IAAC – Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction
Studio I
Faculty: Alexandre DuborRaimund Krenmueller.


Credits: UnStudio, Lane 189                                                                  


As a building’s outermost layer, facades play a unique role as architectural elements, integrating a number of performative requirements, such as protection from the elements, climatic, light/shading and visual control, with aesthetic expression and cultural significance. Due to their superficial nature, facades are often built from materials in the form of sheets or panels, occupying a relatively narrow layer in a building’s envelope.
In this year’s edition of the ROBOTIC CRAFT STUDIO, entitled Deep Screens, we will explore and expand this seemingly shallow design space through computational design and robotic manufacturing processes. To unlock new aesthetic and performative potentials we will consider 3 scales of geometric differentiation and robotic manipulation of sheet materials: texture/surface, form/element and composition/assembly.

Each of these scales lends itself to specific manufacturing techniques, that students are encouraged to explore, develop and extend, using customised end-effectors and protocols:
On the surface scale, textures can be created through e.g. punching, engraving, painting, polishing, grinding, etching etc.
On the element scale, form can be created through e.g. cold bending, thermoforming, incremental sheet forming, folding, active bending, molding+vacuum forming etc. In between the element and assembly scale, issues of contouring and joinery detailing need to be addressed. And finally, compositions of elements can be realised through purely robotic, or collaborative assembly processes.

Learning objectives

At course completion the student will:
– be able to tackle a multi-aspect, multi-scalar architectural design and fabrication task using computational design and robotic fabrication tools
– have a deeper understanding of an integrated digital design and fabrication process
– be able to relate material properties to manufacturing parameters
– be able to create robot programs, simple custom end-effectors and material handling tools to manipulate sheet materials using the ABB 6-Axis robots at IAAC.