Aggregated Assemblies

Revival and improvisation of indigenous construction practices through technological interventions in the AEC

Master of Advanced Architectural Design

Advised by:
Jeremy Ficca
Joshua Bard

Studio Coordinated By Heather Bizon and Sarah Rafson

Themes: Culture | Identity


The architecture and construction industry has been growing exponentially, owing to digital technologies that are changing architectural practices in ways that were not anticipated just a decade ago. Execution of complex construction tasks while ensuring high precision, a faster design process with integrated performance evaluations and a better construction ecosystem are a few of the many benefits offered by this digital age of AEC. While this holds true for standard construction processes using standard building components, Indegenious Building styles, which are generally known for their sustainable and performance benefits they intrinsically come with, are often sidelined in this process of technological augmentation. Literature that looks at- computational approaches in the design and construction industry as well indegenous construction techniques- through the same lens, is lacking.

Now more than ever, the historic relationship between architecture and its means of production is increasingly being challenged by new digitally driven processes of design, fabrication and construction. Architectural design and construction was highly limited by the design and surveying tools originally available, which now holds untrue. This research looks at ancient, indegenious and obsolete architecture practices in their design and construction stages, with an aim to revive them with a greater potential by means of non-intrusive technological interventions. Through a study of such an ancient construction technique of Tubi-Fittili, this study examines whether synergies created using

  1. A design environment based on the principles of Computation and Generative Design and
  2. An Augmented-Manual process of construction using AR and human labour has a potential to offer more complex designs, better performing and aesthetic structures.

Geometrically complex masonry structures built with traditional techniques typically require either temporary scaffolding or skilled masons. This project presents a case where this ancient construction technique is reframed with a new potential by incorporating augmented reality on the construction site. This augmented-manual process which capitalizes on the craftworker’s ability of material and mortar handling by enabling them to construct complex structures without the need of construction drawings collapses the space between representation and reality. Additionally, this serves as a paradigm for reviving obsolete construction techniques by inducing a skill in unskilled craft workers.

The project introduces the design methodology, provides a design environment, and the framework of the augmented-manual construction for this construction system.