• androidKRAFT

    muncie INDIANA

    Second Place — $800

    Ball State University

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    james DeCHANT: androidKRAFT is an exploration of the implementation of humanoid robotics in architecture and construction. Integrating computer methodologies and the design and fabrication process, the addition of humanoid robots allows for precise construction, boundless mobility, unlimited memory/processing capabilities, and superb strength. Humanoid robots will not replace humans in the architecture and construction field, but will instead act as an extension of humans and tools.

    Autonomous fabrication machines are the surge in architecture and design—these machines will help to automate design and construction and in doing so will instill a process in the architectural expression of the built form. The architecture of the Robot Workshop attempts to blur the boundaries between architecture and machine. Not only is the building and program designed around roboticists and robots, but also humanoid robots assemble the building itself. Within the workshop people are able to learn about robots and work on their robots in addition to interact with autonomous humanoid robots that evolve and adapt the building as users inhabit it. Utilizing various aspects of humanoid robots (visual processing, mobility, data storage, processing), the Robot Workshop encompasses a complex assembly process that fuses the program with the skin in addition to developing a paradigm shift in the way that we think about architecture, construction, and robots.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    jD: Robots in architecture, Humanoid robotics, CNC, Autonomy, Machine vision, Conversations with Mike Silver, Andrea Swartz, Josh Vermillion, Mahesh Daas, and Gordon Heck.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    jD: Ratatat, Swedish House Mafia, Ulrich Schnauss, Rhian Sheehan.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    jD: Bjarke Ingels Group, Morphosis, Gramazio & Kohler.

    Additional credits and links:
    Process and videos can be viewed at

    Jury Comments:

    carla LEITAO — The project suggests that a perpetual construction machine could be notoriously circumventing the in-house inventors, persistently drawing envelopes around their possible connections.

    michael SVIVOS — The blurring of the facade here is interesting and I do appreciate the energetic approach to explaining the facade, but I wish the blurriness of the facade was somehow integral  to the nature of the programming.

    skylar TIBBITS — This project had an exciting conceptual proposal that thought outside of traditional fabrication and robotic scenarios of robotic-arm fabrication or large-scale, gantry-style, fabrication/printing technologies for buildings. Distributed and intelligently communicating agents offer a scale-able (not yet realizable) opportunity for architectural construction. We are inherently given MANY components in construction and have LARGE structures and LOW budgets – i.e. these enforce that we need scale-able scenarios with many active memerbs at low cost that are reliable and robust. The proposed technologies wouldn’t appear to be significantly robust (at least with current technologies) or relatively low cost – but the scaleable and distributed model is exciting! I would critique the lack of development in terms of actually how these autonomous bots would behave or work together, or what the resultant architectural/design solutions may be possible with these technologies, however the proposal is certainly forward thinking.

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    • Debbie Heck, MD Says:

      I’m not an architect, computer scientist, or mathematician but the mom of a team member who had long sought something which utilized both his interests in complex math and love of computer programming. Working with people who were such professionals with a unique goal was right where he belonged. I’ve never seen him happier. As this was a “groundbreaking opportunity” for him, I hope the endpoint of this project fulfills its goal: to advance the work of architects in a way they may compare to the introduction of computers in drafting as it saved hours in the design and redesign processes. The team is to be commended for their hard work. I’ve personally enjoyed hearing of it on the sidelines.