Robot art, architecture and design in live lab

Robots that mimic human hand gestures, do life drawings, and print intricate 2D and 3D clay shapes and structures form a pop-up lab in the new exhibition, Robots in Architecture 2016 – Developing the Future, at the University of Sydney’s Tin Sheds Gallery.

Four KUKA and ABB industrial robots demonstrate novel design and production techniques that may be used to break new ground in design and fabrication in the architecture and construction industries in the future.

University of Sydney Architecture School
Robotic live lab, Code to Production, in Tin Sheds Gallery at Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney. (Photo credit: Dr Dagmar Reinhardt)

The University of Sydney’s Dr Dagmar Reinhardt, Chair of the recent ROB|ARCH2016 global conference, and Program Director in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, said, “Beyond setting protocols and automation processes for fabrication, we are expanding the possibilities of human-machine interactions for collaboration in industry. This has the real potential to lift productivity and economic growth for the building industries.”

The robotic live lab, Code To Production, is part of a larger exhibition showcasing robot-driven designs and processes that were seen at the ROB|ARCH2016 Robots in Architecture conference in Sydney, and produced by DMaF Architecture Robotics Lab at the University of Sydney.

A research-led design elective that is part of architectural studies at the university, the lab introduces undergraduate and postgraduate students to robotic 2D and 3D processes that are explored in the Tin Sheds exhibition every Thursday over the next three weeks.

“They are testing design ideas and methods developed at the interactive 3D printing workshop that we ran with IACC Barcelona and Harvard University at ROB|ARCH2016 in March,” said Dr Reinhardt.

“Developing skills sets that adopt traditional craftsmanship for current state-of-the-art technologies such as robotic fabrication, plays an important role for researchers, practice and industry.

“Exposing these processes to our students allows us to shape future generations of architects and increase Australia’s competitiveness in architecture and creative robotics,” she said.

The use of robotic fabrication in architecture and construction has grown rapidly over the last 15 years, and continues to accelerate as the potential for innovation and creativity using robots is harnessed by the creative industries.

Interviews with 37 leading robotic researchers at ROB|ARCH2016 talking about their current research, the potential impact on industry, and the 10-year outlook also feature in the exhibition. Footage of robots in action at eight conference workshops, and a sample of prototypes, installations and material tests produced by the robots, is also displayed.

Every two years the ROB|ARCH Robots in Architecture, Art and Design conference sees the largest gathering of robotics researchers in architecture and design from around the world. The Sydney conference drew over 250 academics, practitioners and industry researchers in robotic fabrication from 10 countries including Australia, USA, China, Korea, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Spain.

ROB|ARCH2016 was hosted by the University of Sydney Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning alongside partnering Australian universities: The University of NSW, Bond University, RMIT, University of Technology Sydney, and Monash University in conjunction with the Association for Robots in Architecture and several international university and industry collaborators.

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