Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, College of Architecture and Planning

March 31, 2008

A group of Ball State University students has created a digital fabrication exhibit for the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) that will be on display from March 28 through June 8.

The exhibit is based on Ball State's 2007 "Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture" symposium and celebrates the regional industry partnerships the university's Institute for Digital Fabrication (IDF) has established, said Kevin Klinger, IDF director.

"Architecture is entering a new era, where architects are increasingly involved in direct fabrication of materials through digital means in order to achieve innovative, customized and aesthetically unique solutions," he said. "Digital technology has enabled architects to more actively collaborate with those involved in the construction realities of a project at earlier phases in the design process, resulting in new and exciting work, previously unattainable. At the same, these innovative practices are closing the gap between design and fabrication."

The students who attended the symposium also constructed the exhibit. They worked with industry specialists to create an innovative, backlit display armature.

"Through immersive learning, which is the hallmark of a Ball State education, students were transformed by this real-world opportunity to develop this exhibit," Klinger said. "Working in the confines of a traditional classroom would, no doubt, have limited this active, student learning experience."

The exhibit is sponsored by IDF, Ball State's Center for Media Design, the College of Architecture and Planning and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Many Indiana-based industry partners also contributed to the event, including Arrowhead Plastics, Indiana Limestone Fabricators, Indiana Hardwood and Lumberman's Association, and Midwest Metals.

IDF is one of four immersive learning institutes created at Ball State through a $20 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund the Digital Exchange, an initiative expanding opportunities for students to participate in innovative, immersive educational experiences. The other institutes, administered by the Center for Media Design, are the Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education, the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts and Animation, and the News Research Institute.