Denmark-based 3XN Architects has unveiled their design for a new Robot Developers Hub in Odense, Denmark. Designed as the new home of Universal Robots (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), the 20,000 square-meter hub will offer specialised environments for robot research and development.
UR and MiR specialize in “cobots” - collaborative robots that share their workspaces with humans. With the significant growth of UR and MiR’s offices in recent years, the new hub will provide much-needed space, attracting employees to work in what is one of Europe’s leading robotic clusters. 3XN was commissioned to design the project due to “their ability to create buildings with a focus on innovative and creative environments”, a factor that was in tandem with UR and MiR’s mission to develop robots that promote collaborative automation.
The “Cobot Hub” – the term ‘Cobot’ a contraction of ‘collaborative’ and ‘robots’ – is made up of flexible modules adapted to the specialized needs of the two robotics companies. This modular approach is exemplified by cubic volumes which provide a strong architectural expression and a flexible framework, allowing the building to be scaled up or down according to future needs. Wood is used as a construction material, chosen especially for its quality as an aesthetically pleasing and living material suitable for the indoor climate, as it stores Carbon Dioxide throughout its lifespan. Additionally, making for a sustainable project, significant parts of the building’s structure and materials can be reshaped and reused.
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“We have worked closely with the users of the building since the beginning of the process, and we have conducted many interviews to outline what the new building needs to deliver. A lot of different elements had to come together. The new building will house two independent companies that need everything from traditional office space to workshops, laboratories, and creative robot ‘playrooms’, where the robots of the future are developed.” -- Audun Opdal, Architect and Senior Partner at 3XN.
The design of the hub is based on the idea of a campus which combines open office landscapes with common areas where employees can informally meet across the two organizations, creating light-filled spaces where exchanges of creativity, innovation, and knowledge can thrive. Furthermore, the low height of the building allows it to blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, and a shared courtyard forms the centerpiece of social life on the Cobot Hub campus. This shared courtyard allows for employees to meet across organizations, whilst the two companies maintain their own ‘borders’ inside the building. Construction for the Cobot Hub is slated for completion in 2023.
The forward-thinking firm’s use of wood as a material is also seen in their proposal for an extension at the Hotel Green Solution House in the Danish Island of Bornholm. Earmarked for completion in 2021, the extension will also contain reusable components, with the entire load-bearing structure made up of engineered timber.