Taubman College

Master of Science / Areas of Concentration

Digital Technologies


The Master of Science concentration in Digital Technologies (MS_DT) is a 2.5 semester (fall, winter, spring half), 36 credit-hour post-professional degree that offers motivated participants the opportunity to investigate design practices and conduct independent design research in computer-aided design and advanced fabrication techniques. Project-based research provides a testing ground for new modes of practice and innovative uses of existing, new, and emerging technologies and tools. The program builds upon a tradition of cutting-edge technical research at Taubman College, the University of Michigan, and advanced manufacturing processes unique to the region. The College's Digital Fabrication Lab (FABLab) leverages state-of-the-art industrial technology to perform architectural fabrication research. It is one of few academic institutions around the world utilizing robotic automation to perform both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes.

As architecture integrates advanced technologies from the aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding industries, it has altered both the way buildings are conceived and the manner in which they are manufactured. CAD CAM (computer aided design / computer aided manufacturing) technologies have transformed traditional professional boundaries and forced architects to reconsider their role in response to changing contractual relationships, expansion of client services, and concerns for ecological / sustainable thinking. The ability to simulate complex phenomena and synthesize large quantities of data allows designers to engage "building" with a renewed precision and specificity previously unachievable.

Through a series of exercises in the Concentration Seminar and required courses the core curriculum develops tool-based techniques that uncover the generative potential for design solutions through iterative testing in the areas of computational software, computational hardware, data manipulation, and synthetic applications of hardware/software.

Software + Hardware

Software tools will be used and adapted in a generative manner, where the speed and quantity of production positively impact the ability of the designer to make design decisions. Using scripting, parametric modeling, and simulation (of manufacturing, construction, or other generative trajectories), project-based research will explore the role of software on the production of form, and will examine methods for analyzing, representing, and optimizing design to construction processes. Hardware focus areas will include: 2D cutting techniques and optimization of material conservation, 3D techniques for material removal and resulting forms, and robotic assembly strategies - resulting in project-based research that investigates how these techniques can be more innovatively deployed within the discipline.

Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication not only uses data as input parameters but also increasingly combines it with the use of sensors and actuators, as if computing is a property of things. Through data-driven parametric design methods, physical inputs and outputs, and visualization of larger environmental conditions, project-based research will emphasize design application of material, environmental, and user data - and its incorporation into design method.

Synthetic Topics

Synthetic topics to be explored in an integrated manner may also include: scripted robotic control (software / hardware), parametric 2D cutting strategies for fabric in tensile structures (software / hardware), and installation of smart objects with real-time environmental data input (hardware / data).


Degree Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours with a GPA of 3.0 (B) or better. Specifically a student must complete the following in good standing (grade of 'B' or better):

Core Requirements:

  • One course (3 credit hours) in MS Proseminar (Arch 714);
  • One course (3 credit hours) in MS Concentration Theory (Arch 701);
  • Two courses (6 credit hours) in MS Concentration Core A & B (Arch 702 / 703);
  • One course (6 credit hours) in MS Practicum (Arch 700, Section 001);
  • One course (6 credit hours) in MS Capstone (Arch 739, Section 001);

Electives (must be taken for letter grades):

  • Two courses Open Elective (6 credits).
  • Two courses Cognate Elective non-Architecture program graduate level defined by Rackham Graduate School (6 credits).

Sample Schedule

Fall Term Credits
Arch 714 MS Proseminar 3
Arch 702 Material Engagement in Digital Technologies 3
Arch 703 Virtual Engagement in Digital Technologies 3
Open Elective 3
Open Elective 3
Total 15
Winter Term Credits
Arch 700 MS Practicum 6
Arch 701 Theories in Digital Technologies 3
Open Elective 3
Open Elective 3
Total 15
Spring Term Credits
Arch 739 MS Capstone 6
Total 6

Faculty

Sean Ahlquist
Assistant Professor of Architecture
Design, digital fabrication, technology

Karl Daubmann
Associate Professor of Architecture
Design, technology

Milton S. F. Curry
Associate Dean / Director, Post-Professional Degrees and Associate Professor of Architecture
Design and Theory

Amy Kulper
Assistant Professor of Architecture
History and Theory

Malcolm McCullough
Associate Professor of Architecture
Digital form-giving, interaction design, pervasive computing

Wesley McGee
Lecturer in Architecture
Design, digital fabrication

Monica Ponce de Leon
Dean and Professor of Architecture
Design

Glenn Wilcox
Assistant Professor of Architecture
Design, digital fabrication, computation

To learn how to apply to this program, click here.