Authors: Budgett, Jeanette
ABSTRACT: In the new ‘file to factory’ (Kolarevic 2003:31) digital environment, the aesthetic
possibilities of fabrication technologies in particular are still evolving. How do designers innovate
beyond the limits of what they know? Can the knowledge base of traditional building craft be
augmented by new understandings gained through engagement with materials and digital
manufacturing environments off the building site?
At Unitec School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ScALA) we attempt to introduce students
to technology directly as a means by which architecture might be explored and realised. An
investigation of the current CADCAM and CNC machine resources available locally in Auckland
provided us with the opportunity to offer an elective course in Digital Fabrication to a dozen students.
The course set out to explore formal processes that we might not have seen before and to develop new
understandings between designer and fabricator.
This paper outlines learning objectives, the course structure, and discusses the final outcomes. The
students engaged with fabricators to explore materials and processes that resulted in objects, not
models. They were asked to embark on a process with all the parameters of professional activity;
design agendas, deadlines, budgets, production and material constraints.