Architects Using Robots to Build Beautiful Structures

Architects Using Robots to Build Beautiful Structures

Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, both professors at ETH's Institute for Technology in Architecture, were among the first to use robots in architectural design.

Since 2006 the duo has explored various manufacturing techniques, including both subtractive and additive fabrication, as well as a wide range of materials, to create astonishing structures entirely built by robots.

The use of robots, combined with digital design tools, means a new aesthetic becomes possible, with novel shapes and patterns that would be nearly impossible to achieve without the automated machines: industrial manipulators that are extremely precise and good at repetition.

Using robots, the two ETH architects, who run the Gramazio & Kohler design studio, have fabricated intricate building parts out of wood, concrete, bricks, and foam, and have used these parts to build complex, beautiful installations in Zurich, London, Barcelona, New York, and other locations.

The idea of using robotic systems as reconfigurable spaces or "smart furniture" is not new.

But the way Gramazio and Kohler are using robots - to actually build large environments - is very innovative indeed.

Though their creations thus far are limited in size, the architects are currently exploring the idea of applying robotic fabrication to the design and construction of high-rise buildings.

Photo: Gramazio & Kohler

filed under: Architecture
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