Robotic-aided Concrete Casting

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Project Details

This project examines how mediated translations that embrace indeterminacy - from design to fabrication - can enhance material and tactile explorations. It investigates a dialogue between a digital environment that supports the design process, and fabrication processes that combine tools that are both precise (the robot) and indeterminate (casting/forming devices) in their essential functions.

We present a research inquiry into this issue by providing a reflective account of a robotics-aided framework for the fabrication of inexact geometries using reconfigurable pin tools (RPT). These tools, with their inherent indeterminacy and variability, were used as a base mold for casting blocks in concrete and plaster.

The central thesis of this paper is that a non-linear fabrication process - one imbued with variability rather than deterministically controlled for formulaic production/outcome - becomes a potent generator of novel forms. By focusing on process, rather than on the product of design, designers can subvert the geometrical control inherent in a digital-material output, thus favoring discovery over order and material sensitivity over determinacy - essential qualities in progressive architecture practice.

  • Publications:

    Vazquez, E., & Shaffer, M. Bring in the Noise: A robotic-aided framework for the indirect shape translation and molding. In Kepczynska-Walczak, A, Bialkowski, S (eds.), Computing for a better tomorrow - Proceedings of the 36th eCAADe Conference - Volume 1, Lodz University of Technology, Lodz, Poland, 19-21 September 2018, pp. 827-834

  • People: Elena Vazquez, Marcus Shaffer