Material Uncertainty An Introduction to Digital Design and Fabrication

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James Forren


In “Material and Computation” – an introductory course in digital design and construction in architecture - we examine intrinsic material properties and their manipulation over time as the basis of computational design.  Students design building components and assemblies using the tactility of materials to ground the learning of computational methods.  The uncertainty of material behavior enriches this learning through a hands-on experience of complex digital-analog relationships.  To negotiate uncertainty students invent methods of working with materials at precise moments, while allowing materials to behave freely at others.  The course instructs students in an algorithmic framework of constants and variables to plan out these interventions.  In this way “computation” becomes more than a tool to realize form, it becomes a way to think about and orchestrate networks of materials over time: encoding instructions about material manipulation which account for the uncertainty of material behavior.

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Technology and Materials