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ARCH 409 – Digital Fabrication (UG)


Computer-aided manufacturing technologies are revolutionizing the way that designers imagine and create. Digital tools have moved beyond the factory floor and now engage the imaginations of architects and designers. Digital fabrication tools are playing an increasingly important role toward the conceptualization, manipulation, and assembly of the built environment.

This course exists as a practical, hands-on introduction to fabrication and construction through the use of digitally driven tools. More specifically, the course serves as a platform to familiarize students with existing techniques of digital fabrication while fostering an environment dedicated to research and experimentation. Fine attention to craft and an appreciation for a hands-on approach are strongly encouraged.

The digital tools are collaborators in the design process but are not necessarily the focus of the class. The course stresses the use of computer-driven tools as a means of geometric, tectonic and material research / exploration. Proficiency with digital tools (and associated software) must ultimately be demonstrated through finely crafted projects. The iterative nature of the tools will be exploited to quickly produce and evaluate experiments and prototypes. Students will spend the first part of the semester working individually on a specifically guided projects to gain familiarity with the tools with an emphasis placed upon tectonics and craftsmanship. Students will then form groups to fabricate the final project. The fabrication of the projects requires students to master the software and hardware of the lab's CNC (computer numerically controlled) machinery: the laser cutters, 3D printers, 3-axis router, and knife cutter.

Students should be proficient with 3D modeling software, specifically Rhinoceros. The course will be working extensively with 3D modeling software, but only limited class time will not be dedicated to teaching Rhino.

The class will meet twice a week and include lectures, demonstrations in the lab, research presentations, critiques and work sessions. It will also require significant time outside class for research, design, machine usage, assembly and documentation of projects.


Tue, Thu 1:00-2:30pm 2222 A&AB


Mark Meier


Course Brief

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning