AA SUMMER DLAB
23 July – 10 August 2018

PROGRAMME

Now in its 13th year, Summer DLAB is a three week programme taking place at the AA London HQ’s unique atmosphere.

AA Summer DLAB experiments with the integration of advanced computational design, analysis, and large scale prototyping techniques. The programme continues to build on its expertise on complex architectural design and fabrication processes, relying heavily on materiality and performance. AA Summer DLAB 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.

The programme is structured in two stages:

PART 1 – participants are introduced to core concepts of material processes, computational methods and 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’.

PART 2 – participants propose design interventions based on the skills and knowledge gained during phase 1 and supported by scaled study models and prototypes. The fabrication and assembly of a full-scale architectural intervention with the use of robotic fabrication techniques will then unify the design goals of the programme.

PROMINENT FEATURES

  1. Teaching team: Summer DLAB tutors are selected from recent graduates / current tutors at the AA and the small student ratio (5:1) allows for personalized tutorials and debates.

  2. Facilities: AA’s cutting-edge facilities used for the fabrication of physical outputs and prototypes on a 1:1 scale. Digital Prototyping Lab (DPL) offers laser cutting, CNC milling, and 3d printing facilities, and two 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: Dissemination of fundamental design techniques and relevant critical thinking methodologies through theoretical sessions and seminars.

  5. Professional awareness: Summer DLAB performs as a simulation of the professional environment due the priority given to team-based design approach. Participants range from 2nd year students to PhD candidates and full-time professionals.

  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 1:1 scale prototypes with the use of KUKA KR60 and KR30 robots.

  7. Lecture series: A serie of lectures conveying the diverse expertise of professionals from some of the world’s leading practices in the areas of digital design and fabrication techniques.