Archi-Union Architects uses robots to construct brick façade
More and more things in life are automatically made, so why not use robots to construct buildings as well? The Chinese studio Archi-Union Architects did just that, designing a ‘bulging’ façade that would be nearly impossible to build by hand. The bricks they used are recycled from the previous building in that location, combining traditional materials with modern manufacture.
The building Archi-Union constructed is a new exhibition space, run by the Chi She collective that provides space for art exhibitions and events for the neighbourhood of West Bund in Shanghai.
The grey-green bricks used for the façade were salvaged for the original building and are constructed onsite with the help of a mechanical arm. The robot was able to place the bricks with a precision that is nearly impossible to do by hand. Instead of constructing a wall straight up, the architects chose a more fluid form. On the sides of the entrance, the wall is slightly concave, but above it, it bulges outward. This complex form was generated using computer software, which was then used to programme the robots. Above the three-dimensional section of the façade, the brickwork is laid with a randomly preformed pattern.
The roof, which is built with lightweight and efficient tensioning string wood, is formed in a ridged timber structure. Lighting hangs from the ceiling from steel cables.
Archi-Union Architects is not the first to incorporate robots in constructing buildings. The Swiss company Gramazio & Kohler Research also used robotic arms and even drones in the building of structures.