ARC 619: Conditional Form – Functional Gradients

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia
ARC 619 
Spring 2019


Functionally Graded Materials (FGM) are composites with gradually varying material content. They consist of a gradual change of material characteristics (physical properties and/or chemical composition) from one area to another. Although the term has only existed since the mid-1980’s, the concept has been utilized in engineering for much longer. For example, the process of surface hardening of steel by carburization has been used for many hundreds of years. Presently, the concept of graded materiality represents a design/engineering approach to specifying new materials for specific structural, environmental, and aesthetic applications.

Naturally occurring FGMs, ranging from bones and teeth in our bodies to seashells and plants such as bamboo, show how biological cells have adapted to external stimuli; their self-adaptation may have produced a naturally gradient structure during the evolutionary process for enhancing the stiffness-to-weight ratio. As with prior iterations of this course, students will take inspiration from various natural precedents to study the relationship between materiality, form, and the environment. To follow, students will creatively represent these relationships via physics-based simulation and voxel modeling. These tools will be used to build experimental prototypes with calibrated material ratios that respond to a range of environmental conditions. Material characteristics may be blended based on a variety of architectural criteria such as; strength:weight, dark:light, gather:flow, solid:porous, reflection:diffusion, textured:smooth, stiff:soft, among others.

ARC 605 – Fidelity and Tolerance

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia | Type: Studio
This studio will research the potential advantages and pitfalls of integrating mixed reality (MR) into well-established methods of handwork in a variety of contexts (local craft, manufacturing workflow, material production, etc).

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ARC 625 – Fabricating the Real

Instructor: Mark Shepard | Type: Seminar
This course surveys the cultural history of VR, AR and MR, focusing on their ontological and epistemological implications regarding conceptions of “the real.”

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ARC 617 – Fusing Dimensions

Instructors: Randy Fernando and Shawn Chiki
Type: Seminar
This course utilizes experiential learning methods to address how designers can interface the
nuances of real and virtual environments during the creative process.

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