Digital Architecture Robotic LabThis advanced digital manufacturing robotic lab is designed for high-quality research, as well as developing commercial applications for architecture
The Digital Architectural Robotics Lab (DARLab) is a research platform in architectural education that advances experimentation and cross-discipline collaboration among students, industry partners and academic staff to expand the boundaries of architectural practice.
Take a tour of DARLab.
The newly renovated DARLab uses sophisticated industrial technology to perform architectural fabrication research. It is one of the few academic institutions around the world using robotic automation to perform both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes. The DARLab contains a Multi-function Robotic Platform for Architectural Applications (pictured); a robotic platform able to process different materials with custom equipment and tools. It consists of an industrial robotic arm in combination with quick-change plates. This is easily modified, allowing many different tasks to be configured.
The academic team working in the DARLab are qualified experts in a variety of disciplines including architecture, engineering and industrial robotics. This means they are well-placed to provide students with a holistic understanding of the capabilities of avant-garde technologies, as applied to architecture and design.
Research with implications
The DARLab is examining the changes in the requirements for architectural production that result from the introduction of digital manufacturing techniques. Research interest lies in combining data and material, and the resulting implications this has on architectural design. The possibility of directly fabricating building components designed on a computer expands not only the range of possibilities for construction, but, by the direct implementation of material and production logic into the design process, it creates a unique form of architectural expression and a new aesthetic. The main area of research focuses on additive digital fabrication techniques used for building standardised architectural components. The objective is to develop integration between new materials, and new tools to develop innovative construction fabrication processes.
The areas of expertise that researchers in the DARLab are drawing from include:
- Computational design and process innovation
- Advanced materials and constructive systems
- Robotic control and digital fabrication
- Integrated digital design processes
Digital fabrication has altered the architectural profession significantly in recent years and architects, engineers and artists all stand to benefit from industrial robots, like DARLab, that can be turned into intuitive design tools. For the construction industry, DARLab breaks typical constraints and solves common problems, for instance by implementing digital manufacturing within the design process itself.
Federico Rossi, Academic Lead
We can offer consultancy to match industry needs. This could include consultancy on 3D printing equipment, robotic milling, automation in building industry, 3D scanning, or customised training and development. Often, we collaborate with digital artists, engineers, architects and fabricators to implement digital fabrication processes.
- Hiteco: designers and manufacturers of high-tech machine components for machining wood, light alloys, plastic and composite materials.
- QDRobotics: a team of experts in engineering sciences. Their solutions offer a wide range of robotics plants applications and continuous software development.
- SCM Group: company world leader in the production of woodworking machinery and systems.
- HAL: a Grasshopper plugin for industrial robots programming supporting ABB, KUKA and Universal Robots machines. Allows to simulate, program, control and monitor robotic cells.
- KUKA: pioneer in robotics and automation technology, one of the leading manufacturers of robotic systems worldwide.
More information can be found at www.dar-lab.net