Institute for Digital Fabrication sponsored studio courses place a strong emphasis on forging partnerships with regional material manufacturers to promote and explore the potentials of designing and producing with advanced technologies. Many visits were made to different industries, including custom glass, brass casting, metal fabricators, Indiana limestone, and recycled rubber. Frequently, these visits lead to collaboration and offer students new knowledge of production methodologies, which are immediately fed into design and fabrication prototype strategies.

Partnering with the local parks commission, students identified an underutilized portion of a local park adjacent to the White River in Muncie, Indiana. The “reBarn” program evolved to enhance the site by connecting users more solidly to the landscape in a tactile and visual manner, and provide a new platform for activity (crawling, climbing, sliding) and reflection (sitting, chatting, viewing, and reclining). Two main materials were explored and deployed for the project: 1) recycled barn wood from a local “Pennsylvania” barn built 100 years prior. A taxonomy of the unique members was created and the catalogue was translated into vector information for CNC production of individual components. 2) Working with metal for joints and additional skin-form, students visited Zahner Metals in Kansas City, US, where they collaborated on engineering and fabrication information for custom textured aluminum panels—each panel unique. The industry collaboration informed the formal design intent through a series of conversations both direct and remote. This kind of innovation through information in partnership with industry drives the energy for the studio design through production methodology.

Team: Deepak Baniya, Elizabeth Boone, Eric Brockmeyer, Adam Buente, Dustin Headley, Kevin Klinger, Kyle Perry, Priyanshu Shrivastava, Joshua Vermillion

Partners: A. Zahner Metals, Muncie Parks Department