The digital craftsperson : an investigation into digital tools/processes/craft

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Vermillion, Joshua D.
Klinger, Kevin R.
Issue Date
Thesis (M. Arch.)
Department of Architecture
Other Identifiers

One potential role for the architect of the future will be that of the digital craftsperson. Digital technology is allowing the designer to take control of and retool the entire design I fabrication I assembly process. With this new power, architects are crafting the digital tools and processes required to make architecture for the digital age.First, this thesis examines the notion of craft in the traditional way—how it has applied to architecture and building for most of history. This story recounts the architect's role in the designing and making of architecture, from the medieval master mason to the present-day architect. Craft, it is argued, is based on an understanding and skillful application of tools and processes as they relate to designing and making.The second part of this thesis applies this definition of craft to a new set of digital skills, tools, and processes. Digital craft is a combination of the skills of the architect, augmented by computers and computer-driven machines. Designing and making with digital tools is very dependent on a feedback loop driven process centered around a digital master model, into which, design information and data is input, and direct fabrication information and representation is output.The third part of this thesis describes the digital craftsperson through three case studies. The first case study recounts the process of digital tool-making. The second, describes the development of innovative fabrication and assembly techniques using digital tools and unconventional materials. The last case study recounts the design and fabrication process of a full-scale prototype by the author and a team of students.