My Personal Factory
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
Ken Olsen, Founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
When Ken Olsen made this famously mistaken judgement, large mainframe computers from IBM filled entire rooms and Olsen’s company Digital Equipment Corp. was famous for its ‘smaller’ computers that had the size of a wardrobe. Only three years later in 1980 the Apple II entered the market and gave people access to personal computing and we all know what followed.
Today we witness the ongoing development of personal digital fabrication. After ubiquitous computation the making of things becomes accessible through desktop 3d printers, small scale CNC milling machines and laser cutters. This novel culture of production is intrinsically tied to a digital global network of open-source knowledge exchange and a virtually endless universe of things waiting to be transformed from bits into atoms. The disruptive nature of personal digital fabrication will obviously change entire industries including architecture but what will it do to our cities?
Nobody wants to relocate huge, dirty and noisy industries back into the city center after the modernist city advocated for a separation of functions. But what about colonizing and upgrading abandoned or rarely used spaces in the urban fabric with new forms of manufacturing. After the personal computer, it is the factory that get personalized. The disruptive nature of personal digital fabrication will obviously change entire industries including architecture and it offers novel opportunities to make cities productive again. Decentralized urban production can lead to Micro Fabs, Rapid Prototyping workshops that allow for individualized products manufactured around the corner. The close vicinity to the living environment reduces communting times for employees and blurs the boundaries between working and living for good or bad. These new forms of production will definitely not replace existing large-scale industries. Cars will not be produced in the city center, but maybe the its spare parts can be 3D printed just around the corner. Such a combination of large-scale and small-scale/decentralized production might dramatically reduce the costs for those parts. Or imagine a printfarm where machines replicate themselves.
Participants of this studio were invited to design and build a modular construction that creates a temporary, interactive and versatile space for digital fabrication. The site is located below the ground of the Plaza de Pedro Zerolo in Madrid’s Chueca district. It is currently used as a parking garage. Participants developed and explored concept of personal fabrication within a space which has been designed and built to store cars.
All groups demonstraded the robotic assembly of their modular systems and augmented the modules with sensors and effectors controlled through physical computing.
by Ana Baraibar, Morgan Hamel, Luca Bertoni, Felix Dannecker, Tolga Ilhan
by Etienne Allgeyer, Frederik Dauphin, Lennart Petzoldt, Anastasia Oboturov
by Zhili Xia, Zhi Rui, Ru Qin, Wang Mengxue
Course dates: Summer Semester 2017
Course taught by:
Prof. Oliver Tessmann, Andrea Rossi, Alexander Stefas