I'm at Fabricate 2001, a conference about fabrication, design, and architecture. It's been great to meet the architecture community and chat. I don't have any architecture background, so it's a cultural anthropology lesson for me as well. Here are my takeaway points. I may add more later.
- Architects are like philosophers and are capable of thinking about things from a very extrapolated and conceptual level.
- The two main buzzwords in the architectural fabrication community here are parametric and optimisation.
- There is a new generation of architects that are either in school or recently graduated that are obsessed with low cost or free tools and materials and automation. Arduinos got mentioned many times. Open source tools, software, and infrastructure is a small but growing voice in architecture. The internet/sharing culture is just beginning to really arrive to the field and is beginning to unlock the black boxes of old boy networks and proprietary software/hardware. It seems like there were lots of people who were experimenting with students to explore automated manufacturing techniques on a scale that could bring design and manufacturing to the masses.
- This crowd loves orange robotic arms. Seriously, 4 or 5 presentations had pictures of them in their talks. Also, there was an awesome robotic arm in the lobby. While this technology is 30 years old, they are being used in interesting ways to collaborate with human friends to make interesting things. Where can I get a big orange robotic arm? Am I going to have to make my own? (probably)
- 3D printing is gaining traction and there are a lot of people who want to get involved at the gcode level to explore the material at the molecule level. I gave out lots of MakerBotted presents!
I made a lot of new friends and enjoyed learning about the state of technology and fabrication in the architectural field, thanks to the organizers and presenters for a wonderful conference!