Digital Futures Lab

The Digital Futures Lab (DFL) affords the School a powerful computational resource dedicated to extending the capacity of students, designers and researchers in their pursuit of next-generation integrated design techniques and solutions at and between the urban, landscape, architectural and product scales. High-end, networked hardware delivers the power to drive complex heavy multi-dimensional modeling with quick refresh rates (approaching real-time feedback) and to associate those models and designs with performance based analysis and simulation applications. The lab enhances visualization with dual 23” monitors at each station, includes multiple projection options, features a built-in video conferencing capacity and integrates a render farm that operates in the background without monopolizing valuable desktop CPU time.

The 32-station DFL is dedicated to high-end computationally intensive design applications that complement the ubiquitous, strategic engagement of laptop based computation in the architecture curriculum through a combination of scheduled classes and seminars, the assignment of some stations to a dedicated upper-level, computation-intense studio and school of architecture student access.


  • 32 Dell Alienware Area 51 ALX
  • Intel Core i7 980 Extreme w/ 6 dual-cores (3.33GHz, 12MB Cache)
  • 12GB Triple Channel 1333MHz DDR3
  • ATI Radeon HD 5970 Graphics Card w/ Dual GPUs
  • Dual 23” Dell P2311H LCD Monitors w/ 2 USB ports


  • Video Conferencing – Dual 55” LCD screens
  • Four Projectors to support multiple lab-use configurations.
  • Render Farm that tethers up to 120 unused machine cores to operate at high speed in the background. The render farm is also available from student laptops.
  • Storage Server – 3.5 terabytes of online storage available as a mounted network drive at all workstations.
  • Dual 23” Monitors with USB ports.

Fabrication Shop

The School of Architecture Fabrication facility boasts a recently expanded shop with an eclectic and unique grouping of equipment and technical abilities.  Though we primarily serve the School of Architecture student body and its faculty, other members of the RPI community are welcome.  Centrally located on the zero level of the Greene Building it is convenient to the studios above and campus in general.  Supervised by two full time staff and numerous student monitors, the shop is usually open 7 days. (See Schedule) The SoA shop is one of four academic shops on campus in addition there is one professional machine shop and a materials testing lab.  Any student wishing to use shop facilities must pass the Safety Course before using any on campus facility.  The RPI Shop community uses a unique online safety course administered through the LMS (Learning Management System)  Shop safety and technique is addressed immediately in the first year experience and is encouraged and enforced throughout the architecture curriculum. Subdivided for safety, five separate areas allow for a healthy and productive work environment.

Fabrication Areas: Main Equipment & Tools

1) Machine Room

  • Large Equipment: 10″ Table Saw, 14″ Band Saw, Radial Arm Saw, 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw, Scroll Saw, Drill Presses, 18″ Thickness Planer, Oscillating Spindle Sander, Combination Belt/Disc Sander, Wood Lathe, Hot Wire Foam Cutters, Vertical Mill/Drill, Metal Lathe
  • Micro Equipment: 3 Inch Table Saw, 1″ Belt Sander, Micro Vertical Mill and Scroll Saw.
  • Powered Hand-Tools: Routers, Belt/Disc Sanders, Jigsaws, Drills, Circular Saws, Pneumatic Brad Nailer, Pneumatic Stapler, Pneumatic Die Grinder, Angle Grinder, Plate Joiner.
  • Non-Powered Hand-Tools: Chisels, Hammers, Screw Drivers, Pliers, Wire Cutters, Hand Planes, Files and Rasps, Saws.

2) CNC Milling

  • Three Axis Techno Router.
  • 48″x96″ 10 HP Vaccum Bed.
  • Three HP Colombo Spindle.

3) Laser Cutting

  • 48″ x 48″ Vytek FB 100 Watt Laser.
  • 18″ X 32″ Universal Laser 60 Watts.
  • Purex Fume extraction.

4) Rapid Prototyping

  • Z450 Zcorp Printer.
  • Z4 Waxer.
  • ZP150 Powder.
  • 12x18x3 Thermo-former.

5) Ceramic Lab

  • Large Bailey Oval Kiln and small Test Kiln.
  • 30 Ton Hydraulic Molding Press.
  • Slip Casting pumps and tables.
  • Clay mixer and Pug Mill

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Evan Douglis, Professor


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
School of Architecture
110 8th Street - Greene Building
Troy, NY 12180 - USA

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