Asli Oney, Digital Fabrication Manager, and Darwin Diaz, Digital Fabrication Technologist, manage the Makerspace of global architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF). There, they oversee a production line of all types of architectural models – including site models, massing models, and schematic and conceptual in-depth design details.
“In our fabrication practice, we approach our making as digital craft. We are focused on artistically mimicking patterns in nature onto topological sites and/or applying material textures onto buildings,” Asli says. “This micron level of craft approach in KPF’s architectural models is only achievable through 3D printing, which allows us to make beautiful intricate details for any architectural scale."
"As architects, we are interested in the beautiful complexities of nature and material textures, and we seek to represent such informative detail in our models.” Darwin adds. “We are constantly experimenting with new ways to create these micro-level complexities through 3D printing. In the topological model strategy, our initiative responds to humans’ visual expectations. These models help the eye translate the topological surface motion and provide contextual hues and textures that mimic real conditions from a project site. The Makerspace shares new dexterity so that architects can implement a new and artistic standard when digitally fabricating architectural models."
Both Darwin and Asli see big potential with 3D printing for the future of the architecture industry. In five years, they believe, the industry will be using small desktop 3D printers to create 100% of the models managed by architects, while the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry will leverage larger-scale operations, such as 3D printing concrete and structural elements – as well as 3D printing multi-material structure systems.
For architects, the ability to create a physical version of a digital model is inspirational, forming a physical connection between the architect and the design vision. We are not just producing models, we are producing digitally crafted art.