Architecture and construction have always been quietly at the forefront of technological and material trends. It’s no wonder that at a well-known technical college like the ETH Zurich, you’re working on a project for a new approach using AI and robots. Experiments conducted there to automate design and construction show how homes and offices will be built in 10 years.
The project creates an “aerial garden” inspired by the legendary architecture of the ancient city of Babylon, a giant planter sculpture (by the way, the famous “Ishtar Gate” of the Babylonian ruins. The excavated and robbed Robert Coldway is my ancestor).
Beginning in 2019, “Semiramis” (named after the legendary Babylonian Queen) is a collaboration between human and AI designers. The overall idea, of course, came from the creative minds of the project’s creators, professors of architecture, Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler. However, the design was created by inputting basic requirements such as size, watering needs, and style of construction into computer models and machine learning algorithms.
For example, during the design process, the team may fine-tune the position of the large “pods” that make up this 20-meter-long building, or change the layout of the panels that make up the surface. Then, the software they created immediately adjusts the overall position and the shape of other panels according to the change, and confirms that it can safely withstand its own weight.
Of course, the building industry already has a lot of automated processes in place, but this project is an attempt to push the boundaries of what has been done in terms of leaving the final control to AI. The most important thing is not to let AI do architectural spell checking so that the whole thing doesn’t collapse, but to realize true collaboration between humans and AI.
“Computer models allow us to reverse the traditional design process and explore the full scope of the project’s design. As a result, we’ve never seen it before, often astonishing. The shape is born, “Koehler said in an article in the ETH Zurich News.
When the final design is reached, the construction will be done by another mixed team of humans and automation. The four robot arms work in unison to secure multiple heavy parts (there are dozens of parts in a pod) and apply resin for humans to bond them together. This technique goes one step further than the method used by the same team a few years ago to use the robot as an automated assistant.
Related article: Let’s build a house with a carpenter robot
Semiramis will be produced at this workshop and then eventually shipped one by one to Tech Cluster Zug. It should be fully assembled in the spring of 2022 and ready to accept soil and seeds, so be sure to stop by when you’re nearby.
Image credit: ETH Zurich
[To the original text]
(Sentence: Devin Coldewey, Translation: Hirokazu Kusakabe)