Digital Desires, Material Realities Perceiving the technological gap

José Pedro Sousa, José Pinto Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Digital design and manufacturing technologies are progressively employed in building construction and architects interest in this field has grown widely, as many recent works, publications and scientific meetings demonstrate. By identifying some of the main reasons and expectations that were at the basis of the integration of CAD/CAM processes in the discipline, this paper examines the real success of these technological developments in contemporary architecture. By analyzing current work and literature the authors argue that there is often a discrepancy between the discourse on emerging new conditions for the practice, and the practical reality itself. To investigate this technological gap, the paper discusses in depth one of the most advocated promises of these new technologies: the feasible mass production of differentiation. Considering design intent, available CNC fabrication processes and material properties, it describes and critically analyses different strategies for building architectural surfaces, presenting specific examples from contemporary architecture. Realizing that there are technological limitations in the fulfillment of conceptual aspirations, this paper identifi es possible innovative directions in building construction, based on the idea of structural performative surfaces. Finally, the authors reflect on the specific nature of architecture, distinguishing it from other areas that also employ digital technologies, to frame, from within the discipline, the technological expectations and its potential further developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe
StatePublished - 2005
Event23rd Conference on Education in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe, eCAADe 2005 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: Sep 21 2005Sep 24 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Education
  • Architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital Desires, Material Realities Perceiving the technological gap'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this