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The built environment is rich with opportunities for embedding and integrating digital technologies and sensors to create responsive and adaptable systems—to become smarter. This poster outlines selected moments from a thirteen-year body of work in research, design, and prototyping of responsive systems that act spatially with the environment at installation scale.

Robotics, sensing, physical computing, and digital fabrication are all topics that have been prioritized by U.S. funding programs such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education. This poster presents the start of a framework--based around the concept of tinkering--for introducing these systems into design education. Play, experimentation, iteration, and the rest of the qualities of tinkering are certainly not new to design education. Indeed, the larger value proposition is that designers are uniquely equipped to facilitate a tinkering framework to provide novel solutions to complex problems and can provide value to multi-disciplinary teams from engineering and science. As opposed to the STEM disciplines that rely on reductive, convergent research methods, designers are trained for divergent thinking to integrate ideas and solutions at various scales to large problems that can’t be well defined or easily measured.

Publication Date

Fall 10-26-2022




Architecture; Robotics; Physical computing; Cybernetics


Architectural Engineering | Architectural Technology | Construction Engineering | Environmental Design | Fine Arts | Other Architecture

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2778 KB

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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Robotics in Architecture <> Robotic Architecture: Why Can’t a Building be as Smart as a Car?