Wall, in situ robotic assembly

Research and teaching project done at Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zürich



ETH, Zürich, Switzerland

8 m x 2.5 m

Dry stacked wood boards

Rhino, Python, Robot Studio

ABB IRB 4600 on mobile platform for the final installation, Universal Robots UR5 for the prototyping phase


Teaching lead

Volker Helm, Selen Ercan, Thomas Cadalbert, Michael Knauss, Dominik Weber, Ralph Bärtschi

Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindström, Leyla Ilman, David Jenny, Michi Keller, Beat Lüdi

Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindström, Koray Akdag, Susanne Büchi, Pascal Genhart, Patrick Goldener, Benedikt Hengartner, David Jenny, Sylvius Kramer, Beat Lüdi, Dorian McCarthy, Mario Sgier, Fabio Stirnimann, Florence Thonney, Yifei Wang, Tobias Wullschleger

Schilliger Holz AG





During the semester the students examined the inherent stabilities of robotic construction processes. Evaluating additive assemblies of discrete elements allowed them to not only draw conclusions on the resulting overall stability but also to consider the assembly equilibrium at each fabrication step. In this way, novel structural and spatial aggregations are designed and fabricated where to a certain extent their materialization is deliberately manipulated and improved through iterative "evolution". The prototypes in model scale were developed in teams using small six-axial robots and custom-built tools. To deepen the knowledge gained in the elective course the students examined the potential of a robot-based assembly of discrete wood elements in an architectural scale. For this purpose it was essential to enhance robotic operational capabilities from traditional industrial environments (limited to constant conditions) to the production of complex architectural components on site. The aim was to adapt the precision and speed of the robot to the complexity of real building conditions and to combine this with cognitive characteristics of the user. Here, the parking garage of the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich proved as a suitable place where the character of a research laboratory could effectively be linked with that of a real construction site. As a consequence a complex wooden structure could be assembled with a mobile robot unit. The scale and modularity of the structure were directly derived from the surrounding spatial conditions. In fact, the geometrically differentiated assembly is based on the inherent stability of the overall structure, which consists of more than a thousand individually positioned wood members and is assembled without additional fasteners. From this, it is derived not only specific design and structural aspects, but also it is made possible a new form of articulation in digital fabrication processes in architecture.





















Traditional brick module is defined not only through its size but also through its final position in the architectural element. By placing it on its less stable side, the modules have to start cross-linking to retain stability and the architectural element itself has to be rethought.

© 2016 by LUKA PIšKOREC

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