Material Ecology

Ways of making things are inextricably linked to what and how they perform as artifacts. The profusion of digital fabrication tools and technologies make evident the association between design generation and design production . They carry significant potential for material and fabrication-informed processes, supporting novel approaches to design through making and building. Such strategic application and customization of digital-fabrication, inherent in and inclusive to the process of design generation require the knowledge and skill-set of production associating material to its fabrication and assembly methods. Material Ecology addresses the area of material and environmental guided fabrication. As an interdisciplinary research initiative it undertakes design research in the intersection between digital design fabrication, material engineering and ecology.

It is concerned with the way in which material organization may be informed by structural and environmental performance across all scales of design practice. Material Ecology seeks to establish an integrated approach to form-finding associating material properties and behavior with digital fabrication tools, techniques and technologies. Combined with the aspiration to efficiently and effectively relate material organization to environmental resources and conditions through technological novelty, this approach aims at promoting a new sensibility to ecological design production.

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Neri Oxman, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Architecture, Design and Computation, MIT