Today, with digital production and continuous file-to-factory datasets comprising a practical approach rather than an idealized aim the production of geometrically complex buildings and building systems from differentiated components appears a tangible, as well as feasible proposition. Architecture as a material practice has regained the possibilty of creating a built environment that is becoming much more diverse than in the days of mass production and standardisation of building elements and systems. Key concepts that underlie these developments are for instance variation or differentiation leading to varied building elements and systems that are similar in degree together with an increasingly integral relation between building systems and elements that are different in kind.
The seminar includes a four day hands-on metal fabrication workshop at the facilities of Frener&Reifer in Brixen, one of Europe's leading fabricators of geometrically complex metal claddings and facades. This will enable the seminar participants to fabricate and construct full scale prototypical tests of their material systems using Frener&Reifer's expertise and wide range of computer-controlled manufacturing machines.
Thus the seminar investigates the relation between existing skills and tools and emerging techniques and technologies. This requires the transfer and integration of computer aided manufacturing and the development of new production approaches in parallel to an understanding of traditional means and skills. In this case CAD/CAM technology needs to be considered as a mechanism through which the potential of existing expertise and methods are fully realised. This moment of synthesis and synergy will be the vehicle for rethinking in the necessary and latent re-definition of the construction process itself.