The Soft Office concept is developed in response to a rapidly changing context of workplace architecture where accommodating fluid programmatic requirements of occupants has become a key to a sustainable office space.
We invite the participants to establish a system for adaptive workplace reconfiguration through developing a semi-autonomous interior construction methodology where humans and task-specific robots collaborate, each performing complementary tasks towards a dynamic spatial goal. Rather than treating robotics as the means to manipulate and place architectural elements, we aim to embed robotic intelligence into the architectural elements themselves, critically engaging with future models of interaction between humans and architecture, mediated by machines.
The proposed system consists of lightweight vertical architectural elements that serve as a boundary for a wound enclosure as well as a locomotion infrastructure for an embedded winding robot. The element is designed to be placed by the user relying on physical guidelines in the operation space. As the elements are placed, the computational model is updated to include the new position of the added element and the robots begin a sequence of precise, repetitive motions to produce the enclosure. Thus the construction process itself becomes means of interaction between the human and the machine, beyond the conventional “command-response” model.
Over the course of the cluster, collaborators are invited to use computational methods to iteratively design boundary conditions and human-machine interaction scenarios to challenge our notions of enclosure, space, and programming within a prefabricated hardware system.
Giulio Brugnaro is a trained architect with a strong interest in computational tools and robotic fabrication for architectural production. He is currently Phd Candidate / Research Assistant (Marie Curie Trainee) at The Bartlett School of Architecture in London as part of the InnoChain Research Network. His research focuses on exploring adaptive robotic fabrication processes and sensing methods that allow designers to engage with the qualitative properties of heterogeneous materials.
Previously he received a B.Arch in "Architectural Sciences" at IUAV University of Venice and a M.Sc. in "Integrative Technologies and Architectural Design Research" at the University of Stuttgart.
Brian Ringley is a Senior Researcher at WeWork where he leads research efforts in construction automation and robotics in collaboration with WeWork’s Design, Construction, and Logistics teams. He teaches design computation and industrial automation for architectural manufacturing at Pratt Institute’s Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD) program.
Prior to WeWork, Brian was an Associate and Design Technology Specialist at the global architecture and consulting practice Woods Bagot. Brian co-runs the design technology education website and podcast Designalyze along with Full Stack Modular's Zach Downey.
Maria Yablonina is an artist, researcher and architect working in the field of robotic fabrication with a focus on custom, task specific machines for on-site construction.
Currently Maria is a research associate and doctoral candidate at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart.
ith a strong interest in robotics and digital fabrication techniques, she is focusing on exploring potential fabrication techniques enabled through introduction of architecture-specific custom robotic tools for construction and fabrication. Her work includes development of hardware and software tools as well as complementing material systems.