Digital tools and parmetric design 2017 Teaching and student projects

Text and photos by Emil Adiels

In the autumn of 2017 a new course in parametric design and digital fabrication was held for the first time for Architecture and Egnineering students at the Chalmers. The course was 3 ECTS and should teach the basic concepts of parametric design and digital fabrication, aswell as make the students to reflect upon how algorithmic design in combination with making physical models ehance their design process.

Teachers: Emil Adiels & Isak Näslund

The structure of the course consisting of three main parts: parametric design, digital fabrication and a workshop where the students got to build a bigger structure based on parametric model made by the teachers and the other workshop organizers from Buro Happold, Big Engineering and Thornton Tomasetti.


The students got to learn both parametric design principles as well as the basic understanding of different digital manufacturing methods. The teaching was mostly done through live tutorials in combination with smaller tasks and assignments.

The parametric teaching was based on live-tutorials combined with both small and large assignments.
The students got to learn the principles of additative and subtractive manufacturing methods and how to prepare their 3d-models for the different machines.

Projects and seminar

From the knowledge gained from parametric design and digital manufacturing the students got to design and make two smaller projects that was to be presented in a seminar and exhibition. The design should be reflected with respect to geometry, computational modelling and manufacturing.

To the left, the models before printing, to the right the clean up of models after 3d-printing.
Ending seminar and exhibition.


The ending workshop was based on a concept of geodesic gridshells, a gridshell that can be made by straight planar elements through careful geometrical modelling, and was a collaboration between Chalmers, BIG Engineering, Buro Happold and CORE studios at Thornton Tomasetti. The workshop was arranged in such away that the students got lectures on the theoretical background of the geometrical modelling and a summary of the process leading to the final design. During the next two days the students quickly took the lead of the production based on initial instructions and the production drawings provided by the organisers.

From the two day workshop, see the preperation done by me and Isak in www... and more about the production and erection at www...
The finished structure

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