//* {Mass-Reinterpretation} ::
*//{2009.12.17 ~ Thesis Design Project, University of California Berkeley}

New digital tools for design and fabrication have made possible the coordination and realization of buildings of unprecedented complexity, however simultaneously they solicit abstract geometric design practices that are inconsiderate to material behavior, fabrication limitations, and construction implications; often necessitating extensive reverse-engineering operations. A new praxis for digital tools and parametric design must be cultivated - one in which designers consider process, materials, and machines as the medium of architecture, understanding architecture as a material practice. Working within the parameters and implicit/explicit forces of manufacturing, fabrication, and construction from the outset of the design will make accessible unprecedented economies in production, new possibilities for the form of architecture, and further, it will give us the ability to evolve and improve these systems (parameters) over time.

Mass-Reinterpretation suggests rather than using digital technology to reverse-engineer the construction of complex form, that the digital tools become a mechanism to better understand material and fabrication potential. It is an argument for developing & refining precise parametric systems of material properties, tooling/fabrication behaviors, and construction contingencies, and using them to forward engineer use and architectural form. It is in essence an argument for architects to begin developing systems of constructional knowledge, by and through which we can design.

This investigation begins with a 51’ 1932 Camper-Nicholson wooden boat, representative of both an origin (albeit contemporary site) for solving the constructional problems of doubly curved geometry and the pinnacle of handcraft at an architectural scale. The project then reinterprets this craft into the digital era through the associative parametric design environment Digital Project V1,R4 {CATIA} and 3 axis CNC routing, through creating an inherently mass-customizable & constructionally-solvent system of knowledge governing its use. This thesis elucidates the various affordances and limitations of working within this media, and aspires to illuminate a praxis for architecture expressive of its material and fabrication incarnation. ~

The following images are some of the products of the design component of this thesis. The process was effectively training the computer in various aspects of the craft of wooden boat building to precise material and machine tolerances, to begin to identify new opportunities for finding value and form in the process of design in architecture.