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Contemporary architecture and automation: praxis and reflection


This research consists of a continuation of a project that the proponent started developing at FEC-Unicamp through a FAPESP-funded Young Researcher Project carried out from 2007 to 2011, and which resulted in the settlement of a research group called "Theories and technologies applied to the design process in architecture." In this new project we plan to deepen the knowledge about the applications of automation in the design process and in the production of building parts, through a reflexive practice that can result in, on one hand, methodologies applicable to the new situations that are faced by the construction industry, and on the other hand in a theory about the impacts of these new technologies in architecture, contributing to avoid the direct import of models without the necessary adaptation to the Brazilian social reality. Based on concrete cases the group will develop methods, will produce prototypes and will test the concepts of parametrization and automation of the design process, and file-to-factory and mass-customization in the production of buildings. We plan to visit local industries that can implement these concepts, in order to identify the availability of these technologies in the state of São Paulo. Aesthetical and theoretical implications of the use of automation in the process of design and construction will be studied. Possible economic and social impacts of the production of buildings with this post-industrial system will be discussed. New protocols for educating the architect, in accordance to the new praxis, will be proposed. This research will use action research and reflexive practice as its main methods, through design activities and seminars in which the team will gather with specialists from different fields to discuss the issues being studied. We hope that the project will contribute to the advance and consolidation of a new, contemporary architectural praxis in Brasil. (AU)

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