JANUARY 24-25, 2020

A symposium on how architectural designers orient their work in digital fabrication.

In the last two decades, architectural designers have identified, problematized, hacked, and mastered the rules, constraints, and performances of digital fabrication technologies. This expansive experimentation has revealed a broad spectrum of conceptual approaches to digital fabrication, yet the field is still taxonomized according to its toolkit—by what tools we use instead of how we use them. Architectural design, on the other hand, is defined not by the tools at its disposal but the ways in which those tools are deployed in design processes. This friction has made it difficult to locate digital fabrication’s place within the architectural discipline: Is it merely another tool? Or is it a design technology? A way of thinking? A construction technique? A new form of craft? A discipline within the discipline? How do we—as architectural practitioners, researchers, thinkers, and educators, as well as active participants in this nascent discourse—approach digital fabrication? And, further, how do we envision our approaches will contribute to architectural design innovation?  

This symposium is an invitation to step back from the entanglement of architect-machine configurations; to survey our various trajectories thus far; to situate ourselves and our work in particular social, political, and environmental contexts and their limits; to specify our audiences; to reorient, and perhaps rephysicalize, the machine. Here, we will reflect on recent work in digital fabrication in order to orientate its discourse around the how and why—not the what. From this new starting point, we will aim to discern what guides and grounds our current and future positions in a field that is fixated on moving forward. Which themes, patterns, habits, or curiosities should we choose to advance? Which should we choose to revisit? What should be our evaluative criteria for making these choices? And to what extent should these criteria be informed by the discipline of architectural design?

Free and open to the public.


Galo Canizares, Christos Yessios Visiting Assistant Professor, Knowlton School

Zach Cohen, Christos Yessios Visiting Assistant Professor, Knowlton School

This project is made possible through support from the Christos Yessios Visiting Professorship and the Knowlton School of Architecture.


The Knowlton School at The Ohio State University
275 West Woodruff Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1138


Friday, January 24th
Location: Center Space


6:00 - 8:00pm
Panel 1: Digital Fabrication as New Frontier

Skylar Tibbits, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Marshall Prado, University of Tennessee
Maria Yablonina, University of Toronto

Respondent: Molly Wright Steenson, Carnegie Mellon University

Opening Party @ Seventh Son Brewing Co.

Saturday, January 25th
Location: Center Space

Coffee and Pastries in Center Space

10:00am - 12:00pm
Panel 2: Digital Fabrication as Material Culture

Tsz Yan Ng, University of Michigan
Joshua Stein, Woodbury University
Shelby Doyle, Iowa State University

Respondent: Justin Diles, The Ohio State University

12:00pm - 2:00pm
Lunch break

2:00pm - 4:00pm
Panel 3: Digital Fabrication as Construction Management

Michael Szivos, Yale University
James Coleman, Zahner
Sasa Zivkovic, Cornell University

Respondent: Mariana Ibanez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Coffee Break

5:00pm - 6:30pm
Keynote Lecture : David Benjamin, Columbia University
Location: Gui Auditorium (KN 250)

Lecture Reception