As an advanced digital fabrication seminar, Beyond Prototype focused on the virtual and physical development of geometrically complex, folded meshes composed of cellular units that can be fabricated from conventional acrylic or metal sheet stock. Students explored opportunities for designers to intervene within the fabrication process to assimilate both structure and building envelope into one hybridized system which attains a higher level of material efficiency. We began by studying the complexities of origami and then experiment with these folding techniques through the construction of physical and virtual models. Beyond Prototype encouraged and enabled student designers to use digital software as a generative, parametric design tool and the laser cutter, CNC Mill, plastic bender and welder as a means to bring virtual systems into the physical realm. We employed Grasshopper and Rhino to streamline the generation and parametric manipulation of complex cellular networks that devised a completely automated design and fabrication process. The research objectives encouraged students to devise functional design applications, establish contextual relevance for their component systems and proposed realistic fabrication scenarios based on quantifiable material and mechanical constraints. Components were extracted from the digital realm, built at full scale, tested and reevaluated, effectively taking us beyond prototype.
Amir Afifi, Sepideh Khazaei, Miguel Lantigua + Caroline Lebar A/B
Qi Chen , Xinran Ma, Fan Wu, Li Yang + Han Zhang C
Yue Du, Yang Xia, Ruomei Zhang + Shuang Zhang D