On November 2nd a group of architects, builders, students, makers, educators, inventors and designers packed in for the Creative Architecture Machines Colloquium at California College of the Arts. The talk was organized by Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab and brought together five practices working at the intersection of fabrication, computation, and making. Johnson led off the evening with an introduction to the practices and ideas behind maker culture; waxing philosophical on digital fabrication, the ubiquity of 3D printers and the future vision of what cutting edge Architecture offices will look like, complete with their own robot arms, of course.
Joshua Zabel of Kreysler & Associates followed with some striking imagery and thoughts on new and old projects. Kreysler is fabricating the rippled composite rain screen for the new SFMOMA addition by Snøhetta and has been working at the forefront of composite technology for the past three decades. Andrew Atwood of Atwood-A and First Office traced the development of what we now know as the ubiquitous rendered image and brought with him a series of exploratory and experimental drawings and images that questioned and poked fun at current forms of representation.
Returning to the realm of fabrication and material science Ron Rael of Rael-SanFratello and Emerging Objects spoke on the necessity to explore the materials (from pulverized recycled tire rubber to salt) that comprise the radical forms that architects and designers are pushing today. Fedor Novikov of Labori Construction Robotics spoke to the projects that he and his brother Petr are involved with at the IAAC, involving robots and 3D printed substances. Their dynamic Mataerial project which they have dubbed “anti-gravity object modeling,” allows freeform plastic extruded from a robot arm to attach to virtually any surface as it cures on contact through a chemical process (through the use of thermosetting polymers) within the material instead of less death-defying substances commonly found in 3D printers.
Ending the evening were Brandon Kruysman and Jonathan Proto of Bot & Dolly (recently acquired by Google), best known for their role in the Oscar-winning film Gravity. They shared work from their short film Box, which explores the intersection of projection mapping, robotics, and film making and its origins in their experiments at the Robot House at Sci-Arc. The evening concluded with a panel discussion that touched on intellectual property, open source platforms, behavioral studies, sustainability, and the ethos of technology. The atmosphere remained electric as the speakers and audience compared their notes and predictions for the foreseeable robotic futures that we are surrounded with.