Form follows waste

Muslima Rafikova
Digital Fabrication
research paper

This work adresses the “form follows waste” paradigm by implementing dynamic design process design-by-fabrication. With the help of digital fabrication methods the following master thesis explores a design approach, where given input defines the structure’s layout and form.

The will of standardization in the construction sector lead to the introduction of “ready-to-use“ elements. Further due to rationalization of the economic model, a linear production chain was introduced which follows the “take-make-dispose” method. This process increases not ony the constant sourcing of new materials, but also amount of waste created. The circular economy can maximize the value of “waste” materials by bringing it back into production chain and so closing the cycle. In other words the principles of circular economy can encourage the designers to rethink how and what kind products are being made. The design process where form follows waste manifests the differentiated design approach. The stock constrainsts such as number of elements or element geometries will have a major influence on the final layout and form.
However such a design process has become little attention so far. The reason for that is lack of general design and fabrication guidelines which involve carefull processing of given elements. When desinging structures with stock availability, the differentiated fabrication techniques required that need to be integrated at early stages of planing. This work proposes a dynamic design approach “design by fabrication” that allows architectes to leave the design decisions to be resolved during the fabrication. With the help of computational tools and digital fabrication methods this work introduces a design tool for reuse of timber stock for timber-concrete composite slabs.

Search algorithm
Search algorithm integrated in the design tool gradually utilizes given stock of waste
Design by fabrication
Design decisions are made during fabrication process
Fabrication setup
Design-by-fabrication fabrication setup
Design tool
Illustration of design tool for reuse of timber stock in timber-concrete slabs
Interior view
Robotically fabricated timber-concrete composite slab