Spaces for experimenting with hardware for digital fabrication have been a reality at many other architecture faculties for several years now. In the VokuhiLab at the Faculty of Architecture and Design, ideas can now also be materialised in a central location for teaching and research at HFT Stuttgart and theory can be put into practice.
The planning of a digital laboratory in the basement of Building 4, which was initiated in 2019, was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After moving into the new studio building in 2022/23, existing and new machines for digital production of the Faculty could be concentrated in one place and in the immediate vicinity of the studios.
Rector Prof. Dr. Katja Rade, Dean Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Cremers and many helping hands - above all the team from Workshop Interior Design: Jürgen Aldinger, Romano Bianchi. Holger Bitterberg and Willi Mauch - actively supported the process. At the end of the 2023 summer semester, Holger Bitterberg and student helpers Nik Kemerle and Dennis Rigal were able to start preliminary operations. Since mid-October the position of workshop manager has been filled with Elisabeth Bokesch.
After final work for the laboratory furniture, which was largely built from leftover materials, and test runs with new equipment laser and digital cutters, foil cutters, hot wire and water jet cutters and various 3D printers are currently available. Elsewhere such places are called FabLab, Maker- or Hackerspace - why VokuhiLab? (Vokuhila is the German word for the mullet hairstyle). Not only the opening hours during the semester, but also the lab rooms in the floor plan are "short at the front, long at the back" - and the name is a euphonic delicacy!
We hope that our students will enjoy visiting this place for ideas, exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration, experimenting with digital production tools with curiosity, joy and beyond the classroom. The team around workshop manager Elisabeth Bokesch is looking forward to your visit and is excited about the ideas that will be realised in the VokuhiLab!
Text: Prof. Andreas Kretzer, Lab Management