- Title: Robot builders working on Swiss digitally fabricated house
- Date: 24th July 2017
- Summary: ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (RECENT) (REUTERS) CLOSE OF STEEL FRAME BUILT BY MESH MOULD ROBOT / ZOOM OUT TO ETH PROFESSOR MATTHIAS KOHLER EXAMINING IT (SOUNDBITE) (English) MATTHIAS KOHLER, FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CENTRE OF COMPETENCE IN RESEARCH (NCCR) DIGITAL FABRICATION, SAYING: "Imagine a robot on the construction site wielding this steel mesh in intricate forms that are structurally optimised, and then this can be filled by humans with concrete." VARIOUS OF KOHLER LOOKING AT STEEL MESH DESIGN (SOUNDBITE) (English) MATTHIAS KOHLER, FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CENTRE OF COMPETENCE IN RESEARCH (NCCR) DIGITAL FABRICATION, SAYING: "In the past we had to construct building with concrete by putting up from work and then filling with concrete from the top. That means basically you construct the building twice; first from formwork and then from concrete. With this project, with Mesh Mould, we address the future needs of building with concrete in a sustainable way. Here, no formwork is required and robots directly build a mesh from metal which becomes the reinforcement of this concrete structure." VARIOUS MORE OF KOHLER LOOKING AT MESH MOULD STEEL STRUCTURE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MATTHIAS KOHLER, FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CENTRE OF COMPETENCE IN RESEARCH (NCCR) DIGITAL FABRICATION, SAYING: "This mesh is then filled manually with concrete, and like this you have a collaboration of a human process with a robotic process to address these future needs." WIDE OF KOHLER AND COLLEAGUES LOOKING AT BUILDING PLANS AND ARTISTS REPRESENTATION OF DFAB HOUSE CLOSE OF IMAGE OF DFAB HOUSE
- Embargoed: 7th August 2017 13:14
- Keywords: ETH Zurich DFAB House Gramazio Kohler Research robots construction architecture
- Location: ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
- City: ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0026R2U8GR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Construction recently began on a three-storey house near Zurich that was designed and planned using digital techniques, and is now being built using mostly robotic systems and 3D printing technologies.
The DFAB HOUSE in Dubendorf brings together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication who have teamed up with business partners to test new building technologies under real-life conditions.
"It's the world's first demonstration of how to bring together different digital fabrication technologies, both from pre-fabrication and on-site robotic fabrication," ETH professor Matthias Kohler told Reuters.
Four construction systems are for the first time being transferred from research lab to real-world architectural applications. One is the Mesh Mould technology - a two-metre high construction robot works in situ to construct algorithmically determined steel wire mesh designs. The "structurally optimised" mesh fabricated by the robot serves both as formwork and as reinforcement for the concrete that is poured in, according to Kohler.
"In the past we had to construct buildings with concrete by putting up formwork and then filling with concrete. That means basically you construct the building twice," he said. "With Mesh Mould no formwork is required and robots directly build a mesh from metal which becomes the reinforcement of this concrete structure."
The double-curved, load-bearing, wall that the Mesh Mould builds can support a ceiling the formwork of which is built using a 3D sand printer and the floors above.
The two upper floors of the house are being prefabricated at ETH Zurich's Robotic Fabrication Laboratory using Spatial Timber Assemblies. Here, cooperating robots will assemble the timber construction elements. A similar construction process was previously used to build the Sequential Roof, a huge prefabricated timber roof structure for the main building of the Institute of Technology in Architecture; built by a robot-based assembly process out of 48,624 timber slats.
The DFAB HOUSE is one unit on the NEST platform (Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies), which has three open platforms where individual construction projects can be installed.
For HiLo, another unit on NEST, Philippe Block from the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, is part of a team using computer algorithms to design compression-dominant systems that are structurally strong thanks to their 'elegant' geometry. His team is building the HiLo unit of NEST, using ultra-light construction techniques for the floor and roof. It will feature an adaptive solar facade and is intended to produce 50 percent more energy than it uses.
"We will be building one of the units in the NEST project, and this will be the first demonstration of this system," said Block. "I'm talking about 5x5 metre-span floor slabs, with just 2 centimetres of unreinforced concrete; that is something you can do when you get the shape right."
The DFAB HOUSE is scheduled to be completed by summer 2018 with the three-storey building, with a floor space of 200 m2, acting as a residential and working space for researchers to test innovative smart home solutions and IOT (internet-of-things) technologies.
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