Material characteristic and fabrication methodologies informing design processes are a growing focus of research and pedagogy. Bio-mimetics, morphogenetics or material computation theories have mostly been used as integrative tools within their teaching methods. The authors of this paper have observed that these pedagogical models are most successful when they are coupled with a practical understanding of the tools and processes that are engaged in architectural production. Without this exchange, a growing disconnect emerges between the concept and the crafted artifact, leading to unfounded speculative projections rather than true applied understanding. As such, experimentation with tools and materials is essential for students to build knowledge on the constraints and possibilities that exist within a material or manufacturing technology. This learning process is not meant to be singular – applying to one material and one fabrication process – but rather a process that is learned and then can further be applied to other design problems. However, the research and development processes are usually too extensive for students to gain in-depth understanding of the methodology - a learning experience that is beyond the scope of a single architecture studio.
Through a set of intensive fabrication workshops, carried out by the authors, a targeted pedagogical model is aimed at knowledge creation within a compressed framework. Engaging participants to a particular point in the building process - that point at which a design is materialized through fabrication processes - provides a unique platform to shift from exploratory conceptualization to technically informed hands-on implementation.