DigitalFUTURES: Platform based Robotic Timber Architecture

Workshop Leaders: Prof. Philip F. Yuan + Prof. Achim Menges + Hans Jakob Wagner + Hua Chai/ CAUP Tongji University, ICD University of Stuttgart

In this workshop we will investigate novel potentials for wood architecture that arise at the intersection of computational design and mobile, platform-based robotic timber construction. The effective design of multi-storey timber structures is currently limited to rigid grid layouts that derive from transportation constraints of standardised, prefabricated rectangular slab elements. An on-site robotic fabrication platform, that was specifically developed for this workshop, allows the construction of timber structures that break free from these constraints. Based on the possibilities of such mobile robotic construction process we will explore novel design opportunities for timber construction in high-volume multi-storey architectural typologies.

Participants will learn to use structural topology-optimization tools for slab structures, design generation tools for the tectonic definition of building systems and tools for integrated robotic simulation and subsequent robotic code generation. The workshop will be split in three parts. First, participants will be introduced into the topics of multi-storey architecture and platform-based robotic timber construction. In skill-up sessions the participants will then be taught the digital tools for computational design and fabrication simulation. Last but not least, the core part of the workshop will then be the development of individual design explorations in small groups with a focus on the contextual exploitation of the proposed building system in specific contextual scenarios.

The workshop will conclude with a comprehensive catalogue of design possibilities that arise from non-grid based design and construction technologies for multi-storey timber construction. The fabrication system will be tested through the construction of a full-scale demonstrator at Tongji University. After participation students will have a good understanding of emergent technologies and architectural design opportunities in computational timber construction. construction.


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