behavioral fabrication

behavioral fabrication

A Design and Fabrication Workflow for Non-Standardized Wood Elements from Recycling.

In collaboration with Valentina Soana

This project is based on the assumption that in the course of industrialization and mass production, architects, engineers as well as the building industry in general shifted their mindsets towards an ideal of maximum efficiency through standardization. Minimizing the usage of non-standardized or customized parts while maximizing the usage of standardized building components became a seemingly inevitable driver in the process of thinking, planning and realizing architecture.

Nowadays, entirely custom building components would due its economical effort always want to be avoided while the common level of customizing parts is narrowed down to a customizing-standardized-parts logic, that leads to a high amount of leftover material and therefore waste. On the other hand, buildings and structures became more generic and anonymous and therefore lost its uniqueness and individuality that its users could identify with. In the context of intelligent material recycling, scanning and sorting processes, computational material-databases and design tools as well as adaptive cyber-physical fabrication processes, current economical and intellectual limitations could be left behind and a new paradigm of non-standardized architecture could be imagined.

In this context, it is crucial to establish a process capable of dealing with the inherent complexity and diversity. The aim of this project is to develop an overall design and fabrication process where informations are lively exchanged and the process is constantly updated. This cyber-physical fabrication process is informed by material properties as well as by design intentions. A feedback loop between the design tool and the manufacturing setup, enables an informed process where multiple entities seamlessly collaborate on the development of the final product.

In order to proof and communicate the developed fabrication process, we setup a simple scenario to tackle the workflow’s essential parts. The setup consists of a material storage containing irregular wood pieces, a mobile robot that dispatches the material to the fabrication area, a positioning-table for the current wood piece, a camera for detecting the exact position of the wood piece on the table and a pen mounted to a stationary robot. The pen serves as a substitute for the milling spindle, which would have required higher safety measures.
First, the mobile robot delivers a wood piece from the material storage to the fabrication area. Once it arrived there, a person positions the wood piece anywhere on the positioning table. Based on the exact position of the wood piece, which is detected by the camera, the robot tool path gets updated and executed. Once the ‘milling’ process finished, a person puts the processed piece onto the mobile robot, which delivers it to the next station or directly to the site where assembly happens.

ITECH Master Studio   |   Behavioral Fabrication Seminar, 2017   |   Institue for Computational Design and Construction (ICD, Prof. Achim Menges)   |   Tutors: Lauren Vasey, Maria Yablonina, Long Ngyuen