INTRODUCTION

The Open Thesis Fabrication programme is a 6-month long intensive applied research in the field of additive manufacturing of sustainable architecture. Between the use of advanced technology for construction and the desire to develop a holistic design approach to architecture, we engage with different areas of research that include robotic manufacturing, material research and performance-based design. The programme seeks to develop technological and architectural solutions in collaboration with Industry partners to answer the current needs and challenges of our habitat. 

The OTF is a programme of applied research. Rather than imagining an architecture for a long-term future, our aim is to apply state of the art technology to today’s construction paradigm. It is axed around the continuity of the development of a body of research long explored in the Institute together with our industry partners.

The programme runs as a partially collective program with a mixed group of researchers of IAAC’s Master second years and other specialised students with interest in 3d printing, in eco-friendly material research or in the field of housing.  The course is structured in 3 phases: explorations, a series of exercises to gain knowledge into the topic followed by a design charrette and the construction of a 1:1 prototype that ambitions to be as close a possible to a real building fragment.

OTF IN BRIEF
Degree Postgraduate Diploma in Open Thesis Fabrication by School of Professional and Executive Development at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
Edition 9th edition
Credits 45 ECTS*
Duration 6 months – September 2019 to February 2020 – Full Time
Language English
Tuition Fee Non-EU: 9.500€
EU: 7.600€
Discount for PhD in related research fields
Admissions Engineering, Design or Architecture degree, Bachelor or higher degree from other related professions, PhD candidates in applied research fields.
Other *Pending of accreditation
RESEARCH LINES

The content of the course is structured into 3 areas of research:

STUDIO – Design and Architecture

3d printing, a digital technology,  challenges a conventional design approach and requires the elaboration of new strategies partially based on the use of computation.

We develop a performance-based approach to design for 3d printed architectural solutions. Within the realms of a design project for a complex humanitarian situation, the design of buildings is the result of a complex negotiation between fulfilling climatic, structural, manufacturing and habitation purposes.

TECHNE – Robotic and Computational Technology

An experimental and hands-on approach to Additive Manufacturing with robots. Eco-friendly material printing resides in the control of robotic technology and the mastering of its complex materiality. The program rests on a series of intensive Tecne workshops during which specific questions related to structure or climatic performance are addressed by a quick back and forth between 3d modelling, printing and analysis of the solutions.

MATTER – Matter and Craft

An intuitive and scientific approach to material research: this is the occasion to develop knowledge in the field of eco-friendly materials such as clay, a material that has been used in construction for millennials and of which a lot of knowledge has been lost since the over-dominance of concrete in the construction industry.

Driven by a material expert, this phase of the work starts by a tactile and intuitive to material mixing, and concludes by the elaboration calibrated and customised material mix for 3d printing

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Each participant will get intensive experience in large-scale 3d printing and gain the necessary knowledge that accompanies it:

  • Digital Fabrication: Robotic Fabrication, 3D printers, Extrusion technologies, Sensors
  • Digital tools: 3D modelling, parametric modelling, digital simulation, production of g-code.
  • Material research: empirical and scientific methodology in development and testing of new materials.
  • Design methodology to provide architectural and constructive solutions for additive manufacturing.by relating design to performance.
  • Holistic strategy to provide architectural solutions that consider all aspects of construction: material, energy, economy, manufacturing, policies, users, design, climate, structure.
PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS

In past editions, the OTF programme has been the ground for collaborations with industrial partners such as the Basque research centre Tecnalia, ceramist expert Ceràmica Cumella, structural engineers Windmill. We have also been working with UN Habitat program on the development of architectural solutions for humanitarian situations.  

ACADEMIC STRUCTURE

The programme is divided into three phases:

Phase 1 – Exploration

This 3 months long phase emphasises on the development of knowledge in the 3 above-mentioned research areas: material, 3d printing and design methodology. This phase sees the students work in small groups in short intense exercises and experiments.

 

Phase 2 – Prototype Design Charrette

The second phase is a collective design charette in which the group capitalises on all the learning of phase 1 in order to develop a design proposal for a 1:1 prototype as a building fragment.

 

Phase 3 – Prototype Construction

The third phase sees the group engage with the construction of a large prototype at 1:1 Scale. In parallel, the group will document and compile the research into a collective thesis printed document.

STUDENT PROFILE

The Open Thesis Fabrication is aimed at architects, engineers, designers, material engineers, mechanical engineers. The course aims to specialise these people to address a new reality in construction, architecture, and the fields that relate to it, in which new technologies will largely affect the way we think and build.

After completing the OTF programme, the students will be apt to work within the fields of architecture and engineering providing expertise and knowledge in topics such as robotic construction, additive manufacturing, parametric design. They are also encouraged and apt to further their career within the realm of non-governmental organisations that develop housing projects in problematic humanitarian situations.

Once successfully finished, IAAC students will then join the IAAC Alumni Community, an active and dynamic network of visionary professionals spread around the world, promoting principles and applications of Advanced Architecture and exploring new academic and research initiatives, leading to award-winning practices or working for internationally acclaimed firms and institutions.

PAST PROJECTS

FACULTY

Alexandre Dubor

MRAC Director / OTF Co-director / MAA, MAI, OTF Senior Faculty / Robotic Expert

Edouard Cabay

OTF Co-director / MAA Senior Faculty

Academic Coordinator / MAA, MaCT Faculty / OTF and MAA02 Coordinator

Kunaljit Chadha

MAI & MRAC Faculty Assistant / MAA Fabrication expert / OTF Fabrication expert

Eugenio Bettucchi

MRAC Faculty Assistant / Computational Design Expert / OTF Computation Expert

OTF Senior Faculty

COLLABORATIVE COMPANIES

windmill_280

 

Windmill Structural Consultants is a consultancy whose activity is rooted in the study of the science of structures with the aim to be able to provide a true and personalised answer to every problem. In this sense, the work of Windmill is also based on the development of structural analysis software, which its founders have been working on for 15 years, and which allows, through appropriate and constant adjustments, the analysis of specific or atypical problems, either by geometry, by construction process or the materials used. Furthermore, we understand and wish to influence the understanding of, structural problems in an open and debatable manner, and as being, sometimes, a fundamental part of the architectural proposal.

 

ceramica-cumella1

 

The family workshop CERÀMICA CUMELLA, founded in 1880 in Granollers (Barcelona), originally devoted to the manufacturing of traditional ceramics and pottery for daily use, has finally become the central core of an intense public and professional activity. Ceràmica Cumella has lately experienced a notorious increase in the industrial production of serial pieces -floorings, socles, lattices, coatings, steps, modular elements undoubtedly specific in many cases since they are ordered pieces. Cumella with the conviction of a necessary integration of technical tradition and innovative process, encouraging with a steady hand and continued research, for example, on the definition of colours and the manufacturing of the corresponding glazes, both for mechanical or manual applications; or on finding solutions on how to keep up with present technological requirement. Toni Cumella spontaneously associates craftsmanship with serial production, personalisation, adaptability, history and culture, not necessarily by this order. He sees it all as a use of concepts, techniques and processes so as to achieve a specific form of life.

 

Santa&Cole

 

For 28 years now, Santa & Cole has lived for industrial design, an art consisting of focusing on everyday objects in order to seek a better use experience, thereby leading us to reflect upon material culture. Santa& Cole generates elements of domestic and urban furniture and lighting, plant elements (living matter) and books (likewise alive). A range that is only apparently dispersed, converging upon a single concern: not to accumulate, but rather to select; not to enjoy quantity, but rather quality. Santa & Cole is organised around four core themes: 1. Strategy, Structure and Knowledge, 2. Editing Policy, 3. The Importance of Design for Santa & Cole and 4. Policy Knowledge Management.

 

cricursa

CRICURSA was founded in 1928 with the intention of bringing form, material and processing into high technology glass bending, in order to explore the possibilities of bent glass as a decorative element. After more than 8o years of experience, it now offers architectural glass, curved and flat interior and exterior glass, and is present in many of the most famous architectural works around the world. Passionate about architecture, creativity and innovation, their aim is to continue inspiring the best engineers and architects in the world, in close collaboration with Facades and installers and all professionals, partnering CRICURSA to the efficiency and capacity to deliver ideas and concepts of the designers.

 

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Tecnalia is a private, independent, non-profit applied research centre of international excellence. The whole team at Tecnalia has one goal: to transform knowledge into GDP, meaning wealth to improve people’s quality of life by generating business opportunities for industry. Tecnalia is committed to generating major impacts in economic terms, by means of innovation and technological development, addressed by 6 business divisions, covering economic sectors of Energy, Industry, Transportation, Construction, Health and ICT. Tecnalia has been granted over 250 patents and promoted more than 30 spin-off companies.