Course syllabus


ARK338 Material and detail 1 lp1 HT19 (22.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Contact details

  • examiner | Jonas Lundberg |
  • lecturer | Karin Hedlund |
  • lecturer | Kengo Skorick |
  • lecturer | Jonas Runberger |

Course purpose

The studio investigates the interaction between material and detail in a project that is conducted on a digital platform and constructed in full scale. It targets the implementation of a full project cycle, from concept, design and analysis to CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) manufacturing and assembly. The studio works with live projects - projects that are designed, constructed and presented to the public within the duration of the studio. Each years studio unfolds live in relation to specific material limitations, budget, time plan, industry and exhibition partners, media outlets, etc. Emphasis is on linking architecture with industry as well as with technical research excellence. The studio establishes a partnership with a specific provider of material and a manufacturer in order to realize one or several chosen design projects. Students learn about current research relevant to the material and manufacturing process through readings, precedent studies and guest lectures. Ultimately, the studio aims to foster innovation through direct collaborations between architects, researchers and manufacturing industry.

This year Material & Detail is working on additive manufacturing using cellulose based biopolymers using extruders mounted on robotic arms in collaboration with the Would Wood Innovation project. The design investigation fouces around the design of contextualized architectural elements forming parts or slices of a small scale building.


Key Dates:

23 Sept Intro

5 Nov Mid review

26 Nov Final review

13 Dec exhibition opening (the last day when we have scheduled teaching/event when attendance is compulsory)

17 Jan Final submission

For the full schedule use the following link: TimeEdit


Course literature

Please check out the ARK 338 Material & Detail Studio shelf in the library

Gail Peter Borden and Michael Meredith, eds., Matter: Material Processes in Architectural Production (Oxon: Routledge, 2011)

Greg Lynn, “Robots”, in Greg Lynn FORM (New York: Rizzoli, 2008)

Andrew Atwood, “Monolithic Representations,” in Matter: Material Processes in Architectural Production (Oxon: Routledge, 2012)

Gabriel Fries-Briggs et al “The Toolpath Problem: Compressing Representation and the Real,” in The Expanding Periphery and the Migrating Center, 103rd ACSA Annual Meeting Proceedings, eds. Lola Sheppard and David Ruy (Washington D.C.: ACSA Press, 2015)

Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, “Intensive and Extensive” and “Geometry and Matter”, in Atlas of Novel Tectonics (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006)

Peter Testa, “Autonomous Translations,” in Fabrication and Fabrication (Los Angeles: SCI-Arc Press, 2014)


Course design

The studio teaching is divided into three distinct phases:

  1. Technology, research and experiments

Technology demos, precedent studies and text seminars, design research that targets a particular material and manufacturing process.

  1. Design Competition

Design of a small-scale project, a contextualized architectural elemtn as part of a small building.

  1. Design development, production, manufacturing, assembly and presentation

Full-scale production in collaboration with industry partners. The studio culminates in a public exhibition of one or several full-scale projects.

Further content is adapted to each year's brief, material and manufacturing process.

The content of each phase is defined by assignments that are issued at the beginning of each phase


Phase 1 includes software and fabrication demos, material studies and precedent studies.

Phase 1 and 2 include weekly or bi-weekly pin-ups and tutorials as well as study visits and guest lectures from industry partners and researchers.

Work in phase 1 and 2 is mostly carried out in teams of 2-3 students, while work in phase 3 may require that all students in the studio work together as one, two or three large teams.

Description of the course's learning activities; how they are implemented and how they are connected. This is the student's guide to navigating the course. Do not forget to give the student advice on how to learn as much as possible based on the pedagogy you have chosen. Often, you may need to emphasize concrete things like how often they should enter the learning space on the learning platform, how different issues are shared between supervisors, etc.

Teaching is to a large extent focused around desk design tutorials where feedback is continously discussed with your team and hence attendance is critical to meet the learning obejctives of the course.

Outside of the course specific timetabled hours, we expect and will take attendance at the Chalmers Architectural Programs Public lecture series events that are scheduled on Wednesday afternoons between 16.00-17.00 for all students.

If you are not able to complete the course as anticipated but have reached the 80% compulsory attendance, there are two new opportunities from complete to pass i.e. you can revise your submissions for a new assessment opportunity.


Changes made since the last occasion

New subject matter and the examination form has been articulated further.


Learning objectives and syllabus

Knowledge and understanding
Demonstrate an understanding of how the work in the studio relates to contemporary discourse around the relationship between architectural design and digital manufacturing technology.
Better predict the modifications that a design undergoes as it is translated from concept to realization through CNC manufacturing.

Abilities and skills
Use the limitations and opportunities offered by a particular material and its associated digital manufacturing process as drivers of a design project.
Use digital design tools such as associative modeling to design, represent and produce a small-scale architectural project.
Use digital means of analysis and/or simulation such as ANSYS to inform aspects of structure, tectonics and detailing.-
Implement technical research excellence in a design project.

Ability of assessment and attitudes
Be able to make early assessments of design projects based on material specifics and manufacturing processes.

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan


Examination form

Student work in phase 1 and 2 is presented, evaluated and assessed according to requirements stipulated in each respective assignment in design reviews with invited guest critics. Work in phase 1 and 2 is graded, while work in phase 3 is graded pass / no pass only. At the end of the course an individual design portfolio containing work from phase 1, 2 and 3 is submitted and used for the final assessment. A minimum of 80% attendance or participation in lectures, pin-ups, demos and visits is required in order to pass the course.

The mandatory juried and assessed design reviews are on:

5 Nov Mid review and 26 Nov Final review

The final submission is on:

17 Jan Portfolio submission

Please ensure to contact your examiner if you are not able to attend the assessed events. If you were not able to pass the course you have the chance to complete work to pass and get a maximum of two new assessment opportunities.

Course summary:

Date Details Due