Project
Design and Fabrication through Real-time Human-Computer Interaction

SMArchS Thesis, Computation, Spring 2015

The use of technology in architectural design, by being focused mainly on both the digital and physical representation of a pre-determined idea, has neglected many of the implications of using digital tools in a more explorative way by integrating body and senses in the design processes.

Design is “something that we do”; it is related to our unique human condition as creative individuals as “making” is related to how we manifest and impress that uniqueness into our surrounding environment. In this thesis, I propose a model of interaction that seeks to transcend the hylomorphic model imperative in today’s architectural design practice to a more reciprocal form of computational making. To do so, I reconcile design and making by exploring real-time interaction between mind, body, and digital tools using body gestures and imbuing fabrication machines with behavior. The reconciliation establishes a dialog that embraces ambiguity and the unexpected; it engages the designer in more improvisational and insightful design processes.

My hypothesis in this thesis is that real-time interaction between designers and fabrication machines can augment our creativity and cognition by engaging exploration, speculation, improvisation, and knowledge production about design processes through the use of gestures and interactive computation.

‘Making Gestures’ is proposed as an implementation of a new paradigm for the use of digital tools in design that integrates ‘designer gestures’ and the concept of ‘tool embodiment’ into the digital design process. Specifically, it was developed as a five-axis gesture-based CNC machine that takes real time input from hand gestures through motion tracking sensors to learn and produce architectural designs and prototypes.