Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Robotic Infiltrations workshop, Die Angewandte, Fall 2013

The Robotic Infiltrations workshop was a collaboration between the University of Innsbruck's REXILAB and the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The workshop represented a continuation of research that explores the potential of additive digital production through roboti­cally controlled placement of phase-change polymers in producing full-scale structures.

The Architecture Challenge program is an international design workshop series in collaboration with international experts and institutions. It is for architecture students interested in exploring integrated digital design and fabrication while simultaneously desig­ning a full-scale built project within the teaching environment of the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Architectural Design at "Die Angewandte" is taught as an integrated, multidisciplinary process. 

The design process in the workshop was enriched with robotic design strategies, combining Grasshopper plug-ins such as the HAL and Karamba platforms. Specialists from Bollinger + Grohmann Engineers and invited guest experts Georg Grasser, Kadri Tamre, and Thibault Schwartz from Techni­cal University Innsbruck co-tutored the workshop. Virtual simulation methods and full-scale structural engineering using robotic manufacturing were the primary focus of the workshop. Three ABB industrial robots from REXILAB were used for on-site fabri­cation.

Structural performance
Structural testing of PU foam mockups revealed a strong tension ability of the expanded material. Supporting points on the floor and suspension point on a movable rack were defined locally, taking into account the architectural site context. Possible connection lines bet­ween these points were optimized for internal bending moments using the structural plug-in Karamba in combination with the genetic algorithm Galapagos.

Intrinsic material qualities
The geometrically accurately defined design strategy reacts with loosely defined material behavior. The precise abilities of the robots corre­late with the very uncertain geometrical condition entailing from the foam expansion process. This intuitive material behavior enriches the digital precision, resulting in artifacts of one-time unique aesthetic design results. Experimental and final production of the structure merge in one single fabrication process.

Fabrication process
A Grasshopper Definition was developed to extract 4-point nodes and 2-point connections from the final design network. HAL was used to compute specific tool paths for the three robots. A specific material mixture (PU foam, gypsum, water and hardener) developed at TU Inns­bruck combined with precise time management was required to produce the structural nodes.

Andrei Gheorghe, Georg Grasser, Kadri Tamre, Thibault Schwartz. 

Participating students

Lu Jiaxing, Rhina Portillo, Matthias Urschler, Maria Valente, Yi Lin Vincent, Matea Ban

See the complete workshop results here...

The team of University of Innsbruck together with Harvard GSD (Georg Grasser, Nathan King, Kadri Tamre, Allison Weiler, Marjan Colletti) is holding a Explorations in Robotic Forming of Thermoplastic Materials workshop at Rob|Arch 2014.

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