Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robot Builds Brick Wall In New York City

Date:
October 26, 2009
Source:
ETH Zurich
Summary:
A robot is currently building a looping brick wall right in the middle of New York City. Over a period of three weeks, passers-by can watch the "Pike Loop" installation in the making on a traffic island.

Light and shadows bring the digital structures to life. After twelve days of construction, the “Pike Loop” installation is already more than half finished.

A robot is currently building a looping brick wall right in the middle of New York. Over a period of three weeks, passers-by can watch the "Pike Loop" installation in the making on a traffic island. The digitally controlled construction of the sculpture was developed at ETH-Zurich's Professorship of Architecture and Digital Fabrication.

Brick is a dominant feature of New York's cityscape, and Pike Street is no exception: from October 5 -- 27, the citizens of Manhattan can follow in real time how an industrial robot uses innovative technology to transform the traditional material into a complex infinite loop -- the "Pike Loop".

Digital and material realities

The brick loop in New York is no ordinary wall. The two architects, Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, who both teach and research at ETH Zurich, have breathed a breath of fresh air into popular design patterns with their interdisciplinary approach: "Digital characteristics can enrich a material and thus influence its architectural expression and functionality," say the two assistant professors of architecture and digital fabrication, whose research team designed and implemented "Pike Loop".

Instead of the conventional straight brick wall, you can use shapes and construction principles that have been programmed into the computer and digitally transferred to the material to make a three-dimensional composition. "We marry the digital reality of the computer with the material reality of a building," say the two architects. They call this approach "digital materiality".

Robot in a box

Over 7,000 bricks are in Pike Street waiting to be stacked based on complex calculations -- not by bricklayers, but by a digitally controlled robot called R-O-B, which is kept in a freight container ready to be transported directly to a building site. As R-O-B has a range of 4.5 meters and the installation is to be 22 meters long in total, the robot moves along the construction site on a flat-bed trailer to enable it to work continuously on the construction of the wall.

The bricks are bonded together with quick-drying glue -- also by the industrial robot. The fact that none of the bricks lies exactly on top of the one below creates a three-dimensional effect. And as the wall rises from the ground here and there and crosses over itself at several points, the infinite loop gets a dynamic expression

More precise than by human hand

The installation in New York exemplifies how, by combining digital design and fabrication tools, the architects can now control the production process in every detail. The resulting buildings therefore exhibit shapes and structures that could never be created by hand -- not without an enormous amount of effort, at least. Consequently, the point of Gramazio and Kohler's research is not to put the bricklayer out of a job. Their latest installation is primarily supposed to be for the purposes of architectural research -- a test of the potential and limitations of this production technique with respect to a contemporary design culture, as they put it.

Gramazio and Kohler's research team already used R-O-B to build a oscillating wall at last year's Architecture Biennale in Venice. The wall, however, was erected in front of the exhibition hall and then transported into the premises. Thus, "Pike Loop" is the first installation of its kind to be constructed on its eventual exhibition site.

The initiator of the installation was the renowned New York gallery Storefront for Art and Architecture which is currently holding an exhibition entitled "Digital Materiality" from October 1 -- November 14 that contains selected projects from Gramazio & Kohler's teaching and research activities at ETH Zurich's Department of Architecture. The finished wall is to be inaugurated in the evening of October 27 and will remain on the traffic island until the end of the year.

Reference

Gramazio Fabio / Kohler Matthias: Digital Materiality in Architecture. Lars Mόller Publishers 2008. 112 pp., hardcover, 157 illustrations. English. CHF 59.90. ISBN 978-3-03778-122-7.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ETH Zurich. "Robot Builds Brick Wall In New York City." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026133016.htm>.
ETH Zurich. (2009, October 26). Robot Builds Brick Wall In New York City. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026133016.htm
ETH Zurich. "Robot Builds Brick Wall In New York City." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026133016.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — Google has announced a Sept. 15 event in India during which they're expected to reveal their Android One phones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins