New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)

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New York Tech's School of Architecture and Design Launches Major Initiatives in Emerging Technologies and Digital Fabrication

Nov 17, '21 8:11 PM EST
A student in the Fab Lab holds a 3-D printed object. Image courtesy of NYIT School of Architecture and Design
A student in the Fab Lab holds a 3-D printed object. Image courtesy of NYIT School of Architecture and Design

New York Institute of Technology's School of Architecture and Design has launched major new initiatives in computational technologies and digital fabrication with a $2 million grant from the IDC Foundation. The initiatives comprise three major components: the opening of the IDC Foundation Digital Fabrication and Robotic Matter Design Labs, the recruitment of an acclaimed international expert as the IDC Foundation Endowed Chair of Digital Technologies, and the launch of two new related master's programs.

Joining students, faculty, and staff at the ribbon-cutting were New York Tech President Henry C. "Hank" Foley, Ph.D.; Maria Perbellini, M.Arch., dean of the School of Architecture and Design; Domenick Chieco (B.S.A.T. '89), chair of the FRIENDS of the School of Architecture and Design executive committee; Raymond R. Savino, president of the IDC Foundation; and Frank Fortino (B.S.A.T. '87), board member of the IDC Foundation.

"It is so important, when you have a dream and when you are creating transformative learning experiences, to have people with you who understand where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. We are so fortunate to have those people at New York Tech and the IDC Foundation," noted Perbellini.

The IDC Foundation Digital Fabrication and Robotic Matter Design Labs (Fab Lab) are equipped with vacuum forming tools, laser cutters, CNC (computer numerical control) machines, and 3-D printing equipment at multiple scales and with a variety of materials, as well as simulation programs, augmented and virtual reality, building information modeling, and robotic systems.

Students observe a 3-D printer in the new Fab Lab. Image courtesy of NYIT School of Architecture and Design

The state-of-the-art technology will promote interdisciplinary innovation and facilitate entrepreneurial initiatives for students and faculty on the university's Long Island and New York City campuses. Students at the New York City campus can digitally share their work for reproduction with the Fab Lab team in Long Island, who then produce final components of a physical model or an assembled piece that can then be delivered to them. Ancillary benefits of the Fab Lab include the ability to strengthen connections with the industry, practitioners, and artists by providing prototyping services while also being able to welcome new research and grant opportunities.

"The IDC Foundation is pleased to be able to play a key role in the evolution of computational technologies and digital fabrication at New York Tech," said Savino. "We are excited about New York Tech's growing leadership in this space and look forward to seeing what the students and faculty create with these new resources."

"We have developed strategies for the continuous integration of emerging technologies in curricula that impact the profession and that amplify the spatial experience for a stronger interaction with data and information for computational analysis and design," Perbellini said. "Our vision focuses on immersion in an agile learning environment with a variety of fluid degrees, cross-fertilization opportunities, and competency-based skills that will activate new, unforeseen, career paths and interests. Access to CNC, 3-D printing, and robotics is available from day one and is part of the education of each student. This access will also change how our faculty conduct research, opening up novel possibilities for new accomplishments."

The IDC Foundation awarded New York Tech a $2 million grant in 2018 and additional funds in the amount of $590,000 for scholarships, fellowships, and novel student activities to help further develop the school's "culture of making." These activities enable faculty and students to explore synergies at the boundaries of architecture, medicine, and healthcare, while also combining design thinking with advanced digital fabrication technologies and sophisticated equipment.

Students in the Fab Lab use a laser cutter. Image courtesy of NYIT School of Architecture and Design

The school recently welcomed the first cohort of two new 30-credit post-professional graduate degrees that were established through the support of the IDC Foundation grants. The Architecture, Computational Technologies, M.S. program integrates critical relationships between science and culture, activating new knowledge with a focus on the history and theory of representation, robotics, and cybernetics. The Architecture, Health and Design, M.S. program focuses on healthcare, interior, industrial, and product design, etc., utilizing design technologies like simulation, visualization, robotic interactions, and fabrication, as well as computational design and new materials.

"It is important to interconnect the two programs as they are conceived to infuse each other and create space for discussion on the role of technologies for a more accountable approach to sustainability, health, safety, wellness, and equitable spaces," Perbellini said.

"When we received the IDC Foundation grant, we realized that it was a real shot in the arm for us, being a school of doers, makers, and innovators," said Foley. "With the merger of the digital arts program with the School of Architecture and Design, we're really excited to see where that will go, especially with the opening of these new labs and the new robotic technology. Tying together the left and the right brain through the digital medium is just truly exciting."

In part, the grant also contributed to funding the IDC Foundation Endowed Chair of Digital Technologies in the School of Architecture and Design, the first endowed chair at New York Tech. "We welcome Alessandro Melis, Ph.D., a leader in scholarship, esteemed professional and exquisite educator, to chart an innovation-focused approach to research in the School of Architecture and Design programs," Perbellini said. Most recently, Melis curated the Italian National Pavilion at the 17th Architecture Venice Biennale and was director of the International Cluster for Sustainable Cities at the University of Portsmouth (U.K.). He is a renowned researcher, author, and sought-after presenter at international venues.

To learn more about NYIT's School of Architecture and Design click here.