Research at CAST is focused on architectural invention. Here, students and faculty of architecture and engineering join the construction industry in finding new ways to build and design.
Work at CAST generally begins with small physical models made with “analog” materials (plaster to model concrete, paper or plastic sheets to model sheet metal, etc,). These models allow us to play with combinations of materials, tools, and processes, and to think about how the forms and ideas found might be extended to full-scale design and construction. This method relies on the “intelligence” of the materials themselves for clues to the architectural potential they may hold. This is a fertile and practical method of invention and discovery, particularly well suited to architectural research aimed at real constructions.
New forms generated exclusively through computer modeling programs will tend to arrive without any hint of how they might actually be constructed. The problem of how to construct these virtual forms becomes a difficult puzzle that must be solved separately by engineers or builders. The sense of freedom and power offered by computer-generated form is often only a beautiful illusion that, in reality, merely serves to alienate the designer from the world of construction. By generating new forms directly through play with physical matter, the solutions to full-scale construction are contained in the forms and methods themselves. In this way the designer is placed in the very centre of construction knowledge. This method of empowers a designer to bring new architectural ideas into constructed reality.