2022 : AA DLAB

AA DLAB 2022

01 – 18 September 2022

London, UK

DLAB 2022 has explored the themes of generative design, material computation, and large-scale fabrication and assembly technologies. Our task was the design and production of a 1:1 scale structure in the outdoor area of AA London. This task has been investigated by focusing on a combination of structural, morphological, and contextual factors which our design intervention was expected to respond in order to differentiate its material and geometrical organization.

The design, development, and construction of a structure made of timber beams / plates has served as the design goal of the research agenda. The structure has been partially going to be robotically fabricated through developed construction and assembly techniques. We have employed various simulation methods, structural analysis, and optimisation techniques as design drivers.

One of the key objectives has been for the material system to clearly and elegantly express the material properties of timber. The structure developed from this material system must be constructable and demountable by hand within the footprint of the AA’s new courtyard terrace. It also must be easily transported from the workshops to the terrace.

We have been particularly interested in exploring active bending, which is characterized as a construction technique where timber elements / panels are elastically bent and / or twisted into a curved structure, and the geometry is derived from the assembly logic.

During DLAB 2022, we explored the means of how to integrate geometrical, structural and material properties within the agency of robotic active bending. The research agenda aims to link the notions of complexity and simplicity throughout the design and fabrication processes. While complexity is generated throughout computational form-finding and analysis techniques, simplicity lies in how architectural information relating to geometry, analysis, and fabrication can be seamlessly transferred between various digital and physical platforms.

Computational generative form-finding methods set the correlations between the digital process of design with the physical world of fabrication. Digital experiments are simultaneously coupled with small scale physical model making techniques to test the calibration between the digital and the physical realms. Initial experiments conducted by each design team conclude with a scaled model of their design proposal. Finally, the construction is scaled up to its real dimensions for the realization of a working prototype.

Robotic active bending of plywood beams are implemented for the design and fabrication of complex panels / components that are assembled to create a spatial enclosure with selected performative criteria. Our workflows explore the evaluation and interpretation of traditional fabrication processes towards their advancement within the domain of computational form-finding, analysis, and robotic tool path generation protocols. The AA facilities include a KUKA KR-60 and KUKA KR-30.


Programme Heads: Dr. Elif Erdine, Dr. Milad Showkatbakhsh
Visiting School Director: Dr. Christopher Pierce

Tutors: Elif Erdine, Giulio Gianni, Alexander Krolak, Angel Lara Moreira, Mattia Santi, Milad Showkatbakhsh

Students: Christos Baknis, Yuhan Du, Mario Gonsalves, Yeehui Khoo, Lingchen Kong, Athina Kotrozou, Elvira Lohri, Erica Miner, Leonidas Netskos, Ni Ni, Shrutika Nilakh, Tommaso Pannunzio, Raluca Scheusan,  Mariia Shapovalova, Konstantinos Smigadis, Haya Suri, Farah Swilam, Kamal Yusuf, Hanqi Zhang, Brian Zhao