Lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Here’s the abstract and a slide show of the lecture I gave at the MIT architecture department’s Computation Lecture Series on December 9th 2011. This lecture had material from my SMArchS thesis and subsequent related work that I have been involved in at Kamath Design Studio in New Delhi. I know this is long overdue… Sorry!


Historically, craft and industrial production have been incompatible because craft produces variation while industry requires standardization. Contemporary digital design and fabrication opens up the possibility of dealing with variation in an industrial context, thus eliciting parallels with craft. In the context of the large-scale industrialization of Western economies the comparisons between craft and digital design and fabrication are largely rhetorical. In developing economies such as India, however, industrial and non-industrial modes of production occur side-by-side and are often competing for the same resources.

This talk will attempt to illustrate, through examples, different kinds of design and production systems that combine craft with digital design and fabrication, and their contextual implications for architectural design.

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2 thoughts on “Lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  1. I am lecturing on similar topics in Kosovo and Albania this week. I would like very much to get more information on your research as I am starting a comprehensive literature search of vernacular traditions using digital tools. Honestly, most architects are involved in generative form making; there are very few talking about this subject. It’s good to see I am not alone. Very nice work.

    1. Hi Jim. Nice to hear from you again. What exactly do you have in mind in terms of “vernacular traditions using digital tools”? While I am using traditional craft skills related to bamboo in some projects, I am not directly trying to “upgrade” or “develop” existing vernacular systems of construction. This is partly because, as a practising architect working with clients, contractors, engineers, and building codes, I have to deal with the contingencies that come with them and with limitations in budgets and time. Some issues that I am attempting to study through the nest roof project (https://postscriptdesign.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/ghosla-a-curvature-optimized-woven-bamboo-roof/) are –

      1. The communication of digital design data from CAD software to human builder (as an alternative to the norm of transferring design data from CAD software to CNC machine and attempting to bypass the human)
      2. The use of non-industrial materials to construct digitally designed forms and importance of craft skills in dealing with non-industrial materials.
      3. The role for generative design and fabrication in a hybrid manual-digital work-flow.

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