Construction Automation

This advanced, research-based seminar investigates opportunities and challenges of automation in the context of architecture and architectural products. An extension of research on computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques, the seminar introduces the principles of robotics and automated fabrication systems, with a focus on the industrial production context. Lecture topics include a historic overview as well as an introduction to different types of production methods, with a specific interest in robotic systems and automation systems. Techniques and strategies for programming industrial robots will be introduced. This year the broader topic of construction automation is looked at in the specific context of ceramic materials and ceramic products. Dating back thousands of years, ceramics have evolved into a high-performance material, and production methods are industrialized, sophisticated and largely automated. The course investigates and speculates on the role that emerging fabrication and assembly technologies can play in creating new opportunities for ceramic products in architecture. Mass-customization strategies, rapid-prototyping, and robotic fabrication and material handling methods are among the strategies that will be looked at in detail.The course involves lectures and hands-on workshops in the GSD\’s fabrication lab as well as at the Harvard Ceramic Program studio in Allston. Students will engage in analytical case and precedent studies, acquire first-hand knowledge of robotic fabrication methods, and produce experiments and prototypes in the quest for innovation in ceramics and related products.Prerequisites: CAD/CAM 1 or permission of instructor