24 July – 11 August 2017


AA Summer DLAB experiments with the integration of advanced computational design, analysis, and large scale prototyping techniques. In its 12th year, Summer DLAB continues to build on its expertise on complex architectural design and fabrication processes, relying heavily on materiality and performance. The programme brings together a range of experts – tutors and lecturers – from internationally acclaimed academic institutions and practices, Architectural Association, Zaha Hadid Architects, among others. The research generated at Summer DLAB has been published in international media – ArchDaily, Archinect, Bustler – and peer-reviewed conference papers, including SimAUD (Simulation in Architecture and Urban Design), eCAADe (Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe).

AA Summer DLAB investigates on the correlations between form, material, and structure through the rigorous implementation of computational methods for design, analysis, and fabrication, coupled with analog modes of physical experimentation and prototype making. Each cycle of the programme devises custom-made architectural processes through the creation of novel associations between conventional and contemporary design and fabrication techniques. The research culminates in the design and fabrication of a one-to-one scale prototype realized by the use of robotic fabrication techniques, with the aim of integrating of form-finding, material computation, and structural performance.

Taking place at the unique atmosphere of AA’s London home, the three-week long programme is formulated as a two-stage process. During the initial stage, participants are introduced to core concepts related to material processes, computational methods, and various digital fabrication techniques. Basic and advanced tutorials on computational design and analysis tools are provided. The programme performs as a team-based workshop promoting collaboration, research, and ‘learning-by-experimentation’. During the second stage, participants will propose design interventions based on the skills and knowledge gained during the previous phase, supported by scaled study models and prototypes. Finally, the fabrication and assembly of a full-scale architectural intervention with the use of robotic fabrication techniques will unify the design goals of the programme.


  1. Teaching team: Summer DLAB tutors are selected from recent graduates / current tutors at the AA. Participants engage in an active learning environment where the large tutor to student ratio (5:1) allows for personalized tutorials and debates.
  2. Facilities: AA London houses cutting-edge facilities for the fabrication of physical outputs and prototypes on a one-to-one scale through digital fabrication techniques or other forms including the use of plastics, wood, and metal. Digital Prototyping Lab (DPL) offers laser cutting, CNC milling, and 3d printing facilities, and 2 KUKA robotic arms.
  3. Computational skills: The toolset of Summer DLAB includes but is not limited to Rhinoceros, Processing, Grasshopper, and various analysis tools.
  4. Theoretical understanding: The dissemination of fundamental design techniques and relevant critical thinking methodologies to the participants through theoretical sessions and seminars forms one of the major goals of Summer DLAB.
  5. Professional awareness: Summer DLAB performs as a simulation of the professional environment due the priority given to team-based design approach. Participants ranging from 2nd year students to PhD candidates and full-time professionals experience a highly-focused collaborative educational model which promotes research-based design and making.
  6. Robotic Fabrication: According to the specific agenda of each year, scaled working models are produced via advanced digital machining tools, followed by the fabrication of one-to-one scale prototypes with the use of KUKA KR60 and KR30 robots.
  7. Lecture series: Taking advantage of its unique location, London, Summer DLAB creates a vibrant atmosphere with its intense lecture programme conveying the diverse expertise of professionals from some of the world’s leading practices in the areas of digital design and fabrication techniques.