• YEAR
    Burnham, Richard
    Holmstrom, Kyle
    2014 Conference Papers
    Modes of Production & Mass Customization


The Learning-by-Making program at the University of Tasmania, School of Architecture & Design is based on principles of experiential learning, community engagement and the importance of ‘making’ in design education. The program has integrated a ‘home-grown’ digital fabrication tool into its design/build repertoire. Many opportunities for creative engagement with educational and training institutions have emerged. The projects illustrated in the paper – in-cluding an exhibition stand, an outdoor learning space, and several it-erations of a transportable micro-dwelling – have been fabricated us-ing a bespoke Sketchup plugin called ‘Superslob’. The plugin, designed with an emphasis on accessibility, transparency and reliabil-ity, ignores the lure of algorithmic gymnastics and instead focuses on the mass-customisation potential of five simple jointing patterns ap-plied to sheet materials. Case studies describe how, from this simple, open-ended premise, Superslob has provided a flexible and reliable tool to support vocational training and enable collaborative design with primary school students. The paper suggests how digital fabrica-tion can support ‘making’ as a collaborative, creative and socially productive act, and reinforces the value of long-term community en-gagement.


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