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Speculative Artisanry: The Expanding Scale of Craft within Architecture

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In modern architectural history, architects have tended to think of craft as an act of execution—a finalizing of a given proposal. Architectural design and construction is typically understood as a chronological sequence with design as start and build as finale. Under this paradigm, design is the immaterial presaging and build is the material act of actualizing the design. Craft, however, could indicate a more open-ended negotiation with material and process. With this sensibility, material becomes a generator of form rather than a simple means to manifest or render predetermined ideas of form. Here craft becomes synonymous with discovery as much as mastery. Recently new technologies in fabrication have brought the process of making closer to that of designing, reconnecting the discipline with materiality and material process. Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/ CAM) techniques have empowered even the smallest office to reconcile the digital with the physical. These techniques have made craft issues relevant in the design process, moving the role of craft into the realm of the operation rather than only execution, and empowering the architect to “cut across” the multiple scales between matter and logistics.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/174967811X12949160068811

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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