Continuum is a LL Erasmus Multilateral Project that aims at putting together schools of architecture and small to medium sized enterprises to exchange research results, information, ideas, techniques, methods and expertise in the domain of design-to-manufacturing. A large number of contemporary buildings is generated through parametric design, that is the design of forms with the irreplaceable aid of computer softwares in a continuum to their manufacturing. At the same time technological advances in the genesis of new materials and methods for the fabrication of components creates a natural continuum from the design process of a building to its fabrication.
Despite this evident continuum, in real terms work that is produced as the result of continuous efforts of research at universities and the respective research produced in the building industry is hardly communicated and rarely becomes common knowledge. The two parties involved, universities and enterprises are not in the necessary close contact to promote creativity, innovation and competitiveness in the domain of the creation of contemporary architecture with the use of advanced technology at European level. However, these two parties are complementary in their strengths and weaknesses. Namely, universities possess dedicated researchers with profound academic interest to conduct research but lack the infrastructure to test their ideas, whilst enterprises have the aforementioned infrastructure but cannot exploit it as they lack profound academic research. Moreover, teachers of architectural design always aware of contemporary tendencies in architecture never convey these tendencies to the building industry that tries speculatively and tentatively to adjust and adapt to these needs. Continuum will develop a series of activities such as student workshops to visit small to medium sized enterprises that work with cutting edge CAM/CNC techniques to become familiar with their limitations and potentials.
Staff from the enterprises will deliver informative lectures at two levels: the basics to students of the possibilities of their forces, the advanced to researchers and teachers. From the latter further avenues for research and exchange will yield. Student workshops on innovative designs will aim at producing prototypes, the best of which will be ‘built’ by the enterprises involved. One conference, at the end of the first year of the Programme will sum up the results of the activities of the first year the Programme was ran and activities for the second contractual year will be scheduled. The second meeting will sum up the activities of the entire programme, will evaluate and assess its success, will discuss ways of further dissemination of results and will seek ways of continuing its activities beyond the given LLP framework. Last but not least, a Web Portal will be the platform for exchange of information, dissemination of results of the activities, promotion of components and presentation of techniques and equipment possessed by the enterprises involved, communication of all parties involved, virtual tutorials, videos etc.