Digital fabrication techniques
The FabPod project addresses the challenge of designing and prototyping a meeting room enclosure to sit within open plan work environments. It brings together brings together researchers in acoustic design, architecture, digital fabrication and craft. A first prototype was fabricated by students and staff at RMIT and installed in the Design Hub in early 2013.
The FabPod prototype is an acoustically tuned meeting space for eight. It is an outcome of research into the relationship of architectural geometry and acoustics. Open knowledge work space like the new RMIT Design Hub pose an interesting challenge in the trade-off between fostering chance encounter and collaboration and providing acoustic privacy for meetings
and focused work. The FabPod project addresses this challenge. The project brings together brings together researchers in acoustic design, architecture, digital fabrication and craft.
The research started within a Smartgeometry research cluster run by the RMIT Spatial Information Architecture laboratory (SIAL) in Copenhagen in 2011 in response to anecdotal evidence that the newly completed interior of Gaudí’s Sagrada
Família Church has a surprisingly diffuse acoustic. Written evidence suggests that Antoni Gaudí was convinced that hyperbolic surfaces held special acoustic properties.
While techniques for evaluating reverberation and absorption of sound are well developed, acoustic diffusion or sound scattering is a more emergent area of research.
The FabPod also showcases a novel design system and digital workflow allowing for the rapid, semi-automated generation of form, geometric articulation and material distribution. Acoustic simulation as part of this workflow provides rapid feedback
in response to changing design parameters. In this way the acoustic performance could drive key design decisions and designers developed a sophisticated understanding of how their decisions influenced the performance. Through an intensive
workshop, an exemplar design was selected and fabricated as a full-scale prototype. This is now in use as an open meeting space within the larger office environment in the RMIT Design Hub.
Project Researchers: Nick Williams, Brady Peters, John Cherrey, Mark Burry, Alex Pena de Leon, Daniel Davis, Jane Burry.
Research Partners: Memko Pty Ltd, Felicetti Pty Ltd, School of Electrical & Computer Science, RMIT University.
Project Support: SIAL, RMIT University; CITA, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; Design Research Institute, RMIT University; Property Services Group, RMIT University; The Independents’ Group, RMIT University; The Australian Research Council through funding for the Discover grant “Challenging the Inflexibility of the the Flexible Digital Model”.
Project Sponsors: Woven Image Echopanel, The Laminex Group, Sapphire Anodising.
Prototyping Research Assistants: Nathan Crowe, Dharman Gersch, Arif Mohktar, Costas Georges, Andim Taip, Marina Savochina.
Prototyping Support: Andrew Miller, Michael Wilson, Andrew Thompson, Brad Marmion, Kevin O’Connor