The mission of the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping for Design research lab is to investigate and define innovative techniques and methods of construction applicable to the building sector through the use of contemporary tools of design, fabrication, and manufacturing. AMPD, a research-based organisation situated within VUW’s esteemed School of Architecture, is dedicated to fostering partnerships between academic researchers, students, and industry professionals in the advancement of existing practices relevant in the construction of the built environment.
These goals were taken from an article written by Randy Deutsch of Design Intelligence based on a talk he gave in 2018.
Construction incubator: New Zealand is a small, well-developed country that should be a global leader in the construction industry. AMPD’s primary goal is to be an incubator for research related to the construction industry by providing the space to learn by doing and failing fast. Coupled with partnerships with government institutions and other research bodies, AMPD is ideally situated as a leader in innovation.
Design buildings but also processes and algorithms: The primary goal of AMPD is to evolve the field of architecture and in the end, design buildings. Rather than rely on traditional methods of design and construction, the research focuses on designing systems and processes of construction using digital tools and algorithms. The algorithms can be used to enhance or support anything from design to manufacturing.
Redefine optimization: Optimization is a key factor for many algorithms or building processes. We use tools of optimization as guiding technologies for difficult solutions. Rather than trying to optimize something to an absolute minimum, we use concepts of optimization to help make smarter decisions. Computers and optimization will never outthink the human mind on complex problems.
Collaborate with technology: Technology is a tool and not a means to an end. AMPD collaborates with technology, allowing machines to do what they do best and the designer to guide the processes in order to achieve new levels of production for both the designer and the machine.
Identify opportunities for automation and not focus on what cannot be automated: AMPD has many years of experience with technology and automation and has a good understanding of when and where automation makes the most sense. The research and experience of the group have helped identify the potential of automation from the design to manufacture. Automation can be achieved through automating tasks like preliminary design, building code compliance, to on-site construction.
Help others transition to AI: Architects of the future will be utilising and working with AI to help them make decisions. AMPD will lead the way in moving beyond linear, sequential and repeatable processes toward working with real-time, data-driven AI-based systems and will help others make the transition.
Augment, not replace, architects: Technology is not intended to replace the architect - it is intended to augment the architect of the future in what has become an incredibly complex task. As the demands of building design and quality increase, the architect will require an understanding of the complex building systems in order to create an expected result. This will only be possible by working with machines in an augmented workflow.
Think like machines - and everyone else: Complex learning algorithms (machine learning) are teaching us more than we can imagine. It is our role to learn from these machines and those around us.