HOUSE #05 Incremental Construction in Digital Practice

Paul Ling Leong Loh, David Leggett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

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House #05 explores the integration of custom moulds with a proprietary construction system for in-situ concrete casting (Fig. 2). The project foregrounds a design methodology that allows the fabrication procedure to drive the design process, primarily using tooling and construction procedures as agents to inform the architectural design.
The design methodology is made possible through the setup of LLDS’s practice, where the architectural studio also fabricates building components. The project devises a unique digital workflow that incorporates feedback and evaluation of as-built information into the live design data to incrementally modify the fabrication information for construction. The aim is to overcome the challenges of integrating highly precise digitally-fabricated components to suit the on-site condition, specifically the interfaces between different work packages (Denari, 2012). The project asks: Can this very pragmatic desire allow digital fabrication to challenge the design through making?
In studying the making of tools in archelogy, Lambros Malafouris (2016) proposed that the prehistoric man makes tools, such as an axe head, without picturing the shape of the tool in the flint stone. Instead, the design of the axe head emerges through a continuous process of shaping the material to eventually produce a useful form that is fit for purpose. Every strike on the flint by the maker informs the following strike until the stone is incrementally shaped. It implies that design is a process that develops through the act of making and requires a positive feedback loop (Johnson, 2001).
House#05 adopts Malafouris’s notion of material engagement into practice, whereby the making and digital fabrication techniques lead the design through
a continual process. That is to say that the tooling and making procedure are deliberately privileged above other criteria to inform the design. Here, the project demonstrates a methodology of designing in which digital fabrication is much more akin to a traditional sense of craftmanship (Pye, 1968) where construction constraints and opportunities are fed back into the making procedure. The research asks: If tooling can inform the design process, then how can the construction procedure produce feedback that can also shape the design?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFabricate 2020: Making Resilient Architecture
EditorsJane Burry, Jenny Sabin, Bob Sheil, Marilena Skavara
PublisherUCL Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78735-811-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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