Prototype Laboratory

In architectural education increasing digitalization leads to de-materialization, to abstraction and to the ‘lawlessness’ of free form architecture. The lack of practice experience in the study time and the sudden surprises at the start of the practice time of young alumni makes it necessary to prepare architecture and engineering students in order to restore their balance between abstraction and materialization. The experienced generation has ample overview with materialization, be it that continuously new products and techniques are developed for buildings of which they should have knowledge. The coming generation has only its imagination and fast learning intellect, but large omissions in practical building experience. So the students are sometimes brilliant but usually lack practice and experience of professionally working with their hands. Buildings stay longer than the lifetime of the creators. Materials and material techniques are very important to chose the suitable materials and develop the correct details to connect the materials, elements and components together. And yet they lack the inspiration from that materialization. It also influences their faith in their own abilities. As all designers they try to see their dreams realized. In order to open the possibilities of making material prototypes and to get rid of cold feet for young designers a special prototype course and a laboratory / workplace for prototypes was developed and implemented by the Chair of Product Development. For these reasons the Prototype Laboratory at TU Delft was installed in 1995.