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    FIU News: "Innovation Lab exhibition showcases 3D printing"

    Oct 14, '15 6:47 PM EST

    On Sept. 24, a unique exhibition was on display at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design (MCAD) for visitors to touch rather than see.

    Guests wore blindfolds and slipped their hands into the sockets of a large box. The box contained a 3D-printed scale model of MCAD created by Master of Architecture students Patricia Elso and Matthew Wasala at the CARTA Innovation Lab.

    The event was part of the larger exhibition, “Listen to this Building,” which opened Sept. 3 at MCAD in time for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The goal of the exhibition was to bridge the understanding between Downtown Miami architecture, accessibility and independent publishing, specifically addressing visual impairments.

    The evening, which included music by the FIU Laptop & Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, was in many ways a study on how the visually impaired experience architecture. Through a combination of 3D printing and laser cutting, a scaled model of MCAD was constructed and then partially hidden by a 2D, boxed representation of the building. Hand holes were strategically placed to allow the user to experience the architectural details of the building through the sense of touch.

    “I think it’s amazing to be able to utilize a combination of technologies – 3D printing and laser cutting – to create something that has been engaged by so many people,” Wasala said. “I’m very proud that we were able to showcase the combined potential of having a small MakerBot army at our disposal for projects like this. It’s a testament to the growing reliability and innovative potential of 3D printing as an industry.”

    The project was made possible by the new CARTA Innovation Lab, which opened Sept. 29. The Innovation Lab, part of the College of Architecture + The Arts | Miami Beach Urban Studios (CARTA|MBUS), is the result of a partnership with Makerbot, a global leader in the desktop 3D printing industry. Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the CARTA Innovation Lab incorporates a MakerBot Innovation Center, a large-scale 3D printing installation designed to empower universities and organizations to innovate faster, collaborate better and compete more effectively.

    FIU is the first university in the United States to house a MakerBot Innovation Center in a college focused on design and the arts. Students, faculty and local entrepreneurs will work on creative projects and explore the intersection of art and technology.

    “This new creative space will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow by exploring the intersection of arts, design and technology,”said Brian Schriner, dean of CARTAat the opening of the CARTA Innovation Lab. “The lab is a major milestone that will help establish FIU as a national destination for innovative teaching, research, entrepreneurism and creativity.”

    Photograph provided courtesy of Irvans Augustine.

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The School of Architecture is composed of three closely aligned departments: Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Landscape Architecture. Jointly headed by the three department chairs, the School of Architecture provides a rich and diverse platform for interdisciplinary activities at the curricular and research levels.

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