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 626 – Biased by Design

Instructor: Mark Shepard | Type: Seminar
This seminar surveys forms of algorithmic governance and the various kinds of bias embedded within so-called smart urban systems and infrastructure.

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ARC 606 – Remote Cultural Technologies

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia | Type: Studio
Situated (remotely) within the historical and cultural context of Hida, Japan, the studio is a mixed-reality based collaboration with local partners aimed at developing AR-guided carpentry utilizing 3D scanned forest data.

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