Wang
Teaching Assistant
PhD Student, 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