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Autonomous Assembly: Designing for a New Era of Collective Construction




Autonomous Assembly: Designing for a New Era of Collective Construction

Skylar Tibbits (Guest Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-10235-9 July 2017 136 Pages

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We are now on the brink of a new era in construction – that of autonomous assembly. For some time, the widespread adoption of robotic and digital fabrication technologies has made it possible for architects and academic researchers to design non-standard, highly customised structures. These technologies have largely been limited by scalability, focusing mainly on top-down, bespoke fabrication projects, such as experimental pavilions and structures. Autonomous assembly and bottom-up construction techniques hold the promise of greater scalability, adaptability and potentially evolved design possibilities. By capitalising on the advances made in swarm robotics, the collective construction of the animal/insect kingdom, and advances in physical computational, programmable materials or self-assembly, architects and designers are now able to build from the bottom up. This issue presents future scenarios of autonomous assembly by highlighting the viability of decentralised, collective assembly systems, demonstrating the potential to deliver reconfigurable and adaptive solutions.

Contributors include: Marcelo Coelho, Andong Liu, Robin Meier, Kieran Murphy and Heinrich Jaeger, Radhika Nagpal and Kirstin Petersen, and Zorana Zeravcic.

Featured architects: Aranda\Lasch, Arup, Philippe Block, Gramazio Kohler Architects, Ibañez Kim, Achim Menges, Caitlin Mueller, Jose Sanchez, Athina Papadopoulou and Jared Laucks, and Skylar Tibbits.

About the Guest-Editor 05
Skylar Tibbits

Introduction From Automated to Autonomous Assembly 06
Skylar Tibits

Combinatorial Commons

Social Remixing in a Sharing Economy 16
Jose Sanchez

How Specific Interactions Drive the Complex Organisation of Building Blocks 22
Zorana Zeravcic

From Self-Assembly to Evolutionary Structures 28
Athina Papadopoulou, Jared Laucks and Skylar Tibbits

The Vanishing Actor

How to Let Things Happen: The Art of Order Without Orders 38
Robin Meier and Bastien Gallet

Complex Design by Simple Robots

A Collective Embodied Intelligence Approach to Construction 44
Kirstin Petersen and Radhika Nagpal

Crowd-Driven Pattern Formation

Computational Strategies for Large-Scale Design and Assembly 50
Marcelo Coelho and Tovi Grossman

The Immersive

Stagecraft to Urbanism 60
Simon Kim and Mariana Ibañez

Baskets and Architecture

Ritualisitic Making and Collective Design 66
Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch

Aleatory Construction Based on Jamming

Stability Through Self-Confinement 74
Kieran Murphy, Leah Roth, Dan Peterman and Heinrich Jaeger

Granular Jamming of Loadbearing and Reversible Structures

Rock Print and Rock Wall 82
Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindström, Ammar Mirjan, Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, Schendy Kernizan, Björn Sparrman, Jared Laucks and Skylar Tibbits

Granular Construction

Designed Particles for Macro-Scale Architectural Structures 88
Karola Dierichs and Achim Menges

Distributed Structures

Digital Tools for Collective Design 94
Caitlin Mueller

Compressive Assemblies

Bottom-Up Performance for a New Form of Construction 104
Philippe Block, Matthias Rippmann and Tom Van Mele

Disarmed Strategies

New Machines and Techniques for an Era of Computational Contextualism in Architecture 110
Hannes Mayer, Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler


An Autonomously Crafted Built Environment 120
Alvise Simondetti, Chris Luebkeman and Gereon Uerz


Autonomous Assembly as the Fourth Approach to Generic Construction 128
Andong Lu

Contributors 134