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This paper aims to expose current developments in digital architectural design, digital fabrication techniques and their relations to design pedagogy. The conjoining of machine and material computation potentially has significant and unprecedented
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  A SEARCH FOR DIGITAL DESIGN PEDAGOGY: DIGITAL FABRICATION AS A CHALLENGE Zelal ‚INAR TOBB University of Economics and Technology (TURKEY) Abstract This paper aims to expose current developments in digital architectural design, digital fabrication techniques and their relations to design pedagogy. The conjoining of machine and material computation potentially has significant and unprecedented consequences for design and built environment. With the influence of the emerging technologies, architectural design has become engaged with the exploration of complex geometries, free forms as well as related materialization processes of fabrication technologies. Today, with the emerging interest in fabrication techniques and through file to factory processes, architects are able to design, fabricate and assemble digitally created form, structure and surface.  As a result of these developments, architects became closer to the production process and to have a better control over building parts and materials.  Accordingly, there is an emerging need for a new digital design pedagogy, responsive to contemporary conditions in which digital fabrication techniques are integrated as a unique body of knowledge consisting of the relationship between digital architectural knowledge and digital fabrication skill. The discussion of this very paper will be based on the design curriculum of the Architectural  Association Summer DLAB 2014, in which the author was one of the participants. With the experimental design approach of Summer DLAB, a search for a new pedagogical approach emphasizing the integration of conceptual content, experimental methodologies, digital architectural knowledge and digital fabrication skill will be demonstrated. Keywords: Digital architectural design, digital fabrication, digital design pedagogy, curriculum. 1.INTRODUCTION Today, digital research and architectural design are closely linked to digital production techniques, setting up an iterative process in which the effects of digital production are evaluated and results are immediately fed back into the design process. The application of this non-linear process gives rise to the emergence of unpredictable design patterns thereby evades traditional design approaches. The interdependencies and relations between script-based modeling lead to digital models on the one hand, and to the research of fabrication techniques, which produce a wide range of physical models on the other hand. Digital fabrication techniques enable direct materialization of virtually conceived designs, either by creating scaled models or by building structural real scale elements. The production and construction of complex forms are now possible by means of the link established through the digital workflow from conception to production. Design is becoming inseparable with making so that fabrication cannot be taken as another design tool. Fabrication, indeed, is not a modeling technique but a revolution in the making of architecture (Oxman, 2010). The field of digital fabrication transforms traditional materialization methods and processes. Fabrication as a design activity requires rethinking and the consideration of new approaches and expertise in architectural education. The identification and recognition of new digital technologies in contemporary architecture is important not only for practitioners, but also those in design education that aim to reflect contemporary practice in the context of a design curriculum. Due to the integration of material based design and fabrication as an emerging paradigm, a new digital design pedagogy reflecting the broad implications on the way we conceive and design architecture through digital media is needed. This new design pedagogy necessitates an integrated design approach that supports the interdependence of form, structure and material from design to fabrication. In line with the argument, the paper introduces, analyzes and evaluates the outcomes of the design experiment that took place at the Summer DLAB of Architectural Association School of Architecture.  The AA visiting school Summer DLAB experiments with the integration of algorithmic and generative design methodologies and digital fabrication tools. While the color-based agenda of the program differs every year, the overall theoretical framework investigates concepts of emergence, differentiation and complexity. Moreover, the program demonstrates the continuity of the workflow between computational software and digital assembly methods. To do so, the three-week agenda of the program is formulated in two phases. During the first two weeks, participants generate initial design ideas and test them in various methods and scales, while the last week of the program rests on the physical fabrication and assembly of a full-scale prototype. In its 2014 cycle, under the theme ÔwhiteÕ, Summer DLAB focused on natural formation processes and interpreted them as innovative architectonic spaces. 1   2. DEVELOPING THE INITIAL DESIGN: THE SEA URCHIN The overall aim of the design was devising an enclosed space that holds potential for a wide range of effective conditions. The main objective guided the design was having a permeable surface in order to let the sunshine inside. As it will be located in a forest, it would also transform the path and pierce views into the forest. The design is based on a dome that employs sea urchinÕs structural behavior due to its physical integrity. Sea urchin is a spiny, hard-shelled animal that lives on the rocky seafloor, from shallow waters to great depths (figure 1). They have five-sided radial symmetry and long spines that radiate from the body. These spines are used for protection, moving, and capturing food. 2  The shell of sea urchins prevent cracking and breaking via oblate shape. If a drop of liquid, held together by surface tension, is placed on a surface therefore subjected to force of gravity, it tends to become a more flattened shape, called ÔoblateÕ. The shell of a sea urchin, stripped of its spines is oblate (figure 2). This shape distributes stress evenly over the surface and therefore reduces the likelihood of cracking or breaking. The guiding principle, here, is that a shape is most efficient when it reduces its work to a minimum (Foy, 1982). 3. DESIGN COURSE Manipulating the dome, we arrived at the oblate shape. Then the oblate shape is lofted and trimmed so that it had three openings. After trimming, it is lofted through new contours in order to obtain the final geometry of the surface (figures 3-6).   1  Summer DLAB 2014: Introduction, accessed 18 th  January, 2015, <>.  2  Sea Urchin, accessed 16th January, 2015, <>.   Figure1. Regular sea urchin Figure2. Adult sea urchin    Sea urchinÕs spines are used to visualize vector data. Spine-like openings are defined as positive forces while the gravity is defined as the negative one. The surface of the shelter is divided into a grid system and nodes are defined on this system. The strategy was identifying these nodes as negative and positive vectors. To balance these positive and negative forces, some of these nodes are locked while the others are either pulled or pushed. As the negative vectors were pinched downwards, the positive ones were pinched upwards and formed the openings on the surface. Finally, to avoid cracking on the surface some lines on the grid are taken out, along with the nodes on them (figure 7). Figure3. Oblate shape Figure4. Lofted shape Figure5. Openings trimmed Figure6. Final surface Figure7. Grid strategy and locating the points on the surface  Developing the initial design concept into a buildable design required several steps of feedback between physical and digital models. Once the design strategy is defined, physical prototypes were used to test manufacturability and structural stability. At first, structural analysis is completed (figure 8) and 1: 20 model is printed with rapid prototyping machine (figure 9). The vector forces that the surface exposed to are tested with physical prototypes. To analyze the integrity of the surface, it is pulled and pushed from the pinch points detected (figure 10). This enabled the finalization of the points to be locked, points to be pulled and those to be pushed. Next, strategies are developed to construct pinch points and structural system is tested with various methods. Constructing with concrete and fabric formwork requires a strategy of pouring. To achieve this, two layers of fabric is used and rings put on the pinch points that are identified as positive vectors (figures 11, 12). The concrete was to be poured through these rings. Then the rings were to be taken out and this way, the openings on the surface were to be achieved. The rings were designed and tested on physical prototypes (figure 13). Figure8. Structural analysis via FEA Figure9. 3D printed model Figure10. Testing vectors on surface    The final experiment before constructing the full-scale prototype was casting a 1:5 physical model of the whole structure. For this very last model, plaster is used. At first, MDF formwork that frames the structure is milled with CNC machine and assembled (figure 14). In order to hold the plaster, then, two layers of fabric formwork are enclosed. Pinch points that are exposed to positive forces, are printed on the fabric. Underneath, on the MDF formwork pinch points are drilled to push the fabric formwork up. Later, pinch points are defined with rings on the surface (figure 15). While the inner fabric had larger rings, the outer one had smaller rings. The plaster is poured through these rings into the fabric formwork. Once the mold is finished, it is casted and left to drying (figure 16). Figure11. Working principle of rings Figure12. Structural logic Figure13. Ring prototypes Figure14. Constructing the formwork
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