Integrated Design and Robotized Prototyping of Abeille’s Vaults

  • Thibault SchwartzEmail author
  • Lucia Mondardini


This chapter discusses a continuous process allowing the design, simulation, and automation of the robotic fabrication of stereotomic vaults obtained by adapting the stone elements bond typical of a flat vault designed in 1699 by the French engineer Joseph Abeille to a spherical surface. This process is based on the joint use of Wolfram Mathematica for the geometric modelling, and Grasshopper in combination with the HAL Robot Programming and Control plug-in for the feasibility analysis, the automated generation of toolpaths, the simulation of the movements of the robot, the dynamic calibration of the end-effector, and the programming of the machining tasks.


Robotics Nexorade Reciprocal structures Integrated production Real-time 


  1. Baverel O et al (2010) Nexorades. Int J Space Struct 15:155–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brocato M, Mondardini L (2010) Geometric methods and computational mechanics for the design of stone domes based on abeille’s bond in advances in architectural geometry. Springer, Vienna, pp 149–162Google Scholar
  3. Brocato M, Mondardini L (2011) A new type of stone dome based on abeille’s bond. Int J Solids Struct 49:1786–1801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fallacara G (2006) Digital stereotomy and topological transformations: reasoning about shape building. In: Dunkeld M (ed) Proceedings of second international congress construction history, Queen’s College Cambridge, Cambridge, pp 1075–1092Google Scholar
  5. McGee W, Ferringa J, Sondergaard A (2012) Processes for an architecture of volume: robotic wire cutting. In: Rob|Arch robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, Springer Vienna, pp 62–71Google Scholar
  6. Mondardini L (2010–2014) Contribution to the development of stone structures: modelling, optimization and design tools. In: CIFRE 1506/2010, SNBR & ANRT, France Google Scholar
  7. Rippmann M, Block P (2011) Digital stereotomy: voussoir geometry for freeform masonry-like vaults informed by structural and fabrication constraints. In: Proceedings of the IABSE-IASS symposium taller, longer, lighter, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Schwartz T (2012) HAL: extension of a visual programming language to support teaching and research on robotics applied to construction. In: Rob|Arch robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, Springer, Vienna, pp 92–101Google Scholar
  9. Tamborero L (2012) Coupole appareillée à la manière d’Abeille. Al Wajba Spa and Fitness, Doha, QatarGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Bartlett School of ArchitectureLondonUK
  2. 2.ENSA Paris-Malaquais, Laboratoire GSAParisFrance

Personalised recommendations