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New Centre to Drive Next-gen Architecture

Leading researchers from Swinburne University and UNSW will work with colleagues around the world, including COX, to help transform the architectural professional and deliver architectural manufacturing that addresses Australia’s increasingly ambitious climate targets, through the new Australian Research Centre (ARC) Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing.

The centre has received over $9 million in funding through the ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre scheme. It will fund 21 PhD scholarships over 5-6 years and three postdoctoral fellowships. It will triangulate world-leading researchers, visionary partners, and talented graduates, allowing them to integrate research into practice through digital business strategies, augmented intelligence, and computing domains of expertise. The program will co-develop the change agents needed to transform the architectural profession and meet our nation’s strategic needs in terms of productivity and climate goals.

COX heard of the initiative and were motivated to join the centre’s application as an industry partner.

The research aims to train the architecture industry to deliver complex, high value-add and carbon positive architectural manufacturing. Through research and training the aim is to digitalise architecture and engineering firms, increasing productivity and speed. This will result in establishing methodological foundations for a profound rethinking of the design process in the AEC sector.


Centre Director A/Prof M. Hank Haeusler

We hope to remove the bottleneck between design as an intangible pre-production process with tangible production activities.

Industry partners Architectus, Bollinger Grohmann Engineers, COX, Grimshaw Architects, Mott MacDonald Engineers and Tzannes Architects will play a critical role in accelerating the digital transformation in the AEC sector by developing industry and organisational interventions. The digital transformation investigation will include business models (e.g. platform models), future scenarios, ecosystem collaboration (e.g. open innovation) and processes that will enhance organisational efficiency, agility, growth, and profitability.

We will develop sector-specific IP and training for AI-driven specialised architectural manufacturing out of digital twins. We acknowledge that increasingly buildings will have a digital twin, a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object. Yet buildings need to be ‘serviced’ and maintained. Currently, digital twins cannot pass data back to manufacturing. Building file to factory capabilities within architecture will help manufacturers to viably engage in design-led production via file to fabrication.

This new developed knowledge is communicated via research education standards developed with our institutional partners Australian Institute of Architects, Association of Consulting Architects Australia, Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, and the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists to facilitate adoption, exploration, and innovation in training in architectural manufacturing.

The developed CPD (Continuous Professional Development) courses will assist in generating specialised workforce capacity within Australia’s architectural sector. The Australian Institute of Architects has an active involvement in every level of education and training for students and practitioners. The Architecture Registration Board requires architects to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills relevant to their architectural practice and provision of services, including instructions to fabricate buildings and their components.

Through this framework we can leverage advanced architectural computing discoveries made by the two host universities and our international university partners UCL London, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia Barcelona, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Copenhagen, and Bauhaus University Weimar to connect architectural design with the opportunities afforded by advanced manufacturing systems.

Dr Jacqueline Baker, National Head of Research and Development, COX Architecture

As a significant Industry Partner in the Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing Training Centre, COX is excited to be part of a research-led approach that links the architectural creative process to emerging digital fabrication expertise and opportunity.