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Creative Architecture Machines
Reviewing one of the final studio projects from the “Creative Architecture Machines” course at CCA (I’m the judge wearing a sky blue pair of Google Glass)

Last month, I had the unique pleasure of serving as a guest judge at the final review for students in the “Creative Architecture Machines” studio course at the California College of the Arts (CCA). 6 groups each created a truly remarkable machine, and they’ve documented all the details you need to make your own (links below)! The studio architecture course was co-taught by Jason Kelly Johnson and Michael Shiloh. Jason is the Founding Design Principal at the Future Cities Lab, an Assistant Professor of Architecture at CCA, and the co-developer of the Firefly plugin for Grasshopper. Michael has more jobs than I can count, but he notably serves as the education liaison for Arduino, teaches at the Exploratorium, and is a guest lecturer at several academic institutions.

Judging the studio presentations along with me was Jon Proto & Brandon Kruysman (Bot & Dolly / Google), Brian Harms (Samsung R&D), Pablo Garcia (SAIC), Aaron Betsky (Director of the Cinncinati Art Museum), Bill Meyer (Director of New Media, Exploratorium), Mike Petrich and Karen Wilkenson (Founders of the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio), Gian Pablo Villamil and Karl Willis (Autodesk), Andrew Kudless (CCA & Matsys), Mark Cabrinha (Cal Poly), Josh Zabel (Kreysler & Assoc), Andrew Maxwell Parrish (CCA Hybrid Lab / Intel Technologist-in-Residence). Clearly, I was in good company!

Each of the student groups constructed a different machine capable of a novel means of construction. Notably, for many of these architecture students, this was their first time building electronics and programming. Despite this, I was extremely impressed by each of their final products. The projects included:

  1. Geoweaver: A Walking 3D Printer Hexapod
  2. Proto Taut: A Foam Stretching Machine
  3. Fluid In.Flux: 3D Wax Printing In Water
  4. Webster: A Geometric Pattern Weaving Machine
  5. S.A.M. Spring Aided Machining (CNC with adhesive remover)
  6. Stratum Networks Delta Robot

The Future Cities Lab Blog gives a good rundown of all the projects, as well as some photos. You can also find videos of all these projects in action on YouTube. I highly recommend that you check them out – they are very impressive. I also documented all the projects (both photos and videos) using Google Glass. You can find that collection on my G+ page.

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