For the Tech Cluster Zug, researchers from ETH Zurich are building a planted architectural sculpture together with Müller Illien landscape architects, Timbatec and other partners. The 22.5 meter high structure consists of five geometrically complex wooden shells and is currently being produced by robots at ETH.
For the Tech Cluster Zug, researchers from ETH architecture professors Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, together with with Müller Illien Landscape Architects, Timbatec and other partners. partners are building a planted architectural sculpture. The 22.5 meter high structure consists of five geometrically complex wooden shells, which - slightly offset from each other slightly offset from each other - are supported by eight slender steel columns.
Joint grouting without pressure
Four suspended robotic arms pick up the wooden panel assigned to them arms pick up the wooden panel assigned to them, perform a high-precision dance and then finally place the panels in the room according to the computer design. An algorithm calculates the movements of the robots in such a way that no collisions occur. collisions occur. Once the machines have placed their four panels are first temporarily joined together by craftsmen and craftswomen and then and then joined together with a TS3 casting resin. The cross laminated timber panels can thus be joined to each other on the face side by joint grouting without applying pressure. Timbatec developed this process in several research projects with the ETH Zurich and the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Today it is mainly used for the construction of Today, it is mainly used for the construction of floor slabs, but also enables structures such as Semiramis. Thus between 51 and 88 such wooden panels are joined together to form a wooden shell. are joined together.
In contrast to traditional wood construction, robotic manufacturing has has several advantages: On the one hand, robots relieve humans of the heavy lifting and exact and exact positioning, and secondly, the assembly process can dispense with expensive, resource-intensive substructures can be dispensed with in the assembly process.
A symbol of collaboration
Robotic prefabrication is currently running at full speed. The individual formwork segments are constantly being transferred to trucks in and the architectural sculpture will then be erected and finally installed in spring 2022. and finally planted. From summer 2022, it will be possible to to view the wooden structure from the ground and the buildings, and to take a look into the greened shells. The slender and tall structure will be lushly planted with large bushes and trees and will thus have a stately dead weight. At the same time, it represents a large surface of attack for the wind . Thanks to the advantageous round shape of the shells, the wind is guided around the structure. around the construction. Nevertheless, the stiffening of the structure with the eight slender slender columns is a challenge. The wind pressures on the shell were calculated with calculated with a fluid mechanical RWIND simulation from Dlubal Software, which simulates the flow around the structure in a wind tunnel. In addition resonance effects along and across the wind direction had to be taken into wind direction had to be taken into account in the calculations.
In the classic design process, architects try to combine the different the different requirements of a building or structure in the design and then adjust it and then adapt it until all of them are fulfilled as well as possible. are fulfilled as well as possible. Not so with Semiramis: a customized machine-learning algorithm, developed in collaboration with the Swiss Data Science Center, showed the researchers sophisticated design possibilities. to the researchers. The proposals differed in terms of the shapes of the shells and their spatial and their spatial arrangement in relation to each other, but they also showed how the on individual target variables, such as the irrigation of the trays. trays. "The computer model allows us to reverse the conventional design process and to explore the full range of design options for a project. project to be explored. This results in new, often surprising geometries." says Matthias Kohler, professor of architecture and digital fabrication at the ETH Zurich.
In the "Immersive Design Lab," an augmented reality laboratory on the Hönggerberg campus, the researchers were able to explore the designs in three dimensions and and work on them together in real time. A joint project with the Computational Robotics Lab at the ETH also enables them to the designs of the wooden shells: If the If, for example, the scientists move a single point within the geometry within the geometry of one of the shells, which are made up of around 70 wooden panels, the software the software adjusts the entire geometry. At the same time takes into account the relevant manufacturing parameters, such as the maximum possible weight of a panel and thus always generates the most efficient and most resilient configuration.
Source: ETH Zurich