New possibilities through collaboration
Working with industry and university partners, SOM is developing new techniques and applications for construction aided by robots. “Anatomy of Structure: The Future of Art and Architecture,” at Ambika P3 Gallery in London, presented several results of this collaboration. The show’s dramatic centerpiece is a vault structure, built of glass bricks, that was assembled by robots in the gallery throughout the course of the exhibition.
Structural engineers at SOM developed the installation in collaboration with Princeton University CREATE Lab and Form Finding Lab, with assistance from the TU Delft Glass & Transparency Research Group. The robotic arms were provided by Global Robots and the glass bricks were provided by Poesia Glass Studio. Combining its expertise, the team developed a material system, structural design, and assembly strategy to enable robotic arms to assemble a self-supporting vault. The research behind this installation draws upon traditional vault construction methods while applying advanced engineering techniques to create an efficient and beautiful shell structure that can be built entirely without formwork or guides.