Architecture; Robotic; Fabrication; Additive; Complex; Design; Research; Implementation; Parameter; Assembly; Timber; Prefabrication; Innovation; Structure
Helm Volker, Knauss Michael, Thomas Kohlhammer, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler (2016), Additive Robotic Fabrication of Complex Timber Structures
, Routledge, London.
Sigrist Christophe, Zock Peter (2016), New connections suitable for robotic assembly of complex timber structures, in Eberhardsteiner Josef (ed.), TU Verlag, Wien, 246-253.
Jan Willmann, Michael Knauss, Tobias Bonwetsch, Aleksandra Anna Apolinarska, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler (2016), Robotic timber construction — Expanding additive fabrication to new dimensions, in Automation in Construction
, 61, 16-23.
Gramazio Fabio, Kohler Matthias, Willmann Jan (2014), A New Physics of Construction
, T+A (Time+Architecture), China.
Zock Peter, Eduard Bachmann, Gramazio Fabio, Kohler Matthias, Kohlhammer Thomas, Knauß Michael, Sigrist Christophe, Sitzmann Stefan (2014), Additive robotergestützte Herstellung komplexer Holzstrukturen
, Swiss Wood Innovation Network (S-WIN), Weinfelden.
Gramazio Fabio, Kohler Matthias, Willmann Jan (2014), Authoring Robotic Processes, in AD
, 84(229), 14-21.
Gramazio Fabio, Kohler Matthias, Willmann Jan (2014), The Robotic Touch – How Robots Change Architecture
, Park Books, Zurich.
In view of a worldwide shortage of energy resources and an increasing concern about climate change, the proposal aims at a radically advanced application of timber in particular consideration of economic and ecologic criteria. In this respect, the project researches a highly integrated digital design and fabrication process for timber. It examines the next logical step in timber pre-fabrication by introducing robotic assembly instead of traditional manual joining or automation of parts. Key to this approach is the underlying notion that complex timber-derived structures can be built up from very simple parts of softwood - most commonly perceived as low-grade or even waste material. However, this represents a precious feature that should be exploited to increase both the material’s functional and aesthetic value. Here, the precise and efficient robotic assembly permits the folding of small parts into complex, robust and lightweight structures that use material very sparingly. In turn, a variety of highly articulated complex timber structures can be produced while providing the optimization for structural efficiency through a specific localized allocation of material. The recent development in the field of digital fabrication has led to unexplored aesthetical articulations and should be connected to investigations based on construction and material innovation, thus putting the traditional resource timber into an entirely new technological context. The scientific hypothesis performs intense interdisciplinary collaboration and can be described as precisely matching digital design and robotic fabrication (ETH) with the particular experience of structural timber engineering (BFH) and of automation development for a larger industrial scale (BFH). The idea is this hypothesis is to make a complementary link between design, construction and fabrication and to use available expertise and facilities for innovation research in this field. This will allow exploring a new generation of complex timber structures with a great impact on the Swiss building and construction sector. Furthermore, it will foster Switzerland’s position as internationally leading research center for future building technology. Other than focusing on either design or material or technology, this approach will permit to explore the full potential of timber. Therefore, particular attention will be given to the characterization of construction and fabrication criteria, the development of reliable, efficient and economic connection techniques and advanced digital design methods. The proposed research project will be conducted for three years. In addition, it is planned the implementation of the project on an industrial scale and therefore it is aimed at the continuation of research after this period. The research project is divided into three depended research areas that are summarized with respective main tasks, cooperative development and clear requirements. On this basis, the research project and its large scale implications allows for opening numerous possibilities for woodworking innovation where a smarter use of timber as a valuable resource can be pursued. The following main tasks are planned: - To develop a sustainable, innovative and reliable approach to the additive robotic fabrication of complex timber structures. - To qualify the performance possibilities to be fulfilled by using additive robotic fabrication for the construction of complex timber structures.- To quantify the possibilities and parameters being decisive for the use of robotic fabrication in the field of complex timber structures.- To perform an extensive experimental investigation on additive robotic fabrication by developing and testing different 1:1 prototypes for the reliable characterization of fundamental design, construction and material criteria. - To provide with unmatched knowledge about the mechanical and physical properties as well as structural behavior of robotically fabricated timber structures. - To increase the application of robotic fabrication in this field and therefore to significantly improve the substitution potential of timber.In sum, the proposed project will provide with unexplored potentials of the functional and aesthetic potential as well as the constructive behavior of robotically fabricated complex timber structures. Since timber is by definition a multifunctional material where a wide range of traditional construction techniques can be applied, additive robotic fabrication allows to fully exploit this up to now insufficiently used potential. While today’s industrial automatization in the context of timber construction shifts interest to machining single elements or similar components, additive robotic fabrication aims at an automated yet individual constructive assembly. Also, unlike building these structures by hand, one of the most precious features of additive robotic fabrication in this context is a highly efficient and precise assembly, particularly when considering an agglomeration of a large amount of small timber members. This innovation will lead to an increased use of timber for today’s ever more complex and demanding building tasks. It will significantly improve sustainable and substitutional potential of timber.