Studio 29

Ceramic Automata

Sean Guy

This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90143 Studio D and ABPL90115 Studio E only.

Studio Description

Automated construction technologies are reshaping the way we build things and providing a new set of opportunities for architects, engineers, and designers. The implementation of these technologies however too often focuses on efficiency and cost savings, and seldom takes advantage of the design capacity of new tools. Ceramic Automata will investigate how automated additive 3D printing techniques might impact our use of clay in the construction industry, and how we might take full advantage of the capacity of these technologies as architects.

Students will be investigating new and old uses of clay in architecture to form a base of research around potential design applications for ceramic 3D printing. Knowledge from this research will then be applied to speculate on potential use cases that will have a high impact on the construction industry, as well as a highly speculative exploration into computational design techniques that will push our understanding of how we might use these machines as designers.

Studio Outcomes

The studio aims to examine how our role as architects might enable us to have greater impact on the introduction of automated technologies in the construction industry, with a focus on ceramic 3D printing.

The studio will run in 3 parts. This first will be an investigative research task into new and old uses of clay in architecture, as well as a highly speculative exploration into computational design techniques that will push our understanding of how we might use these machines as designers. The second part of the studio will see students split into small groups to investigate a specific application for clay 3D printing in the design & construction industry. The third portion of the studio will be a large class project implementing the collective outcomes of the studio into a prototype for an architectural chunk or element.

No experience with algorithmic design tools will be required, however an interest in the capacity of algorithms and a willingness to engage with these tools in a highly iterative processes is essential.

Studio Leaders

Sean Guy is an computational designer with a wealth of knowledge and experience stemming from architectural practice. Sean has previously led design studios at RMIT, Monash University and the University of Melbourne, with a focus on how experimental algorithmic design & fabrication techniques might impact the construction industry.

Sean has previously held leadership positions in highly experimental design practices, including Studio Roland Snooks & Fologram, and delivered highly complex and innovative projects using large scale 3D printing, robotics and augmented reality in industry. Sean is the founder of the online educational platform The Different Design (

Readings & References

  • Mario Carpo, The Second Digital Turn, MIT Press, 2017
  • Fraser Paxton & Tuan Ngo, The Art of Mass Customization, Built Offsite Magazine Issue 14, 2019
  • Fabio Gramazio & Matthias Kohler, Made By Robots: Challenging architecture at a larger scale, 2014

Schedule Mondays 09:00-12:00 and Thursdays 18:15-21:15

Contact Handbook

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