The Robots Are Leaving the Cage. Imagining the Future of Construction
Author: Sara Codarini
Affiliation: Lawrence Technological University
Architecture today is challenged by technology advancements and the spread of new tools such as robots, which are mediators between digital and physical. This paper aims to outline future trends that will introduce substantial changes in the construction sector and architecture technology. In support of the topic, representative examples of ongoing experimentations are provided. They are relevant to understand the potentials of tools and foreseeable applications to update the building culture. The introduction of new instruments and procedures might afect building methodologies and the relationship between upstream and downstream design workfows. This relationship is an important aspect because upstream strategies inform downstream processes and vice versa. Also, advanced construction tools enrich the creative phase by providing an opportunity for innovative data integration. The use of computational design, digital fabrication, robotics, and cobotics allows for innovating the building sector by promoting a method based on the customization of forms to be operated onsite. In this scenario, robots play the role of compressing the distance between design and production. Current trends open hypothetical potential for the future of construction: there is a chance for the perfect storm to overwhelm the industry shortly, in compliance with The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation will result in the automation of every task that can be automated, accepting that robots want to “leave the cage,” to be embedded in material workfows within hybrid human-machine workspaces. It is expected that architecture, which usually absorbs innovation from other sectors through technological transfer, will become an early adopter of new systems and technologies, always focusing on the design quality at all scales.
Abernathy, W. J., Clark, K. B., & Kantrow, A. M. (1983). Industrial renaissance: Producing a competitive future for America.New York, NY: Basic Books.
Balaguer, C. (2000). Open issues and future possibilities in the EU construction automation. In Proceedings of the IAARC International Symposium on Robotics and Automation, Taipei, Taiwan.
Blondeau, E. N., & Du Clairbois, H. S. V. (1783). Encyclopédie méthodique, marine (Vol. 160). Lille, FR: Chez PanckouckePublishing.
Bock, T., & Langenberg, S. (2014). Changing building sites: Industrialisation and automation of the building process. Architectural Design, 84(3), 88-99.
Briggs, M. S. (1925). A short history of the building crafts. Oxford, UK: The Clarendon Press. Cache, B. (1998). Objectile: poursuite de la philosophie pard'autres moyens?. Rue Descartes, (20), 149- 157.
Carpo, M. (2011). The alphabet and the algorithm. Cambridge, MA: Mit Press.
Carpo, M. (Ed.). (2013). The digital turn in architecture 1992-2012. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Carpo, M. (2017). The second digital turn: design beyond intelligence. Cambridge, MA: Mit press.
Daugherty, P. R., & Wilson, H. J. (2018). Human+ machine: reimagining work in the age of AI. Brighton, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Deleuze, G. (1993). The fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Minneapolis, MS: University of Minnesota Press.
Edward, J., Wannasuphoprasit, C. W., & Peshkin, M. A. (1996).
Cobots: Robots for collaboration with human operators. In International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Atlanta.
Floridi, L. (2014). The fourth revolution: How the infosphere is reshaping human reality. Oxford, UK: OUP Oxford.
Gershenfeld, N. (2012). How to make almost anything: The digital fabrication revolution. Foreign Afairs, 91, 43.
Groak, S. (2002). The idea of building: thought and action in the design and production of buildings. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Harari, Y. N. (2018). 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. New York, NY: Random House.
Kolarevic, B. (Ed.). (2004). Architecture in the digital age: design and manufacturing. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Kohler, M., Gramazio, F., & Willmann, J. (2014). The robotic touch: how robots change architecture. Zurich, CH: Park Books.
Marble, S. (Ed.). (2012). Digital Workfows in Architecture: Design–Assembly–Industry. Basel, CH: Birkhauser.
Marez, C. (2016). Farm Worker Futurism: Speculative Technologies of Resistance. Minneapolis, MS: U of Minnesota Press.
Picon, A. (2014). Robots and architecture: Experiments, fction, epistemology. Architectural Design, 84(3), 54-59.
Pizzi, E. (2013). Toward the simplifcation of the design process chain aimed at optimizing the productive processes to improve innovation and competitiveness. TECHNE-Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, 55-62.
Schwab, K. (2017). The fourth industrial revolution. New York, NY: Crown Business.
Spadolini, P. (1981). Progettare nel processo edilizio. In Zaffagnini, M. (Ed.), Progettare nel processo edilizio: la realtà come scenario per l'edilizia residenziale. Bologa, IT: Edizioni Luigi Parma.
Stanley, D. (1987). Future perfect. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Publishing.
Zafagnini, M. (Ed.). (1981). Progettare nel processo edilizio: la realtà come scenario per l'edilizia residenziale. Bologna, IT:Edizioni Luigi Parma.