Crafting the Digital – Mastering Digital Processes for Production

Fabian Scheurer

Computer controlled production puts a strong focus on the quality of digital models. In the end, the physical output can only be as a good as the digital information fed into the fabrication equipment at the start – and architecture provides some serious challenges here. The sheer scale of building projects can drive up the number of individual components to several thousand while at the same time the tolerances go down to fractions of a millimeter at the end of the production chain. And if this weren’t difficult enough, the fragmented nature of the building industry adds a multitude of interfaces and broken links to the process. By various examples of realized projects like the Centre Pompidou Metz and the Kilden Performing Arts Center, this talk will explore what it really means to program a million holes and why architecture needs more nerds.

Fabian Scheurer is founding partner of designtoproduction.

From 2002 until 2006 he studied the use of artificial-life methods in architectural construction as a member of Ludger Hovestadt’s CAAD group at the ETH Zurich and managed to transfer the results to a number of collaborative projects between architects, engineers, and fabrication experts. In 2005 he co-founded designtoproduction as a research group at ETH to explore the connections between digital design and fabrication.

At the end of 2006 designtoproduction teamed up with architect Arnold Walz and became a commercial consulting practice, since then having implemented digital planning and production chains for projects like the Hungerburg-Funicular in Innsbruck (Zaha Hadid), the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne (SANAA), or the Centre Pompidou in Metz (Shigeru Ban).