Our studio, left to right: Sander, John, Aaryn, Grant, Tony, Rebecca, Ben, Jack, Rob, Maggie, Jonathan, Olivia, Jeff, Eliza, Vinh, and Sarah


Introduction:

This studio will be a mash-up of inclusive design and research into new potentials for digital fabrication.  Working with community members and representatives of the Twisp PDA, we will jointly develop, design and prototype a test structure aimed at contributing to a more sustainable community through aspects of: education, outreach, material and systems research, design and fabrication.

Unlike many existing approaches to design/build or digital fabrication, this studio will seek to actively intertwine advanced digital design research with a host of social and environmental parameters often overlooked or minimized. For example, the use of scrap or recycled materials has rarely been pursued in digital fabrication experiments. This will be a major focus of our work.

Activities:

The studio will start with a hands-on fabrication experiment using digitally optimized formwork to assemble unique thin-shell structures out of scrap 2X wood pieces. This project will build on existing faculty research and will result in a small structure that we will take with us to be displayed on the Twisp PDA’s property. Besides creating a useful object using unique methods, this quick project will also be a test of methods and approaches for iintegrating digital, social and environmental factors in our later work.

An early trip to Twisp will introduce students to the site and community collaborators, while also providing a unique opportunity to participate in the first physical transformations of the PDA’s existing site and buildings. Located on a former Forest Service Center in the heart of Twisp, the PDA has a host of existing buildings and sheds to be transformed into a new Arts and Cultural center. A first act of transformation will be to selectively subtract useful materials form some of the buildings, thus radically altering their physical appearance, while also collecting raw materials for a new structure.

The exact program for the first prototype structure remains to be determined in consultation with our community partners. A group of team members representing Methow Valley building trades, arts and cultural groups, and high school students will periodically come to the UW to work with us in our home facilities. These working charrettes will underpin a back and forth process of design, development, testing and prototyping. One possible building type that has been discussed is a “Greener House” -a novel kind of Green House that would strive to do more than simply shelter plants in the cooler months.

Studio activities will include the exploration of: digital design, modeling, testing and fabrication; community collaborative design approaches, including the use of new digital tools for collaboration; physical prototyping using digital and hand methods, and design research. Students will work mainly in teams and will take on unique roles depending on their individual skill sets and interests. Teamwork, communication skills, organization and professionalism are a must for this studio.

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