Assignment 1

The Catholic University of America

School of Architecture and Planning


ARPL 653 Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication

Associate Professor Luis Boza & Visiting Critic Jonathan Grinham


Assignment #1:            Precedent Research

Assignment #1 has been designed to accomplish several tasks simultaneously. During Assignment #1, students will be asked to

1-     Research specific precedent projects

2-     Extract relevant information such as geometric properties, operational logics, and fabrication techniques

3-     Translate these ideas into our own as they relate to the given program and site

4-     Develop knowledge of available fabrication techniques and technologies

5-     Assemble contact list for fabricators and material suppliers

To accomplish these goals, each student will be responsible for one project from the list below. The nine precedent projects have been categorized based on their geometric properties.

Vector / Surface                                                     

Ycaza – IVY Wall by MOS (

Moore – by Softlab (

Wilmot – Prof. Achim Menges, Differentiated Wood Lattice Shell, Jian Huang, Minhwan Park



Sareen – Sloan Kettering Installation by LTL Architects  (

Haak – Frac Centre by Marc Fornes, The Very Many (

Styer – Lumenscape by Urbana (


Stacy – Erwin Hauer’s work (

Ticar – P-Wall Installations by Andrew Kudless of MATSYS (

Connor – Groto by Aranda / Lasch (

Blabolil – Studio Mode, Fabrication | Articulated Robot Arm Research  (

Step One:                  Research Project

–        For each project , research and present the following:

  • Physical Qualities / Visual Effects + Affects
    • Photographs, drawings, diagrams
  • Geometric Properties / Operational Logic / Rules (Recipe)
    • Relational diagrams
  • Fabrication Technologies utilized + Material Characteristics / Properties
    • Machinery required, steps in process, material composition

Step Two                  Program File

–        Each project has been specifically chosen because it has accomplished one (or several) of the above conditions well

–        In Step Two, students will develop a “filter” through which we can revise, reinterpret and translate one or several aspects of the precedent projects into our own.

  • I.e.  project x is great for several reasons but is made from an opaque material…. FILTER… What if we reconsider it through the filter of transparency? How may we reconsider its formal arrangement, geometry, logics, fabrication technique, and or material?

Step Three                  Translations

Given the Program filters developed in step two, each student should present the following:

  • Make a physical object representing your translated precedent project as related to your program filter
  • Given the initial research in your precedents Geometric Properties, Logic, Rules DEVELOP A GRASSHOPPER SCRIPT which translates your precedent project via your program filter.
  • Given your translated precedent project, research available technologies capable of making your translation. Find local fabricators with the technology. Research available materials capable of constructing your translation from. Find local suppliers. Provide contact information for fabricator and material supplier


All projects will be presented in Powerpoint format loosely following Pecha Kucha rules (lets say 30 second per slide or so)

All slides must be presented on 8 ½” x 11”, horizontally formatted for pin-up discussion.


Student presentations, pin-up and discussions will be held during class on Tuesday, January 17.