Pavilion, additive robotic assembly

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




ETH, Zürich, Switzerland

6 m x 6 m x 4.5 m

Wood beams connected with screws

Rhino, Python, Robot Studio

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


Project lead

Selen Ercan (fabrication lead)

Carlos Cenci, Guilherme Da Silva Carvalho, Luis Gisler, Andreas Kissel, Isabelle Nützi, Stefan Roos

Marisa Brunner, Carlos Cenci, Tino Crameri, Guilherme Da Silva Carvalho, Bettina Dobler, Nicolas Ganz, Melchior Hösli, Bo Li, Leonardo Magursi, Isabelle Nützi, Haitao Pang, Robby Rey, Stefan Roos, Chang Su , Ying Yi Tan, Akihiko Tanigaito, James Yeo, Jason Yeung





In this semester the students continued to explore complex spatial aggregations and concentrated especially on robotic assembly of straight beam elements. These were assembled in orthogonal relation, using simple side-to-side connections without any extra joints. Although composed out of generic elements, the system has a capacity to build a wide range of complex configurations. Due to the additive assembly of multiple beam elements, differentiated and highly redundant structural systems were created that allowed specific investigations of new design and construction methods for complex truss structures. The students tested their design, structural and procedural constructive logics directly on robotic fabrication of model scale prototypes. For the elective thesis course Shifted Frames, a design from the previous semester course was elaborated and fabricated at full scale on the ETH Hönggerberg campus. The pavilion consisted of 252 interwoven wooden frames of different sizes that were locked in place by screws. Designed as an orthogonal aggregation of over 1,500 wood beams that fill out the complete volume of the pavilion, varying densities modulate the view through as well as from inside the structure. It was fabricated in 18 parts at the Chair’s robotic facility before it was put together on site. The robot arm performed the cutting of each individual element as well as demanding spatial positioning inside every pavilion part, while fixing of the beams was done in a man-machine procedure. In this way Shifted Frames explores not only highly informed and robotically aggregated spatial structures but also fosters innovative human-machine collaboration at full architectural scale.




















The simple-most way to connect rectangular wooden timber elements is with a side-to-side connections and keeping them either orthogonal or parallel to each other. It is remarkable how much variety can be produced from these simple rules.

© 2016 by LUKA PIšKOREC

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