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U’s College of Architecture + Planning opens new laboratory that houses digitally driven tools to support student work.

By Ashley Babbitt, public relations specialist, College of Architecture + Planning

The University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning will celebrate the ribbon cutting of the newly opened Digital Fabrication Lab, named for and in celebration of Big-D Construction for their generous contribution to support the student design experience on Wednesday, March 28 at 4 p.m. in the ARCH Building, floor one.

The Digital Fabrication Lab houses digitally driven tools to support students in constructing mock-ups and prototypes that range from human scale to building scale. The lab is a creative space for students from architecture, design and city planning to work across disciplines and to explore the critical thinking that drives the design process.

“The manner in which we construct our designed world is rapidly evolving,” said Keith Diaz Moore, dean of the College of Architecture + Planning. “Whether it be in terms of reducing waste and pollution, enhancing ecological resilience or increasing craft and precision in health care products, advanced manufacturing techniques arising from digital technologies will prove essential to those advancements. This generous gift from Big-D Construction provides our students and faculty with a leading-edge laboratory to explore processes that can enable better stewardship of our environment and communities.”

The Digital Fabrication Lab supports studios and research by providing access to workspace, studio space and training on machines. The coursework, equipment and research that takes place in the lab mainly focuses on the transition between digital inputs and physical outputs using Computer Numerical Control, CNC, equipment. A CNC machine involves the use of computers to control machine tools. U students will be able to create a series of code that will drive the CNC machine to cut out small models of cities or life-size creations of buildings and products.

“As long-time supporters of the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning, we are delighted to support the new Digital Fabrication Lab,” said Jack Livingood, chairman of the board, Big-D Construction. “So much of our success as a construction company is tied directly to planning and design. We feel gratitude to the college and its students for their impactful work and we are proud to play a small part.”