Design of Robotic Fabricated High Rises

Integrating Robotic Fabrication in a Design Studio
  • Michael BudigEmail author
  • Willi Viktor Lauer
  • Raffael Petrovic
  • Jason Lim


Despite a growing interest in robotic fabrication in academic research, its impact on the design of large-scale architectural typologies has not yet been explored. At the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore robotic fabrication was integrated in a design research studio to produce 1:50 scale models of mixed-use high-rise typologies. Its methodology aimed for the reconsideration of the traditional architectural model by directly linking the digital design process with physical manufacturing processes and tools. As such, it established a strong correlation between computational tools, material systems and robotic fabrication strategies. Since high-rises are strongly rooted in the industrialization of building, with repetitive elements stacked along the vertical axis, they represent an interesting architectural typology to be challenged by a new fabrication paradigm (Gramazio and Kohler 2008: Digital materiality in architecture. Lars Müller Publishers, Baden). This chapter presents customized robotic fabrication processes and tools that were developed in the 2 year long design research studio.


Robotic fabrication High-rise Architectural model Design studio Computation Singapore 



This work is part of a larger research project at FCL and demanded support from Prof Fabio Gramazio and Prof Matthias Kohler, senior researchers Jan Willmann, Silke Langenberg, and co-researchers Norman Hack and Selen Ercan. It was established at the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC), co-funded by the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) and ETH Zurich.

We would like to thank our students for their great efforts, whose projects are illustrated here: Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindstroem, Pun Hon Chiang, Sebastian Ernst, Kai Qui Foong, Yuhang He, Pascal Genhart, David Jenny, Patrick Goldener, Lijing Kan, Sylvius Kramer, Ping Fuan Lee, Sven Rickhoff, Jean-Marc Stadelmann, Silvan Strohbach, Michael Stünzi, Martin Tessarz, Florence Thonney, Alvaro Valcarce, Fabienne Waldburger, Andre Wong and Tobias Wullschleger. The studio 2013 was conducted under both the ETH Zurich and the National University of Singapore (NUS) curricula. Special thanks go to our academic partners at NUS, Chye Kiang Heng, Yunn Chii Wong, Shinya Okuda and Patrick Janssen.


  1. Brayer M-A (2013) Flight assembled architecture: Gramazio & Kohler and Raffaello D’Andrea. HYX, OrléansGoogle Scholar
  2. Budig M, Lim J, Petrovic R (2014) Integrating robotic fabrication in the design process in architectural design, May/June 2014 No 229. Wiley and Sons, London, pp 22–41 Google Scholar
  3. Cousineau L, Miura N (1998) Construction robots: the search for new building technology in Japan. ASCE Publications, VAGoogle Scholar
  4. Gramazio F, Kohler M (2008) Digital materiality in architecture. Lars Müller Publishers, BadenGoogle Scholar
  5. Gramazio F, Kohler M (eds) (2014) Made by robots: challenging architecture at a larger scale. Architectural Design, May/June 2014 No 229. Wiley and Sons, London Google Scholar
  6. Hack N, Lauer W, Langenberg S, Gramazio F, Kohler M (2013) Overcoming repetition: robotic fabrication processes at large scale. Int J Architect Comput (IJAC) 11(3):286–299 Google Scholar
  7. Kripper R, Barthel R, Petzold F (1989) Wendepunkte Im Bauen: von der seriellen zur digitalen architektur (German Edition). Dresden, Germany Google Scholar
  8. Lim J, Gramazio F, Kohler M (2013) A software environment for designing through robotic fabrication. In: Proceedings of the CAADRIA conference, National University of Singapore, pp 45–54Google Scholar
  9. Menges A, Ahlquist S (2011) Computational design thinking: computation design thinking (AD Reader), 1st edn. Wiley, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Monkman G, Hesse S, Steinmann R, Schunk H (2007) Robot Grippers. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Darmstadt Google Scholar
  11. Reiser J, Umemoto N (2006) Atlas of novel tectonics. Princeton Architectural Press, New York Google Scholar
  12. Sheil B (2005) Transgression from drawing to making. Architectural Research Quarterly, vol 9, no, 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 20–32Google Scholar
  13. Willmann J, Gramazio F, Kohler M (2014) The robotic touch – How robots change architecture. Park Books, Zurich Google Scholar
  14. Willmann J, Gramazio F, Kohler M, Langenberg S (2012) Digital by material. In: Brell-Cokcan S, Braumann J (eds), ROB|ARCH Robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design. Springer-Verlag, Vienna, pp 12–27 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Budig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Willi Viktor Lauer
    • 1
  • Raffael Petrovic
    • 1
  • Jason Lim
    • 1
  1. 1.Module for Architecture and Digital Fabrication, Future Cities LaboratorySingapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC)SingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations