Rock Print, Chicago, 2015; Architectural installation at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial | © Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Aerial Construction, ETH Zurich, 2013-2015; ETH Research Grant Project | © Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
The lecture “The Robotic Touch – How Robots Change Architecture” introduces a new way of thinking about and materialising architecture. It brings forward the key implications of robotic fabrication in architecture and presents a selection of projects that have originated over a decade of research at ETH Zurich, ranging from the non-standard brick façade of the Gantenbein Vineyard to the recent Rock Print installation at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Within this scope, the lecture proposes a digital building culture to unfold its contemporary and most apt constructive expression through the amalgamation of digital logic and novel machinic processes.
Prof. Matthias Kohler (left) and Prof. Fabio Gramazio (right) | © Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Fabio Gramazio is an architect with multi-disciplinary interests ranging from computational design and robotic fabrication to material innovation. In 2000, he founded the architecture practice Gramazio & Kohler in conjunction with his partner Matthias Kohler, where numerous award-wining designs have been realised. Current projects include the design of the Empa NEST research platform, a future living and working laboratory for sustainable building construction. As professors, Gramazio and Kohler developed the first architectural robotic laboratory at ETH Zurich (Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, Switzerland). The ensuing research has been highly influential in the field of digital architecture, setting precedence and initiating a new research field focusing on the integration of industrial robots in architectural design and construction.
They have contributed to numerous exhibitions around the world, such as the 2008 Architectural Biennial in Venice, the Storefront Gallery for Art and Architecture in New York in 2009, Flight Assembled Architecture at the FRAC Centre Orléans in 2011, and Rock Print at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The recent research is outlined and theoretically framed in the book The Robotic Touch: How Robots Change Architecture.