Soomeen Hahm’s AR-Focused Exhibition
‘2021: A Steam Odyssey’ to Open July 30

Soomeen Hahm: 2021: a steam odyssey
July 30 - August 29, 2021

SCI-Arc is proud to announce a new exhibition, 2021: A Steam Odyssey by SCI-Arc design faculty and robotics researcher Soomeen Hahm, will open July 30 in the SCI-Arc Gallery. A live, discussion between Hahm and special guests will take place virtually on August 4 at 6pm PT. The exhibition will present the ongoing research of SoomeenHahm Design, a London-based design studio helmed by Hahm, into application of augmented reality technologies and their impact on architectural design and construction. 

2021: A Steam Odyssey is conceptualized around the notion that making in AR reinvigorates traditional craftsmanship by augmenting hand and material skills with the precision and formal possibilities of digital modeling—occupying the territory between purely automated, exclusively robotically-driven fabrication and highly crafted processes requiring human labor. 

The centerpiece of the exhibition, designed in collaboration with Igor Pantic, is a structure built out of steam-bent hardwood using primitive hand tools augmented with the precision of intelligent holographic guides. It explores alternative strategies for the fabrication of digitally designed architectural structures, utilizing cutting-edgem, head-mounted devices (HMDs) to holographically assist workers in the manufacturing and assembly of highly varied components using traditional craft techniques.

The exhibition piece itself, which is a full-scale section of a larger inhabitable space, represents a next step in the evolution of the SoomeenHamh Design’s ongoing research into complex timber structures, assembled with the assistance of AR. It builds on the methodology developed for the 2019 Tallinn Biennale Steampunk Pavilion (designed by Hahm, Pantic, Gwyllim Jahn, and Cameron Newnham), further expanding it in the realm of fully functional space.

“It is crucial to understand that augmented reality-assisted fabrication is not seen as an alternative to automation and robotics, but rather aims to expand the understanding of automated production,” explains Hahm. “We are interested in exploring the interaction between human, machine, and data, and their mutual relationships throughout computational design and fabrication processes—2021: A Steam Odyssey builds on this idea.” 

This event is only open for in-person visits to the SCI-Arc community of students, faculty, staff, and trustees.

Gallery Visit Reservation


SoomeenHahm Design Ltd is a London-based design studio focusing on design research and practice tackling the issues of computational paradigm in architecture across multiple scales and perspectives. The research looks at the ecology of computational power, technology, and human intuition and the ways in which this collaboration impacts the design industry and physical environment. Approaching the work with a strong interest in research, the practice is trying to bridge between academia and commercial practices. Practical work produced in the studio ranges from small products to large scale architectural and urban design—experts in providing conceptual design solutions. Currently the practice is interested in the use of augmentation (i.e., AR/VR) to execute complex and precise digitally generated forms, while questioning the future role of human, robot, machine, and computer.
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