V&A Dundee has unveiled a new architectural commission to demonstrate the extraordinary creativity that can be achieved when humans and robots work together.

The new commission sits alongside the next major exhibition Hello, Robot. Design Between Human and Machine, which opened on 2 November.

Up-Sticks by Gramazio Kohler Research and students of the MAS Architecture and Digital Fabrication at ETH Zurich is a timber structure inspired by traditional construction methods and fabricated using a collaborative human-robotic fabrication technique.

The team from ETH Zurich in Switzerland used computational strategies and robotic technologies to design, map out and exactly place over 2,000 spruce planks and beech dowels.

The result is an expressive construction that twists and curves along the length of the gallery redefining our relationship with robotic technology.

Sophie McKinlay, V&A Dundee Programme Director, said: “V&A Dundee is committed to exploring new areas of research in design and bringing this to fruition in the gallery.

“We are thrilled to be working with Gramazio Kohler Research and bringing their extraordinary approach to robotic technology to Scotland.”

Mhairi Maxwell, V&A Dundee Project Curator, said: “Up-Sticks is an informal turn of phrase to express leaving your home in haste. It is thought to originate from the rough cut, unseasoned timber frame architecture of the Scottish croft designed for temporary occupation, which would literally be taken with the household from place to place.

“The commission shows how contemporary knowledge in computation and digital fabrication technology can be combined with traditional knowledge to innovate the construction sector, at a time when resources are increasingly limited.”

Hannes Mayer, Senior Researcher at Gramazio Kohler Research, said: “Up-Sticks is a demonstration of how traditional knowledge and craftsmanship can be combined with advanced digital design and fabrication processes to create surprising, beautiful and sustainable architectural structures.

“It reflects the integrative role architects can play in a digital building culture – for which we educate students in our MAS DFAB programme.”

Other projects by Gramazio Kohler Research include the first architectural installation assembled by drones and a pavilion built by a mobile robot from loose stones and string.

Up-Sticks is a commission located at the entrance to Hello, Robot. Design Between Human and Machine and is free to enter from 2 November until 9 February 2020.

Image: © Michael McGurk 2019