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Experimental Architecture. Computational Design and Digital Fabrication

University of Southern Denmark

Summer School for PhD students within the fields of Architecture, Engineering and Design.

Registration and information: Registration no later than 1 June 2020 to Charlotte Bruun,, who can also inform you about the exact time and place. Offered in Odense, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M.

Maximum number of participants: 5 persons



PhD course for students with a master’s degree in the fields of Architecture, Engineering and Design. For PhD students in the fields of Architecture, Engineering and Design interested in or curious about digital design and innovative fabrication methods. 

Learning objectives - Knowledge

  • The emerging digital technologies of fabrication, such as Additive Manufacturing (AM), robotics and CNC Machinery, their characteristics, possibilities and limitations

  • The potential enabled using digital fabrication technologies in the context of design and construction

  • Computational tools for design, engineering and fabrication that allow the integration of material, manufacturing, and performance

Learning objectives - Skills

  • Design through visual programming and parametric modelling

  • Use digital tools for early-stage analysis and optimization of material, geometrical and mechanical performance within the design process

  • Manufacture construction systems through digital fabrication processes

  • Fabricate and build full scale prototypes

Learning objectives – Competences

  • Evaluate the uses of various digital fabrication techniques and the exploration of new design solutions for architectural systems and structures

  • Involve the use of computational workflows to manage the process from design to fabrication of custom construction systems


Digital Fabrication technologies have the disruptive potential to revolutionize the way we conceive and shape our environment. Using novel fabrication techniques designers and engineers are challenged to explore innovative structures that benefit from the capacity to produce performative and sustainable architecture with, up to now, unreached levels of complexity and strategic material organization.

The Summer School will focus on exploring ideas and producing design artifacts as answer to some fundamental driving questions: what kind of tectonic configurations can be enabled by means of digital fabrication such as additive and robotic manufacturing? How do we realize high-performance architecture with it? How can we build bespoke architecture in a sustainable way?

Adopting a design/make approach, catalyzed through tailored computational techniques, various structural configurations will be investigated. The school outcomes will be contributing to the creation of an atlas of digitally fabricated tectonic prototypes: experimental architectural configurations where material/form/structure are developed in a coherent design approach which takes full advantage of the potential of emergent fabrication techniques.

Teaching method

The course is conceived as a highly engaging design to fabrication activity, where students will develop experimental prototypes related to specific design/research topics.

Multiple forms of instruction will be involved:

  • Theoretical Lectures on the role of digital fabrication in experimental construction

  • Guided tutorials on parametric modelling notions related to a specific course project

  • Introduction and exercises for specific digital fabrication techniques

  • Supervision of group-based design activities

  • Collaborative fabrication of prototypes by students with tutors’ coordination

  • Final review on the project’s development and output with invited guests

Period of classes: Intensive course. 2 full-time weeks in August (week 32 + 33 in 2020 = 3.-14. August 2020).

Teaching language: English

Form of instruction: Lectures, Digital Exercises, Laboratory experiments

Lecturer: Roberto Naboni, Department of Technology and Innovation, Faculty of Engineering


Examination is held in the end of the course. Language: English. 

The workload of the course corresponds to 5 ECTS, the total workload includes reading material, contribution to the development of design proposals, participation to the digital fabrication and construction activities, documentation and presentation of the work in a final review.

The course requires the student's presence at 80 % of the lectures.

The course is evaluated with an internal oral examination, in the form of a final review where the work of a group will be discussed in a 30 minutes long presentation. A specific section of the group’s work will be prepared and presented by the PhD student individually. 10 minutes for critics/question will be following. Evaluated with Passed / Not passed.


Preparation for the class will require reading of 5 scientific papers.

The course is taught to a mixed audience, with international students at Bachelor and Master level, and SDU Bachelor students from Civil and Design Engineering, as well as with master students of Structural Engineering.


Course dates
03 August 2020 - 14 August 2020
Course organizer
Roberto Naboni, Department of Technology and Innovation, Faculty of Engineering
Campusvej 55
5230 Odense