IAAC – Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction
Workshop B

Faculty: Shajay Bhooshan, Alicia Nahmad

          BODY & ORNAMENT
Robotic processing of timber as architectural material



Historically, timber has been a versatile architectural material. Strong enough to carry forces through its body and soft enough to be moulded and carved with exuberant articulation in its appearance. Its use in building scale application however, fell out of favour due its reliance on skilled and manual labour.

In particular the ornamental aspects of wood bore the brunt of the march of the mass production. Recent adaptation of industrial robots to architectural production offers the chance to have our cake and eat it too – advantages of mechanised production couple with the full-bodied and emotive qualities of architectural timber.

This workshop intends to explore such a design-space – a space of very many possible solutions, each transmitting forces to ground axially, whilst presenting itself eloquently in its external appearance.

Computationally, students will exposed to:

1. Form-finding of compressive spatial networks, ?particularly the underlying logic of form-finding of compressive skeletal structures using seminal methods such as Force density method.

2. The use of image-based geometry representation(FREP) schemes to develop highly ornate carving tool-paths.

3. Robotic path-planning ?- assembly of spatial structure usually results in complex trajectories due to necessity of collision avoidance, need to achieve precise target orientations (etc.) these may be resolved in a human guided way or a computational and mathematical way.  Students will be exposed to the underlying ideas.

The workshop will teach a specific and a minimal viable tool-chain where 1,2 above would be based in Maya / custom-app, and (3) will assume human guided path planning. Students are free to explore alternatives to each of the components. They are equally free to explore alternatives to carving such as robotic moulding of wood-pastes, extrusion of wood-plastic mixtures and more.