The AA School of Architecture’s DRL Masters Program has developed a thesis project, entitled Growing Systems, which explores adaptable building systems using methods of robotic fabrication and generative special printing within the context of housing.
Centered on a new method of structural 3D vertical extrusion, the project combines the precision of prefabricated elements with the adaptability of on-site fabrication, in response to the flux and dynamism of cities. The method becomes a system of elasticity that can accommodate site parameters, as well as future adjustments.
Generally speaking, the new design method combines techniques of 3D vertical extrusion with the natural behavior of the material—a biodegradable plastic—to create novel geometries that are additionally sustainable, efficient, and aesthetic.
Through its adaptability, Growing Systems facilitates programmatic housing changes, for example, a house in need of expansion as a family grows. Such changes are possible due to the project’s phase-changing construction material, which, when heated, becomes sticky and can be connected to new constructions. Similarly, the plastic can be melted to remove an unnecessary portion of the building.
Furthermore, the plastic material has the advantage of being strong and flexible, while also lightweight.
The system can also negotiate at a larger scale maintaining its entropy – When two houses starting from different initial conditions change over time, one needing to grow while the other shrinks – an exchange of material can occur, balancing the system.
In the construction process, a robotic arm is utilized on-site, so as to quickly build with minimal disruption, including an elimination of the need for scaffolding, as well as an elimination of waste.
The robotic arm will be embedded with intelligence, being able to scan the environment and the printed geometry and provide feedback. It will also be equipped with a generative algorithm that will adjust the design real-time fully erasing the line between design and fabrication.
Project Team: Shajay Bhooshan Studio: Marta Bermejo, Ruxandra Matei, Vladislav Bek-Bulatov, Li Chen
News via The AA School of Architecture.