, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 483-494
Date: 27 Sep 2012

Robotic Assembly Processes as a Driver in Architectural Design

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Over the last couple of years industrial robots have increasingly gained the interest of architects and designers. Robotics in architecture and construction has mainly been looked at from an engineering perspective during the latter half of the twentieth century, with the main purpose of automating the building process. Today the focus has turned towards realizing non-standardized designs and developing custom fabrication processes. However, the specific characteristics of the robot, which distinguish it from common computer numerically controlled machines, are often overlooked. Industrial robots are universal fabrication machines that lend themselves especially well to assembly tasks. Applied to architecture this resolves to the ability to control and manipulate the building process. As such, applying industrial robots emphasizes construction as an integral part of architectural design. Moreover, designing and manipulating robotic assembly processes can become a driver in architectural design. The potential of such an approach is discussed on the basis of several design experiments that illustrate that by applying such methods, form is not derived from computation or geometry, but from a physical process.