At ETH Zurich, researchers of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication together with colleagues from the Institute for Technology in Architecture (ITA) now have the opportunity to conduct full building scale research in the world’s first facility for collaborative robotic digital fabrication in architecture.

The Robotic Fabrication Laboratory (RFL) is an integral component of the Arch_Tec_Lab, the new building of the Institute of Technology in Architecture (ITA) at ETH Zurich. It was initiated and planned by the NCCR Digital Fabrication’s principal investigators Prof. Fabio Gramazio and Prof. Matthias Kohler and created in close cooperation with ABB and Güdel.

A Worldwide Unique Research Facility
Located within the Arch_Tec_Lab, the RFL consists of four ceiling-mounted robots which can access the entire laboratory hall and are able to work collaboratively or independently across a total volume of 45 x 17 x 6 meters. Advanced security systems enable the simultaneous use of the robots for both smaller and larger scale projects to be undertaken simultaneously. The flexibility of this set-up permits experimentation in the field of robotic fabrication at scales up to the full-size of a two story building, a first for such research facilities in the world.

Upscaling of Research and Intensified Collaboration
For the NCCR Digital Fabrication, the inauguration of the RFL is a major milestone on the path toward developing a new digital building culture. Thanks to the versatility and size of the new laboratory, the divers range of researchers from the NCCR will be able to simultaneously upscale their research projects to the 1:1 building scale. By bringing together previously distinct research disciplines the NCCR seeks to foster transdisciplinary understanding and development, which in turn promotes collaboration and reinforces innovation.

The NCCR Digital Fabrication is already developing projects and research within the RFL, and is anticipating its first research results in the near future.

The official factsheet and high-resolution images of the Robotic Fabrication Laboratory can be found on the ETH News:

Image credits: Andrea Diglas / ITA / Arch-Tec-Lab AG
Image caption: Robotic Fabrication Laboratory with surrounding transparent full glazing