Architect Manufacturer Collaboration through the Design of a Ruled Surface Cutter for Extruded Terracotta
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Parametric Collaboration: Developing CNC Manufacturing of Ruled Surface Terracotta investigates the evolving relationship between architects and manufacturers in the light of digitization. More specifically, it hypothesizes the role that digital fabrication technologies can play to bridge the gap between designers and fabricators, through the promise for mass customization. The manufacturing of architectural terracotta serves as the subject to explore new relationships between architectural notation, fabrication machines and the design of architectural cladding. Architectural terracotta has a storied history of collaboration between designers and manufacturers dating back to Louis Sullivan and modern high rise construction. Parametric Collaboration: Developing CNC Manufacturing of Ruled Surface Terracotta proposes the design and construction of a four-axis wirecutter for extruded terracotta. It provides new platforms for collaboration between an architect and manufacturer, to take advantage of the possibilities offered by CAD/CAM technology, in a craft oriented manufacturing process. A new notation system was developed that plays across this digitally mediated collaboration. It includes a graphic user interface to expose designers to manufacturing constraints as well as provides a new set of new digital tools for skilled industrial craftsmen. The result is a new digital workflow that provides an alternative to the current catalog specifying relationship between architects and manufacturers.