Conservation of Digitally Fabricated Architecture

Conservation of Digitally Fabricated Architecture (CDFA)
Long-term challenges concerning ageing, reparability and reproducibility

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Silke Langenberg

Digital design has changed architecture. Its physical realisation by the aid of digital fabrication processes has been developed for several decades. Pioneering companies and research institutions have already successfully integrated CNC-machines and robots in prefabrication or directly on the building site to perform specialised or even varying tasks. With regard to latest research projects and funds, it is just a question of time that the new technologies establish in architecture at a larger scale.

At long sight, themes like ageing, service life and reparability will get important for the digitally fabricated constructions. Unfortunately, the digital processes are still quite complex, they are difficult or impossible to repair and the underlying knowledge is far from common. The problem of long-term data protection is in fact identified but not yet solved. So it is to be expected, that the conservation of digitally fabricated architecture will become a challenge. The institutions of monument protection do not seem to be prepared, even rudimentarily. Comparable to the problems that already exist in conserving early prototypes of industrial building production from the 1930s as well as of the serially mass fabricated buildings of the 1960s and 1970s, questions of how to preserve originality will have to be dealt with, as well as how to value buildings and constructions which are, theoretically, reproducible at will and above all, how to conserve these highly technical and specialised constructed objects.

The aim of the international research project is to identify the expectable long-term problems and challenges and to develop solutions in close collaboration with the leading research institutions and companies in the field of digital fabrication as well as the international associations for monument protection, conservation and building research.

Foto: © Gramazio & Kohler, ETH Zürich


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