FABRICATE 2011 was the inaugural event of the series. It was organised and hosted by the Bartlett School of Architecture, in London. Despite being the first event it sold out attracting 375 attendees from around the world. The Call for Work gathered 220 high-quality submissions from 37 countries, coming from both practice and industry, successfully framing the discussion around the presentation of built or partially built works by individuals/collaborators in research.
The submitted projects were peer-reviewed by a panel of leading industry experts through a double-blind review process. 31 projects were selected for the publication from which 17 were presented at the conference. The list of peer-reviewers who made this possible includes Phil Ayres, Philip Beesley, Mark Burry, Nick Callicott, Nat Chard, Evan Douglis, Nick Dunn, Stephen Gage, Sean Hanna, Hanif Kara, Matthias Kohler, Branko Kolarevic, Michael Stacey, Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Mark West and Michael Weinstock.
During Fabricate 2011 the Professorship Gramazio & Kohler Architecture and Digital Fabrication investigated the integration of architectural design and feedback processes in robotic fabrication. The exhibition project was robotically manufactured from a large number of geometrically differentiated elements where the visitors could perceive and experience an unsteady yet precise assembly in real scale, layer by layer. Using novel peripheral equipment for this, the project reached a highly integrated digital design and fabrication method that would not have been possible by a manual assembly technique. Therefore, the exhibition project fostered on many levels a radically new approach towards the future of robotic manufacture in architecture. A 6-axis robot placed on a caterpillar base coupled the possibility of mobile production and a high level of accuracy while integrating different material tolerances by using an innovative laser-scanning and assembly technique. This approach was tested for the first time at Fabricate 2011.
At the same time, ScanLAB — which started as a research group inside the Bartlett School of Architecture run by Matthew Shaw and William Trossell — exhibited a set of drawings produced by their unique 3D scanning technique. These captured The Bartlett Summer Show through 48 hours of scanning producing 64 scans of the entire exhibition space. The Summer Show is a collection of over a thousand models, installations, prototypes, drawings, photographs, films, sketches and designs presented across four large exhibition spaces in the Slade School of Art each summer. It lasts for just seven days but represents the annual output of over 450 Bartlett students, thousands of hours of labour and thousands of pounds in materials. The drawings were compiled to form a complete 3D replica of the temporary show which had been distilled into a navigable animation and a series of ‘standard’ architectural drawings.
KEYNOTES & CHAIRS
Mette Ramsgard Thomsen
Albert Williamson Taylor
‘FABRICATE: Making Digital Architecture‘ was published by Riverside Architectural Press and launched at FABRICATE 2011. At the time, the term Digital Fabrication had been in broad circulation for over a decade and the argument that it would be a revolutionary force for design and production was already understood by the world’s leading practices and schools of architecture. To date, no single publication captures and analyses the defining built works and prototypes of this emerging age.
‘FABRICATE: Making Digital Architecture‘, rather than showcasing hypothetical works, it addresses innovative ideas that have been applied, built and tested. It comprises of 31 densely illustrated articles on built projects received through our Call for Work. Punctuating these articles, a series of conversations between world leading experts from design to engineering, incl. Mark Burry, Philip Beesley, Gramazio & Kohler and Hanif Kara, discussing themes on drawing to production, behavioural composites, robotic assembly, and digital craft. The book was sold out, as was the second soft-cover edition. It was subsequently translated in Chinese which was sold out too. It has now been republished by UCL Press in electronic format.