Rob|Arch – robotic fabrication in art, architecture and design

RobArch2014 Fiber Syntax

Historically speaking, architects really gave up the creative power of being “master builders” when “means and methods” was split away from the design side of construction projects and given to the contractors.  So it is nice to see architecture students regain some of the creative potential of acting as “master builders” by messing around with new technologies.  Especially ROBOTS!

Check out the Rob|Arch 2014 conference website for some interesting experiments in using robots as construction tools, such as the images I’ve included here from the Fiber Syntax workshop.


I would love to start experimenting with how lighting technologies could be incorporated into such creative explorations — circuits, LEDs, optics and diffusion, etc.  Might produce some really mind-blowing stuff.

From the website:

Industrial robots are the ultimate flexible manufacturing tools. Designers are taking this to heart; contemporary research and production via robotic fabrication borrows from more mature manufacturing industries in order to accelerate the translation from “design to production”.  Whereas task-specific machine tools support the efficiencies of mass-production, robotic workcells can be reconfigured, allowing a generic machine to perform a wide range of tasks. What robots may lack in extreme precision, they rapidly recover in “intelligence”….cooperative, closed-loop  production cells now learn and adjust their technique in real-time. At the other end of the scale, robots are emerging as in-situ construction tools, achieving the dexterity to perform an active role in direct, on site fabrication challenges.

…the conference seeks to bring together artists, designers, fabricators and industry leaders for the purpose of advancing the discourse surrounding robotic fabrication. Following on the success of ROB|ARCH 2012, the conference will again present a series of workshops held at the University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon University, and Princeton University, aimed at exposing the advanced capabilities of applied robotic research. Following the workshops, the conference will span two days at the University of Michigan Campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about an hour outside of Detroit, the origin of robotics in North America.