Pavilion, robotic pre-fabrication with manual assembly

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




ETH, Zürich, Switzerland

6 m x 6 m x 2.5 m

PVC pipes connected with cable ties

Rhino, Python

Kuka KR 150 L110 on linear track, Universal Robots UR5 for the prototyping phase


Project lead

Ralph Bärtschi, Thomas Cadalbert, Ena Lloret

Stella Azariadi, Sonja Cheng, Ivana Damjanovic, David Jenny, Andreas Kissel, Jennifer Koschack, Bo Li, Joe Liao, Lukas Mersch, Evangelos Pantazis, Stylianos Psaltis, Gabriela Schär, Katharina Schwiete, Enzo Valerio, James Yeo, Sasada Yushi

Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindström, Stella Azariadi, Ripple Chauhan, Sonja Cheng, Ivana Damjanovic, Christian Grewe Rellmann, David Jenny, Eveline Job, Andreas Kissel, Bo Li, Joe Liao, Lukas Mersch, Evangelos Pantazis, Kulshresth Patel, Stylianos Psaltis, Tarika Sajnani, Gabriela Schär, Hjalmar Schmid, Katharina Schwiete, Rahil Shah, Josiena Simonian, Enzo Valerio, Janki Vyas, James Yeo, Sasada Yushi

REHAU Vertriebs AG





The course dealt with spatial assemblies created through positioning of straight rod-like elements in space by making use of robot`s six degrees of freedom and man-to-machine interaction. It was investigated into buildup sequences as well as into evaluation logics that allow to aggregate spatial structures without the need of additional scaffolding. Such aggregations lead away from conventional space-frame typologies, performing ever more complex structural capabilities. Through developing different man-to-machine buildup procedures, optimal work-flow can be achieved without compromising the design's intricacy. In this, a new digital design and fabrication scope is enabled while generating robust, inherently redundant aggregations with multiple load paths and connection opportunities. During the elective thesis the students continued to examine robotic construction processes using straight rod-like elements and man-to-machine interaction. Multiple designs from the elective course were evaluated and developed further, ranging from programming to 1:1 prototype testing. This included a constructive assembly system with optimized joining and build-up sequencing. Consequently, this custom prefabrication setup was used to design and build a 6 m x 6 m pavilion, made from 700 meters of PVC pipes (32 mm diameter) in the Chair’s robotic facility. In this, the pavilion’s assembly sequence exerted a decisive influence on the architectural design and building process. Essential here is both the spatial accessibility and the structural stiffness generated by the connection of the individual elements. On that scope, the pavilion formed a coherent, differentiated and nevertheless harmonious whole, representing a unique and highly resolved spatial structures that demonstrates the potential for future adaptive and recursive processes in digital design and construction.





















There are many reasons to argue for spatial complexity in architectural structures, adding structural height with efficient material use being one of them. But handling this complexity requires advanced design methods and highly controllable fabrication processes.

© 2016 by LUKA PIšKOREC

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