The thesis investigates encounters between the digital fabrication drawing and the digital explorative drawing.
The digital is deeply rooted in society, its technologies ubiquitously informing the architect’s process and exciting the establishment of new connections between drawing and fabrication.
If these technologies have challenged our understanding of the architectural drawing, a historical view of the ways in which technological developments have altered art practices may clarify the present situation within architectural design processes; to this end, catalysis of unexpected change within artistic practices is traced to watersheds of technological invention.
With the integration of digital fabrication, the specification of ‘digital drawing’ expanded from graphical representation to instructions for digitally-driven material processing.
Within the realm of the digital, practitioners and researchers are searching for new spatial and structural ideas, possibilities, and unexpected directions in the architectural design process – among these, conventionalising drawing standards for CAD; parametrics; and simulations as a creative obstruction or as a link to digital manufacture. Inevitably, the development of digital technologies recasts the architect’s work method, thereby potentially expanding the store of design options.
Roughly outlined, the core purposes of the architectural drawing in any media – bits or atoms – span the crisp initial marks of an idea, the legal document legitimising the built environment, and a record of occupation of the lived world.
As a broad inclusive definition, the architectural drawing is an inventive and communicative tool with manifold purposes and characteristics. The term ‘drawing’ as understood in the thesis is founded on two distinct concepts of drawing rooted, respectively, in the generation of ideas and the facilitation of production. Both concepts can contain elements that describe and process knowledge. Both can be digital.
The research mode of this PhD project is research by design within the field of architecture. Particular to research conducted by these means and in this field is that the primary access to new understanding and knowledge is attained through the core competence of the architect’s profession – design. It is through the production of, and reflection on, architectural projects, therefore, that the thesis investigates the encounters between the digital drawing and the processing of materials through digital fabrication. A central question informing the projects is that of the shift in the drawing’s role during these projects’ development: can a digital drawing that instructs tool operations for digital fabrication with mathematical precision, for instance, also embody ephemeral spatial characteristics?