This theme examines the means by which we move from design concept to an actual object or environment. Because advances in digitally driven rapid prototyping techniques are challenging traditional means of manufacturing and construction, this theme addresses the question: "How can new approaches to fabrication be integrated with existing design practices to improve the productivity and efficiency of construction and manufacturing?" The aim of this theme is to streamline the flow of design information from file to factory and from bits to buildings.

This theme will be developed by two interdisciplinary and multi-institutional projects:

  1. 21st Century Construction
  2. Integration

How will buildings be built in this new century? 21st Century Construction brings together researchers from across the country to address this issue. Through interconnected advanced construction labs the team will conduct research on new assemblies, techniques and materials. Balakrishnan will expand his work in robotic systems for manufacturing. Harrop and West will apply their work in fabric-formed concrete and lightweight shell prefabrications to new applications in concrete and CNC manufactured stone and unit masonry, while Beesley, Seebohm, Straube and Gorbet will research lightweight, polymer systems. Harrop, Hasdell, Balakrishnan, Beesley, Revington and Gorbet will investigate responsive space and construction.

Straube and McMinn will investigate sustainable building envelopes. Boake, Straube and McMinn will examine prefabrication, framing and detailing. Williamson and Cirka will conduct research into the creation of new architectural forms through algorithmic design. Bonnemaison and Macy will investigate lightweight and tensile structures. Hasdell, Harrop, Lilley, Forrest, Macy and Neumann will conduct material and building craft research which will include exploration of new techniques and building methods for 'old' materials such as bentwood construction, ceramic skins, hybrid textiles and 'growing walls' of rammed earth and straw bales. Budd, Wakkary and Engeli will research the effect of fabrication technology on design processes for interactive products. Woodbury will combine the ability of design space exploration to create very large numbers of digital alternatives with automatic fabrication of multiple prototypes for physical testing.

Despite the widespread availability of rapid prototyping, it remains poorly integrated with design, construction and manufacturing in Canada. The Integration project will address this issue in a number of ways. Levy, Gadbois and the proposed Haworth Chair in Integrated Design will examine full-scale proof of concept prototyping, systems design, sustainable design solutions, use of non-traditional, environmentally responsible materials, and the interface between architecture and industrial design. Balakrishnan, West, Harrop, Chard and Hasdell will utilize the Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (CAST) facility for full-scale architectural prototypes using digital fabrication technology. Lilley, Neumann and Diamond will conduct research into hybrid techniques that combine both traditional, manual approaches to fabrication with digital, automated ones. And Balakrishnan, Hasdell and Beesley will conduct research into the development of responsive and sensor-based dynamic design and construction systems including applications in structural, mechanical and building envelope design.

Research Case Studies

Sustainable Wood Buildings through Material and Assembly Efficiency

The project takes large scale CNC fabrication technologies as a starting point for innovative wood construction methods that build on the BC wood building tradition and the existing forestry industry to promote sustainable wood building designs through material efficiency and efficiency of assembly. The design research is intended to contribute to the transformation of the BC wood industry from a resource-based to a technologically sophisticated and knowledge-based economy.

Asst. Prof. Oliver Neumann with Ana Sandrin, Mike Lemon, AnnaLisa Meyboom School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, UBC Department of Applied Science. In collaboration with Asst. Prof. Robert Fuerst, Daniel Schmitt, Thomas Tannert Centre for Advanced Wood Processing, UBC Department of Wood Science



Home Research Events About Contact Us

Copyright © 2006 Canadian Design Research Network.
All Rights Reserved.