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V. Hui

Ryerson University (CANADA)
Emerging advanced technologies in digital fabrication serve as critical tools in the evolving paradigm of the contemporary classroom. The ubiquity and rapid integration of computing in post-secondary curricula over the past three decades has dramatically altered the work flows, outcomes, and pedagogy within classrooms, most notably in the realm of design professions. Where drafting tables and technical pens once served as the communication tools of choice, both academia and professional practice have quickly adopted advanced computer modeling, rendering, and animation as a standard for design representation and delivery. Recently another pedagogical evolution has emerged. Current trends have begun to shift from digital representation to digital fabrication. This paper will elaborate upon the integration of emerging digital fabrication technologies, including the laser cutter and three-dimensional printer, in an architecture curriculum and discuss the increased design sensitivities that emerged in the classroom. Though often used as tools for representation of final design concepts, fabrication technologies have the power to revolutionize design processes, learning models, and modes of communication. Through a series of projects leveraging these technologies, this paper will outline dramatic improvements in students’ detail understanding, integration of iterative design process, stakeholder accessibility, mass production, and tangible design that rarely are significantly engaged in design curricula.