University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
critics: Matias del CAMPO & Adam FURE
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
David de CÉSPEDES, ZIULIANG Guo, Justin TINGUE, & Andrew WOLKING: Construction sites within the vertical territory of recursion are unrecognizable; they are uninhabited to the naive eye, at least. The near silent efficiency of thermo-depositers moving in choreographed precision construct new spaces in perpetuity; each level indifferent to the last. The sudden appearance of the vertical territories suggests life beyond their geologic timelessness.
Despite its inconspicuousness, the construction process is very much active. A tandem of robotic arms are continuously performing a pair of recursive tasks. The thermo-depositer has simplified the formerly complex and labor-intensive task of deposition based construction. It constructs the formwork, or apparatus as it is now called, onto which is subsequently performs the deposition. The position of that apparatus, however, is under the authority of the robotic eye. The robotic eye is an opportunist, it looks at what the thermo-depositer has constructed and finds the best way to sustain this vertical aggregation. These machines, as complex as they appear, conduct surprisingly rudimentary tasks. Each has but a few tasks that it knows how to perform, just like any other machine. The architect, so to speak, of the vertical territory is the humble programmer who has given these rules to the machines. Using these rules, the robot automatons infinitely evolve the behavior of the plastic material they’ve learned to use as sole building material.
Techniques of deposition usually rely on an external support apparatus; they are infinitely moldable, yet unable to hold a form on their own. Robotic thermo-deposition, conversely, serves as its own apparatus. It makes the transition from infinitely moldable to fully structural in an instant. Aggregations of stretched deposits create the apparatus, while continuous deposition utilizes this formwork to create space, while solidifying the entire system. The system is adaptive, after each cycle of deposition a robotically controlled lens captures and analyzes the recently deposited aggregation, and determines the most appropriate locations to serves as the datum points for the next aggregation. Through the recursive relationship between the depositing robot and the analysis robot, an evolutionary process is set into motion. Simple rules associated with the tasks of each robot allow for maximum differentiation within the system, derived from the specific properties of the plastic in each discrete moment of deposition. As the system aggregates continuously shifting gradients of space occur resulting in a vertical territory.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
DC, XG, JT, & AW: Other than watching lots of robot porn, the technology available at Taubman College definitely allowed us to theorize through making, and gain a better understanding of both behavior and deposition of the material. Matias and Adam were definitely big influences in keeping the project focused.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
AW: New Geographies 3: Urbanisms of Color, Sylvia Lavin, always BLDGBLOG.
DD: John Hejduk, James J. Kay, Pruned, and mammoth . . . the blogosphere is where it’s at.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
DC, XG, JT, & AW: Lois Swirnoff, Stan Allen, Smout Allen, Lebbeus Woods, and, more locally, Sean Alqhuist and Wes McGee.