This interdisciplinary project capitalizes on the AMCL lab at the MENG Department and RFL lab at the ARCH Department at AUC, with the objective of expanding the possibilities of both wire arc additive/subtractive manufacturing (WAASM) and clay robotic deposition in the manifestation of architectural applications, specifically building facade envelopes. The project showcases state-of-the-art additive manufacturing facilities that consciously adopt sustainable approaches for a carbon-zero built environment, with the purpose of developing innovative and efficient design-to-fabrication workflows that stretch the boundaries of industries supporting green buildings. In particular, robotically-controlled additive manufacturing (AM) using different building materials facilitates Cleaner Production and a sustainable building construction process without causing emissions and/or pollutants compared to conventional techniques. With the overwhelming growth of AM, scaling up of these processes is revealing potential applications in the construction of green/clean buildings.
This research introduces an optimized design-to-robotic production approach that integrates multipoint forming and adjustable moulds together with robotic free form material deposition to produce mass customizable double curved façade panels. We argue that our approach generates customizable panels with complex geometry, and optimizes fabrication workflow, with minimum waste and maximum accuracy in representing irregular forms. This optimized workflow capitalizes on two aspects; first, the use of automatically adjustable flexible moulds using multipoint forming, and second, free form material depositing over the moulds using robotic arms for high degrees of precision. The premise in this integration is two-fold: (1) generating customizable double curved panels with complex geometry; and (2) optimizing fabrication workflow, where waste material is minimized in comparison to conventional workflows.
The aim of this project is to design, fabricate, and assemble low-cost thermally responsive masonry walls based on informed solar radiation data addressing the relation between incident thermal radiation and brick texture. Wall thermal responsiveness relates to variation in thermal mass via differences in brick extrusion values in response to shade and shadow from the surrounding context and brick topography. The objective is to set a methodology by which the majority of redbrick construction in growing informal settlements in Egypt can benefit from reductions in solar heat gain and enhanced thermal performance, without disrupting existing mainstream construction practices.
In collaboration with the Building Sciences Lab (BSL) at AUC, our approach involves (1) modeling/simulating thermal performance, construction and assembly for thermally responsive brick walls in hot arid climates; (2) physically testing/monitoring performance of the designed wall prototypes. We couple thermal simulation using parametric design, robotic assembly simulation and solar radiation simulation to allow for unlimited wall texture variation, context responsiveness, and construction efficiency/precision as relates to thermal performance. This is done using computational scripts that automatically translate wall configurations resulting from thermal simulations into robotic assembly simulation using parametric robotic control algorithms. This is done via a case study in Cairo as proof-of-concept using testing in an environmental chamber and in outdoor conditions. Due to the custom nature of the prototypes, structural challenges emerge, in relation to wall depths, heights, brick bonds, and structural robotic assembly process.