The second phase of digital fabrication session aimed to deepen the understanding and exploring the capacities and limitations of the three manufacturing processes introduced to us in phase one. The exercise focused on simultaneous design-production approach with each team selecting one project dedicated to one specific process. The common framework of this exercise was to develop performative patterns at an architectural scale.

Our team chose to work with sound absorber technique using 3D-milling. The goal of this project was to create an acoustic panel of 2000mm X 1000mm that act as sound absorbers in the otherwise reverberant studio space. The surfaces can be shaped using the subtractive technique by 3d-milling and had to be designed for both sides of the panel.

Our project HEXSYS took inspiration from the naturally occurring hexagonal patterns in nature. For this, various references and case studies of previously done projects were analyzed.

Hexagons have inherent sound diffusing properties by the virtue of its shape because of which it is being used widely for acoustic panels. Since the panels to be fabricated had a long span of 2000mm; we studied different techniques of assembly and interlocking. For, the same reason hexagons worked the best since it optimized the large region with shapes of the same area while minimizing the boundary – efficient packing is the name of the game.

Instead of going with one sound absorbent material, we worked with 3 materials of different densities. Various strategies with respect to depth, textures, and layers were studied to get the optimal results.

The entire panel was divided into 6 interlocking blocks with 3 materials sandwiched in each block. Along with the panel-panel interlocking, panel to frame joinery was also worked out. The interlocking strategy not only helped with the assembly of the panel but also added strength to the structure.


“HEXSYS” is a project of IAAC, Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, developed as part of the Digital Fabrication course at the Master in Advanced Architecture program in 2017/18.

Students: Kavya Jose, Maya Mohan, Yuchen Chen, Timothy Magara

Tutors: Alexandre Dubor, Raimund Krenmueller

Support: Ricardo Valbuena, Ricardo Mayor, Ks Sujal, Shyam Zonca