Theodora Vardouli contact



I am a second year SMArchS Design and Computation student at the MIT Department of Architecture. Before coming to MIT I studied Architectural Engineering in the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) where I also pursued an MPhil in Design-Space-Culture.
I have long been fascinated with technological platforms which empower non-experts to develop their own designs without the mediation of the architect. My current research evolves around using protocols and ideas from the Open Source movement to rethink the participatory project in architecture. I find How to make (almost) Anything very exciting because it opens a new trajectory in this research, going beyond the immaterial production (information, ideas, code...) and exploring how these ideas can be translated in the physical world: How non-experts can not only design but make what they design.
In this case, I also consider myself a "non-expert" with very little skills in fabrication and electronics and a bias towards the "software side" of things. Before MIT I had only used exactos and gray chipboard and this last year I did my first timid steps in laser-cutting, 3d-printing and electronics prototyping (Arduino, fritzing).
Looking back, it was not the lack of infrastructure in Athens which prevented me from being more involved with digital fabrication and electronics but a psychological barrier towards this way of making, which I considered inapproachable, an area of high expertise. Apart from diving into the challenge of learning how to make almost anything, I therefore intend to do my best to disseminate this knowledge to my academic community in Athens.
Through my participation in How to Make (almost) Anything I envision to develop my research hypotheses about Open Design in praxis, to surpass my personal barriers and explore new ways of making and to share this knowledge with my academic community and beyond, empowering people to demystify technology and be creative with it.
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