Week 13 – Liam Matteson
How can robots be used to create forms that humans are not otherwise able to create by hand? Robots excel in executing tasks and are often much more proficient than people in the completion of single tasks. With the influence of robots, life is being made autonomous and automatic. Archi-Union, an architecture firm located in Shanghai China had the idea to bring robots into the picture when thinking about the creation of a structure. The building that Archi-Union built provides space for art exhibitions and events for the community of West Bund in Shanghai.
Using recycled bricks from their previous building in a nearby location and combining traditional materials with modern manufacturing their goal was to design a facade that would be impossible to be built by a human. The wall was made somewhat concave with bulges that protruded outward. With the help of a mechanical arm, bricks were placed with precision to create a structure that had a fluid form. The complex and free-flowing form was created using computer software that told the mechanical robot arm what to build. The benefits of constructing a structure purely from the use of robots change how we conceive a structure and how we use architecture as a profession. It hands the building to the robot and gives the architect the opportunity to provide more energy to the design process.
In the future, how will we construct our buildings and urban infrastructure? These robotic improvements are just the beginning of using technology to form our creations. We will not only have buildings that are built by robots but what if buildings in the future operate autonomously as well? What if our urban infrastructure is based on a grid of cars that act as modules that run along a programmed path. These are all possibilities of the future that are beginning to become less of fiction and more of reality.