Since Friday the 13th, an alien, metal-clad, object has appeared at the courtyard in front of the main reception entrance at the University of Nicosia. Faculty, students and passers-by are speculating about its purpose while examining the multifaceted complex structure. Let us share its background in an effort to shed some light on the mystery…
During FALL 2019 the Architecture Department ARC of the University of Nicosia has launched a New Distance Learning MSc Programme in Computational Design and Digital Fabrication (https://www.arc.unic.ac.cy/computationaldesign/) in collaboration with the University of Innsbruck, Institute for Experimental Architecture Hochbau (https://www.exparch.at/) in Austria.
The programme aims at exploring the relationship between computational tools and architectural design, in an effort to attain a new insight into the relationship between design intent and built form. Within this scope the participants have the opportunity to develop computational design skills and acquire hands-on cutting-edge fabrication experiences, while cultivating analytical and creative thinking on the applications of computation in design.
The curriculum is uniquely structured to combine distance learning education with face to face learning. Each Academic Semester concludes with a digital fabrication workshop were participants are invited to visit University of Nicosia F-Lab and University of Innsbruck, Robotic Lab (REXLAB) respectively to participate in an intensive two-week workshop with a thematic that changes every year depending on the overall programme brief, interests of faculty and visiting specialists. These intensive courses add flexibility to the curriculum, encourage the development of a hands-on collaborative culture and provide a productive close to the semester. With these workshops in place, the faculty are able to respond to newly developing research or design practices offering motivating and exciting opportunities to the students. A series of parallel events such as visits, discussions, lectures and presentations frame the workshops to enrich the energetic atmosphere and to maximize educational benefits.
The workshop, for the current semester, hosted under ARCH-570DL Digital Fabrication, was titled testSTEEL8 and run during Weeks 10 and 11. The focus was on 3D tessellations using sheet metal forming. High-end Industrial CNC Bending and LaserCutting equipment was employed towards digitally fabricating a large scale prototype structure utilizing the participant’s knowledge and skills acquired during the semester. Furthermore in an effort to promote sustainable design practices, scrap sheet metal was chosen as construction material. Computational tools and UAVs were implemented for scanning and registering leftover steel parts as to become usable for digital fabrication. Prototyping with both physical and virtual models have driven a process, of real‐time visualization of 3D tessellations, guided by a number of constraints, in order to shape design solutions and evaluate them against their performance.
According to a Department of Architecture tradition, a computationally designed and digitally fabricated X-mas Tree is proposed, fabricated and assembled just before the winter recess period every year to decorate the department. Departing from previous years and elevated by the current MSc CDDF Workshop the tradition has spread to the main campus of the University of Nicosia.
The outcome was dubbed by the students the X-MAX, and it is a UNIC X-Mas Tree. X-MAX will be with us until the end of the week and then relocated to Eleftherias Square, to become part of the X-mas Lighting Ceremony and the festive public decoration.
Merry X-mas and a Happy New Year 2020!!!
Project Name: X-maX
Type: Temporary Installation
Location: Currently on Public Display at Eleftherias Square, Nicosia, Cyprus (https://goo.gl/maps/73Qwkjik4uksJAbK6)
Date Finished: December 2019
Area/Footprint: 2.4 m²
Weight: 250 kg
Bounding Box Dimensions: 1725mm x 1725mm x 4000mm
Material/Fabrication Cost: 1000€
Programme Faculty: Michail Georgiou (Coordinator), Pavlos Fereos (Coordinator), Odysseas Georgiou, Eftihis Efthimiou, Doukas Dimitrios
Teaching/Fabrication Assistants: Christina Christoforou
Students: Abdulshafi Alsawadi, Spyros Anatolianos, Abed Badran, Anastasios Balampanidis, Sofia Kakouri, Helia Kasmaei, Kyriakos Kyriakides, Andrea Menardo, Michael Tuttle, Helia Zakeri
Lighting Designer: Kyriaki Paphitou
Photographer: Charis Solomou