The RB laboratory is equipped with a 6-axis KUKA robot, sensor-actuators, and powerful computers. Design to Robotic Production and Operation (D2RP&O) workshops held in the lab are aimed at integrating different modes and methods of robotic production and operation into computational design processes in order to explore and multi-materiality in architectural building systems. The workshops focus on developing D2RP&O methods for hybrid material systems, from micro to macro level as spatial, structural and architectural configurations.
What does RB lab do?
The Robotic Building lab implements research focusing on physically built robotic environments and robotically supported building processes. The RB aims to answer this question by critically reflecting on the achievements of the last decades in applications of robotics in architecture and furthermore outlining potential future developments and their societal implications. The focus is on robotic systems embedded in buildings and building processes implying that architecture is enabled to interact with its users and surroundings in real-time and corresponding design to production, and operation chains are (in part or as whole) robotically driven. Such modes of production and operation involve agency of both humans and non-humans. Thus agency is not located in one or another but in the heterogeneous associations between them (inter al. Latour, 2005) and authorship is neither human or non-human but collective, hybrid, and diffuse.
Robotic Building exploits emergent results from interactions between human and non-human agents not only at design and production level but also at building operation level, wherein users and environmental conditions contribute to the emergence of multiple architectural configurations. In this context, design becomes process- instead of object-oriented, use of space becomes time- instead of program- or function-based, which implies that architects design increasingly processes, while users operate multiple time-based architectural configurations (Bier and Knight, 2014) emerging from the same physical space that may physically or sensorially reconfigure in accordance to environmental and user specific needs.
If spatial reconfiguration may be facilitating multiple, changing uses of physically built space within reduced timeframes, interactive energy and climate control systems embedded in building components and employing renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, may reduce architecture’s ecological footprint (Oosterhuis and Bier, 2013). Both rely on virtual modelling and simulation that interface the production and real-time operation of physically built space establishing thereby an unprecedented design to production and operation feedback loop, which is focus of the RB research.