Rock Print, an architectural installation by Gramazio Kohler Research at ETH Zurich in collaboration with the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, will be shown at this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial. The project is a unique installation made from “reversibly printed matter”.
Says ETH and MIT, the teams have proposed “the first architectural installation built from low-grade granular material and constructed by robotic machines. Conceived as an intriguing vertical object, the installation presents a radically new approach to The State of the Art of Architecture – the official title of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial – and brings forward a new category of random packed, potentially fully reusable, poly-dispersed jammed structures that can be automatically fabricated in non-standard shapes.”
“A specifically designed algorithm will guide a robotic arm in a three-dimensional ‘rock printing’ process. With the precision that only a robot can provide, it positioned a textile filament layer-bylayer around which loose granular material will form a distinctive shape. The self-aggregating capacity of this digitally crafted design configuration results in a large-scale architectural artefact that requires no additional support elements.”
“Going far beyond the manual assembly techniques of dry masonry, this endeavor presents a unique combination of state-of-the-art digital design and fabrication technology with building material science. It introduces a sustainable, economical, and structurally sound construction method that fundamentally challenges conventional architecture.”
“Following the robotic assembly, the installation will comprise a large-scale architectural artefact in its completed form, exhibiting distinct features, such as: full material reversibility and the respective reusability of the aggregated materials; structurally active interlocking, differentiated structural performance, while yielding high geometric flexibility and articulation. Visitors will be drawn to the impressive structural capacity of rocks in a formerly unseen and unexpected (digitally crafted) design configuration.”