Subtractive Topographies

Design Research, 2013-2014
California College of the Arts
San Francisco, California


This research, conducted in an undergraduate introductory fabrication class taught by Adam Marcus at California College of the Arts, explores the production of new material qualities through the use of robotic techniques of subtractive fabrication. Rather than relying upon pre-established algorithms that are often the default means of fabricating three-dimensional surface geometry, each of these prototypes is a result of custom-designed toolpaths that demonstrate an ability to generate unique material effects. Each robotically-routed MDF module represents a negotiation of the designer's intent with the constraints of the tool at hand. The MDF modules were used to create thermoformed plastic molds, which were then used to cast concrete positives as a way to explore subtle geometric variation through material translation. The prototypes tile together into a single continuous topography that maintains the character of the individual surfaces within the larger collective whole.


Project Credits: 
Design Media 3: Prototyping Material Effects Class
California College of the Arts
Instructor: Adam Marcus
Fall 2013 Students: Gabriel Ascanio, Jessica Ayran, Evan Bowman, Kuan-Lun Chen, Lisette Devore, Joy Fu, Jack Gale, Weichung Joong, Maurean Lally, Lu Li, Susan Lopez, Mrnalini Mills-Raghavan, Ryan Montgomery, Marianna Munguia-Chang, Priscilla Ng, Troung Nguyen, Betty Nip, Min Joo Noh, Chien Lien Pan, Brett Petty, Ernesto Preciado-Canez, Azin Raessi, Eric Sandoval, Arash Sedaqhatkamal, Jin Shen, Tommy Sutanto, Kelvin Thengono, Jamie Ung, Joshua Van Heidrich, Melody Villavicencio, Ahn Vu, Kyle Yamada, Hao Yu, Jessica Zamora

Fall 2014 Students: Fahad Aldughaish, Reyna Anastasi, Fernanda Bernades, Kungchul Byak, Joseph Chang, Abrar Felemban, Jonathan Frederick, Joshua Garcia, Sean Gentry, Sarah Herlugson, Antuanette Holder, Wut Htwe, De Huynh, Denita Irsjad, Trenton Jewett, Gloria Asuba Kiiza, Eva Lai, Daheen Maeng, Brian McKinney, Mariana Mijangos, Joshua Olivas, Mitchell Price, Samuel Sellery, Anh Vo