“The FABLab was one of the first in North America to invest in a broad range of CNC and robotic fabrication tools,” says lab director Wes McGee. A founding partner at Boston’s Matter Design, he was brought on board by the dean, Monica de Leon, the former director of Harvard’s digital lab. With her appointment in 2008 came major acquisitions, including FABLab’s first robotic system. Equipment has been added regularly since then, the latest purchase a CNC knitting machine, which enables students to explore how techniques from the fashion industry can be adapted into new architectural technologies.
The research projects that have come out of the lab, such as McGee’s Knitted Architectures, continually solidify the school’s reputation. This summer, the college hosted RobArch, an annual international conference for robotic experts working in architecture. “It was a great opportunity to connect leading members of the industrial robotic industry and cutting-edge research institutions,” says McGee. “We are highly committed to fabrication research of this kind.”
About the School
A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan / Ann Arbor, Michigan / undergraduate to doctoral programs / 420 students / 80 faculty / from $US13,200 per year