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Cut it Out: The Work of Lisa Iwamoto

It’s not hyperbole to say that Lisa Iwamoto has written the book on digital fabrication. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques (2009), an industry best seller, reveals that she is both an expert and a practitioner of the technique, along with her husband, Craig Scott. The two have been partners in the San Francisco architectural firm IwamotoScott for the past 12 years. Architects like Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn introduced the world to the dramatic forms made possible by digital fabrication—which involves the transfer of designs from a computer to machinery that creates building components—and Iwamoto and Scott were among its early pioneers. The process allows architects to break from the rigid geometry of traditional building materials by getting them to perform in ways they’ve never been able to do: to ripple like fabric or fold upon itself like an origami sculpture. “It’s another kind of tool, another way of making something,” says Iwamoto, who also teaches a class on digital fabrication at the University of California at Berkeley. “The innovative part is what you do with it.” Here are some innovative examples from the IwamotoScott portfolio.

Voussoir Cloud Los Angeles (2008) IwamotoScott was commissioned by the SCI-Arc Gallery of Southern California Institute of Architecture to do an installation for its prestigious architectural series that acts as an incubator for new ideas.

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