The great advances in architectural design have been optimized by new technologies, professionals have designed structures with difficult shapes that could not be created with only human labor, in fact need the help of advanced robotic systems.
An excellent example of new architecture as a work of art is that implemented by Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler where a robot is building a brick wall in central New York. The project was called “Pike Loop”. It had the participation of Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich and, in conjunction with the New York Department of Transportation Urban Art Program.
This 22m long structure with a reach of 4.5 meters built with bricks where more than seven thousand organized were used to form an infinite loop that was woven along the pedestrian island.
In New York, brick is a concept that represents its urban art, the citizens of Manhattan followed in real time the KUKA industrial robot (ROB, as the robotic unit was called) on a portable platform, executing an innovative way of transforming conventional material in a complex structure. Using a computer and digitally program the parameters of the material to make 3D construction. The robot joins the bricks with a strong quick-drying glue, none of the bricks are exactly on top of the next one, creating a three-dimensional effect crossing each other, recreating a vibrant expression.
The Kuka robot was chosen for its precision, strength and speed, allowing it to manufacture highly complex architectural forms. This type of architectural, machining and three-dimensional printing processes seeks to be elaborated on a large scale and the best tool is a robotic arm exploiting all its capacity, which was the objective of Gramazio & Kohler applying new digital manufacturing techniques.
Pike Loop was one of the first architectural projects in the USA. Built with digital technology at a 1: 1 scale. It was built in the central shopping center on Pike Street between the street and east broadway division.
An architectural piece took 4 weeks due to its complexity, however a sculptural result was achieved for New York urban art.