Building construction is often an endeavor that takes a long time and costs a lot of money. Thus, advancements are being made that are changing the very nature of the way construction occurs. You see, by using robots to build houses, many benefits can be gained — particularly when those homes are built using the “Contour Crafting” method. This method is where robots build homes layer by layer. Walls can be comprised of exotic shapes without the extra cost. And all of this becomes possible by scaling up 3D printing to the scale of buildings. (These are just a few of the highlights from the lecture shown below.)
To give you a better idea of what I am describing to you above, please watch the following video of a TED talk which shows Behrokh Khoshnevis presenting the concept. He is a professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and is the Director of Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Southern California.
This method of construction brings with it many advantages — some of which hold implications for experience architectural design. As building geometries become easier to configure and manipulate (for less cost) our building landscape will begin to look quite different. Ironically, it is robotics that can give architecture a more organic feel — and with this comes the possibility for architecture to take on a broader range of aesthetics, and possibly, functions.
The notion of changing an architectural design, by simply making changes to the architecture program that constructs the design is intriguing. This can provide for greater variety of architectural form, and can be used to better personalize designs for their occupants. Architects, of course, will need to design into the program that constructs such “Contour Crafted” architecture — perhaps liberating some of the limitations that constrain architects today.
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