There are currently 1,418 pop-up stores in London alone, which are temporary buildings used for events, shopping, small businesses and other purposes. a figure that, like cost and waste cofactors, is constantly increasing. Seventy percent of the city’s total garbage is generated by construction-related sources.
With existing methods, an equal amount of garbage is disposed of in landfills. The London Municipality’s plan aims to reduce heavy landfills to less than half (20% overall) of current levels by 2020, while increasing recycling across the city by 14%.
Given the enormous contribution of architecture (both temporary and permanent) to London’s environmental effect, a new technique must be devised. ‘Osteobotics’, a small team from the design research laboratory of the AA school of architecture, In their study, low melting point polymers (biodegradable polycaprolactone polymer) and robotics are used to extrude structures. Due to its monomaterial, self-supporting and jointless characteristics, the system can be implemented as a mobile unit for on-site fabrication, and all extrusions can be effectively remelted and produced indefinitely.
The qualities of the material selected for the project are the starting point of this new research on the architectural possibilities of robots. Polycaprolactone has a low melting point of about 60 degrees Celsius. The structure of the material degrades to a soft, sticky, caramel-like consistency at this temperature, allowing the polyester to be stretched and subsequently set with a freeze spray.
Osteobotics’ approach is to stretch a triangular deposition of material between tetrahedral nodes using a robotic arm, a shape that was found after several tests with various patterns, nodes, and heights. Another robotic arm handles the icy spray as the first one spreads.
As a result, and to make construction easier and faster, the pavilions are built with pre-fabricated parts, requiring only a heat gun to join the meeting surfaces on site. When the units cool down, they form a single structural procedure. It is feasible to produce large spans and large expanses using this technology and the low weight of the material.
The architectural feasibility and useful life of these pavilions are still under study. However, hosteobotics could be used in the near future for practical reasons.