4.112 | Fall 2012 | Undergraduate

Architecture Design Fundamentals I: Nano-Machines


Project 1: “The Drawing Machine”

Description, Precedents List, and Schedule (PDF)

The first project investigates the premise of “drawing machines,” by looking at precedents of nano-scale technologies and self–assembly systems. These precedents will be broken down into a series of “logic diagrams” exploring the fundamental elements of the precedent and investigating questions as such: why it works, how it works, what is it used for and how it can be translated into an abstract series of rules. Next, students will develop a series of digital generative drawing “machines” in Processing that take on the underlying logics of their precedent.

Project 2: “The Making Machine”

Description, Fabrication Details, and Schedule (PDF)

The second project focuses on the theme of “making machines”—or a system/process/device/apparatus for physical products or the production of other “machines.” This exercise will translate the templates of the previous exercise into spatial constructs capable of producing physical objects/solids/voids. The students should consider the question: how their precedent and logic translate into a system for physically producing models? The students are required to cast plaster, within the delineated space such that a series of spatial requirements be met. The produced cast objects will then be carefully investigated by means of horizontal and vertical cuts. This project poses the question of translation from drawing to material objects, by having a specific theme and a series of spatial limitations as delineating elements that will allow the further development of their case studies from the first project.

Project 3: “The Architecture Machine”

Description and Schedule (PDF)

The final project investigates the process of creating space, that of “architecture machines,” utilizing the students’ precedent studies and the machines they have produced in the previous two projects as tools that will allow them to establish relationships between different elements and develop design strategies in an architectural context. The students will revisit their drawings from Project 1 (2D drawing) and their systems from Project 2 (3D drawings/physical models) in order to develop a spatial drawing (axonometric), which will then be modified to take into account spatial constraints. Students will build a series of abstract models realizing the spatial potential of their generations demonstrating material, solid, void, inside and outside. This project questions how architecture can be understood as a machine, and how the processes of working through drawing and making, along with the theme of Nano-Machines can become a generator for space, circulation and social/programmatic provocation. The axon, physical models, plans, sections and diagrams will be emphasized in this project in order to translate an idea into an architectural proposition and understand the intentions and consequences behind basic design decisions.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2012
Learning Resource Types
Demonstration Videos
Projects with Examples
Design Assignments with Examples
Media Assignments with Examples