• Robofoam


    The Bartlett, UCL
    critics: Alisa ANDRASEK, Daghan CAM, Maj PLEMENITAS, & David ANDREEN.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Elina CHRISTOU, Jan DIERCKX, Rodrigo NOVELO PASTRANA, & Nikola PAPIC: RoboFoam looks at the increasingly expanding category of foam-based materials and engaged with ubiquitous expandable foam which is characterised by a high degree of non-linearity.

    The capacities of this material were extended by the introduction of the extreme precision of algorithmic design and robotic production. Multi-agent systems and computational physics simulations were employed and woven into a design space. Aesthetic, thermal and structural capacities are mined from the interplay of noise and accuracy. The project deals with the tension between the extreme control of the robotic machine and the noisy and unpredictable behaviour of the material.

    The project examines the evolvement of the uncertainty in the design process to result in an integrated and resilient structure that emerges from local conditions and possesses the ability to create global patterns and emerging forms. The project synthesis is developed through a constant feedback loop between the algorithmic design, the material research and the fabrication process where each one informs the other during the process.

    The result is a dynamic and volatile system that negotiates between the high articulation of the material behaviour and the inconsistent manipulation of structural formation. In order to generate a high-resolution heterogeneous structure the design process initiated with introducing specific aspects of performance, aesthetics and material behaviour on space formation studies. The system works simultaneously at macro and micro scale, articulating the high resolution of materiality and enables an evolving resilient fabric of architecture which generates new synthetic landscapes.*

    * “Robofoam” was awarded with the “Golden Ear “price and the “Peter Cook Price” at the Bartlett for outstanding work in M.Arch Graduate Architectural Design, 2012–2013.

    sP: What or who influenced your project:
    EC, JD, RNP, & NP:The unpredictable behaviour of foam based materials, the algorithmic design via computational physics simulation, and the robotic constructability.

    sP: What were you reading/listening/watching while developing this project?
    EC, JD, RNP, & NP: Reading: Roland Snooks, “Volatile Formation”; Steven Johnson, Emergence; Gilles Deleuze, “The Smooth and the Striated”; and Sanford Kwinter, “Soft Systems.”

    sP: Whose work in currently on your radar?
    EC, JD, RNP, & NP: Alisa Andrasek, Michael Hansmeyer, Roland Snooks, Daniel Widrig, Marc Fornes, Ezio Blasetti, Iris van Herpen, and Isaie Bloch.

    Additional credits and links:
    We would like to thank our tutors Alisa Andrasek, Daghan Cam, Maj Plemenitas and David Andreen for their constant help and support. And, Thibault Schwartz who provided the license and experience for his Robot interface plug-in HAL.

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    • Bored Says:

      No explanation of how work dealt with unpredictability (which is interesting) but rather just some long thesaurus driven sentences ultimately saying very little. WHATS THE POINT? High-resolution heterogeneous structure sounds like messy accumulation of foam to me! Show us some architecture?