ADAPTIVE COMPONENT SYSTEMS / From Prefabrication to Operative Sustainability; Seminar in Technology and Special Topics in Construction
Visiting Assistant Prof. Dana Cupkova / firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Assistant Andrew Heumann / email@example.com
Attempts to use prefabrication in architecture to realize a Fordist model of production resulting in the seamless manufacture of human environments have failed. The industrial revolution succeeded in lowering the value of skilled human labor, thus limiting areas of specialization. Consequently our profession moved away from a focus on the craft of building towards the objectification of architecture as an easily distributable commodity. The efficiency of the industrial paradigm created an economical model of endless repetition enabled by semi-automated construction methods, resulting in a lack of qualitative specificity and variation in building design. The failure of prefabrication lies primarily in its resistance to an adaptive response to various geographical, topological and climactic variables inherent in the specificity of site. Adaptive Component Systems is a technology seminar which integrates contemporary fabrication technology with architectural design through a better understanding of computationally generated geometry. An understanding of digitally-driven adaptive topology, linked to component- and climate-specific performative issues, is critical in resolving contemporary conflicts between architecture and energy usage, and results in greater energetic efficiency in overall building performance. This seminar bridges a gap between advanced prototyping of a digitally-controlled adaptive building form and a real-world experience with manufacturing industry. Merging the capabilities of parametric design tools with digitally controlled fabrication, we collaborate with a local rapid prototype fabricator, Incodema, to design, streamline and optimize material mock-ups and prototypes into actual realization. The primary intent of this seminar is to explore the shift from assembly line style industrial prefabrication to possibilities for contemporary means of construction effected by advances in digital technology. We will use parameterization as a tool to adapt repetitive processes to differentiated conditions and material and manufacturing constraints, thus exploring possibilities for the application of new qualitative and performative parameters and craft. Students will be introduced to basic digital parametric tools and immersed in the contemporary fabrication processes through close collaboration with Incodema, as well we interdisciplinary consultation with selected engineering faculty. This seminar is supported by Cornell’s Faculty Innovation in Teaching Award.