Robotic timber construction : Expanding additive fabrication to new dimensions

Willmann, Jan; Knauss, Michael; Bonwetsch, Tobias; Apolinarska, Anna Aleksandra; Gramazio, Fabio; Kohler, Matthias (2016). Robotic timber construction : Expanding additive fabrication to new dimensions Automation in construction, 2016(61), pp. 16-23.

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This paper presents a novel approach to non-standard timber assembly – Robotic Timber Construction (RTC) – where robotic fabrication is used to expand additive digital fabrication techniques towards industrial full scale dimensions. Featuring robotic systems that grasp, manipulate, and finally position building components according to a precise digital blueprint, RTC combines robotic assembly procedures and advanced digital design of non-standard timber structures. The resulting architectural morphologies allow for a convergence of aesthetic and functional concerns, enabling structural optimisation through the locally differentiated aggregation of material. Initiated by the group of Gramazio Kohler Research at ETH Zurich, this approach offers a new perspective on automated timber construction, where the focus is shifted from the processing of single parts towards the assembly of generic members in space. As such, RTC promotes unique advantages over conventional approaches to timber construction, such as, for example, CNC joinery and cutting: through the automated placement of material exactly where it is needed, RTC combines additive and largely waste-free construction with economic assembly procedures, it does not require additional external building reference, and it offers digital control across the entire building process, even when the design and assembly information are highly complex. This paper considers 1) research parameters for the individual components of RTC (such as computational design processes, construction methods and fabrication strategies), and 2) the architectural implications of integrating these components into a systemic, unifying process at the earliest stages of design. Overall, RTC leads to profound changes in the design, performance and expressive language of architecture and thus fosters the creation of architecture that profoundly reinvents its constructive repertoire.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering

Name:

Willmann, Jan;
Knauss, Michael;
Bonwetsch, Tobias;
Apolinarska, Anna Aleksandra;
Gramazio, Fabio and
Kohler, Matthias

Language:

English

Submitter:

Admin import user

Date Deposited:

12 Feb 2020 15:31

Last Modified:

12 Feb 2020 15:31

Related URLs:

ARBOR DOI:

10.24451/arbor.6900

URI:

https://arbor.bfh.ch/id/eprint/6900

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