FabPod

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The FabPod project took up the challenge of designing and prototyping a meeting room enclosure to sit within the DRI open work environment on level 9 in the new Design Hub at RMIT.

FabPod combines research into the sound diffusing properties of hyperbolic surfaces, with the problem of small semi enclosed meeting areas in open plan settings, utilising a combination of digital modelling and mass customised CNC prototyping and architectural traditions of craft production and material effects.

The first iteration of this research was developed in 2011 for the Responsive Acoustic Surfacing (RAS) Cluster at the Smartgeometry workshops at CITA, Copenhagen. It was initiated in response to anecdotal evidence from musicians that the newly completed interior of Gaudi’s Sagrada Família Church has a surprisingly diffuse acoustic.

The design and fabrication workshop for the full-scale prototype in July 2012 was led by an international team of experts and engaged Masters students at RMIT. The project brought together researchers across fields of architectural design, acoustic design, computer aided design and digital fabrication.

While techniques for evaluating reverberation and absorption of sound are well developed, the diffusion of sound is a more emergent area of research. During the workshop a digital workflow was developed to allow for the quick generation of form, geometric articulation and material distribution, the acoustic performance was then digitally simulated and fed back into further design iterations. This process was applied to the construction of the full-scale prototype to test the flexibility and sophistication of the digital systems as well as the fidelity of the fabrication techniques to the digital model.Importantly, this allows for further layers of feedback from the physical to the digital, demanding that the digital model best abstract the physical artifact and meaningfully enhance the design process.

DRI supported the visit of invited researcher: Brady Peters, CITA, Copenhagen

Project Researchers: Nick Williams, Brady Peters, John Cherrey, Jane Burry, Mark Burry, Alex Pena de Leon, Daniel Davis.
Research Partners: Memko Pty Ltd, Felicetti Pty Ltd, School of Electrical & Computer Science, RMIT University.
Project Support: SIAL, RMIT University; CITA, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; Design Research Institute, RMIT University; Property Services Group, RMIT University; The Independents’ Group, RMIT University; The Australian Research Council through funding for the Discover grant “Challenging the Inflexibility of the the Flexible Digital Model”.
Project Sponsors: Woven Image Echopanel, The Laminex Group, Sapphire Anodising.
Prototyping Research Assistants: Nathan Crowe, Dharman Gersch, Arif Mohktar, Costas Georges, Andim Taip, Marina Savochina.
Prototyping Support: Andrew Miller, Michael Wilson, Andrew Thompson, Brad Marmion, Kevin O’Connor

The project has been supported and sponsored by:

  • RMIT Building Services
  • RMIT Acoustic Research Group
  • The Design Research Institute – Urban Technologies Nexus Flagship Program
  • Future Fabric of Cities Flagship Program
  • Memko Pty. Ltd.
  • Woven Image EchoPanel
  • Laminex
  • Sapphire Anodising
  • Mitchell Plastics

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