Radical cross-disciplinarity: laying the foundations for new material practices

  • Mette Ramsgaard ThomsenEmail author
Original Paper


Robotic steering of fabrication allows us to work with a new level of material address that challenges principles of standardisation and presents a rethinking of material systems. Over the last 15 years, the field of digital architectural design has developed increasingly sophisticated means of interfacing complex robotic fabrication systems with a wide array of material systems. This has led to the optimisation and individualisation of existing industrial practice, the automation and reinterpretation of manual crafts techniques and the constitution of new material techniques. However, while this inquisitive ingenuity has focussed on the rethinking of the material practices of architecture, with it lies a fundamental reconceptualisation of its practices of representation. This paper discusses the increasingly complex conceptual and practical methods that we are evolving to able to work intelligently with designed materials, their specification, prediction of behaviour and ability to steer fabrication processes at multiple scales. With examples from CITA’s practice, the paper asks what the foundational changes that are occurring as part of this paradigmatic change to our material practice are.


Computational design Robotic fabrication Machine learning Sensing 



Complex Modelling is a Sapere Aude Advanced Grant research project supported by The Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF) (Grant No. 0602-02582B). Research is undertaken in CITA with Prof. Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Prof. Martin Tamke, Prof Phil Ayres and Prof. Paul Nicholas. Photography by Anders Ingvartsen. Flora Robotica is a 4 year project funded under the EU-Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies Proactive Action.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CITA Centre for IT and Architecture, KADKCopenhagenDenmark

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