Urban prototypes: plywood architecture

  • YEAR
    Patel, Yusef
    McMeel, John James
    Chapman, John
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Modes of Product and Mass Customisation


The widespread availability of automated fabrication tools is rising dramatically. The pairing of CAD/CAM software and automated tools presents a shift in how the designer can take part in the manufacture process. This paper investigates how computing technologies can be effectively utilized to democratise the production of building components through simple design to build workflow, standardised building materials and CNC fabrication. Two dimensional sheet products such as plywood can easily be manipulated to create a large number of three-dimensional forms. By examining and adopting existing novel plywood construction techniques similar to an ‘Ikea’ like kit-set building systems effective construction methods were developed and produced. Basic CNC technology enabled the researchers to design and fabricate conventionally complex structures and artefacts without too much formal fabrication training. The projects however required large amount of preparation, prototyping and innovative thinking to overcome budget and material challenges. The success of the projects heavily relied on digitally produced components and a digital workflow specifically tailored to produce components for unskilled assembly build process.


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