In the next decade or so, the widespread adoption of robotics is set to transform the construction industry: building techniques will become increasingly automated both on- and off-site, dispensing with manual labour and enabling greater cost and operational efficiencies. What unique opportunities, however, does robotics afford beyond operational effectiveness explicitly for the practice of architecture? What is the potential for the serial production of non-standard elements as well as for varied construction processes? In order to scale up and advance the application of robotics, for both prefabrication and on-site construction, there needs to be an understanding of the different capabilities, and these should be considered right from the start of the design and planning process. This issue of AD showcases the findings of the Architecture and Digital Fabrication research module at the ETH Zurich Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, directed by Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, which explores the possibilities of robotic construction processes for architecture and their large-scale application to the design and construction of high-rise buildings. Together with other contributors, such as Philippe Morel, Neri Oxman, François Roche and Antoine Picon, they also look at the far-reaching transformations starting to occur within automated fabrication: in terms of liberation of labour, entrepreneurship, the changing shape of building sites, in-situ fabrication and, most significantly, design.
1. EDITORIALHelen Castle2. ABOUT THE GUEST-EDITORSFabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler3.SPOTLIGHTVisual highlights of the issue4.INTRODUCTION5.Authoring Robotic ProcessesFabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler and Jan Willmann6. Integrating Robotic Fabrication in the Design ProcessMichael Budig, Jason Lim and Raffael Petrovic7. Mesh-Mould: Robotically Fabricated Spatial Meshes as Reinforced Concrete FormworkNorman Hack and Willi Viktor Lauer8.Robots and Architecture: Experiments, Fiction, EpistemologyAntoine Picon9. Entrepreneurship in Architectural Robotics: The Simultaneity of Craft, Economics and DesignJelle Feringa10. Odico Formwork RoboticsAsbjørn Søndergaard11. RoboFold and Robots.IOGregory Epps12. MachineousAndreas Froech13.ROB TechnologiesTobias Bonwetsch and Ralph Bärtschi14. GREYSHEDRyan Luke Johns15.Computation or RevolutionPhilippe Morel16.Changing Building Sites: Industrialisation and Automation of the Building ProcessThomas Bock and Silke Langenberg17. In-Situ Fabrication: Mobile Robotic Units on Construction SitesVolker Helm18. Towards Robotic Swarm PrintingNeri Oxman, Jorge Duro-Royo, Steven Keating, Ben Peters, Elizabeth Tsai19. Machines for Rent: Experiments by New-TerritoriesFrançois Roche and Camille Lacadée20.COUNTERPOINTCrisis! What Crisis? Retooling for Mass Markets in the 21st CenturyTom Verebes21. CONTRIBUTORS