Architectural Potentials of Robotic Fabrication in Wood Construction

Current research in the field of digital fabrication in wood construction mainly focuses on an increase of automation and an improvement of efficiency of known fabrication processes. Only rarely are the reciprocities between the machine, its kinematic range and the architectural design space subjected to systematic research. However, such an integrative understanding of the potentials of digital fabrication technologies for architecture becomes more relevant in the context of the current shift from CNC machinery designed for a specific task towards more generic fabrication equipment such as industrial robots. The development of adaptive fabrication methods promises new insight in how the extended kinematic range of robotic fabrication and its range of application can be used in order to develop novel approaches to timber construction and ultimately to architectural design.

The goal of the research project is to investigate and systemize the industrial robot’s extended fabrication possibilities in wood construction, in order to identify new and robot-specific fabrication and construction techniques. The project aims at revealing the potentials of integrating this extended design space of robotic fabrication in timber construction into a reciprocal architectural design process. Through this integration, the research seeks to identify potentials for a higher level of geometric differentiation, structural performance and material efficiency of timber construction.


ICD Institute for Computational Design and Construction – Prof. Achim Menges

Scientific Development

Oliver David Krieg


Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes


Selected Publications

Menges, A., Schwinn, T., Krieg, O. (eds.): 2016, Advancing Wood Architecture – A Computational Approach, Routledge, Oxford. (ISBN: 9781138932982)

Schwinn, T., Krieg, O., and Menges, A.: 2016, Robotic Sewing: A Textile Approach Towards the Computational Design and Fabrication of Lightweight Timber Shells, in Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines, Proceedings of the 36th Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), Ann Arbor, pp. 224-233.

Krieg, O., Schwinn, T., Menges, A., Li, J., Knippers, J., Schmitt, A., Schwieger, V.: 2015, Biomimetic Lightweight Timber Plate Shells: Computational Integration of Robotic Fabrication, Architectural Geometry and Structural Design, in Block, P., Knippers, Mitra, N., Wang, W. (eds.), Advances in Architectural Geometry 2014, Springer International Publishing, pp.109-125. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-11418-7_8, Print ISBN: 978-3-319-11417-0, Online ISBN: 978-3-319-11418-7)

Schwinn, T., Krieg, O., Menges, A.: 2014, Behavioral Strategies: Synthesizing Design Computation and Robotic Fabrication of Lightweight Timber Plate Structures, in Design Agency [Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)], Los Angeles, pp. 177–188. (ISBN 978-1926724478)

Krieg, O., Christian, Z., Correa, D., Menges, A., Reichert, S., Rinderspacher, K., Schwinn, T.: 2014, HygroSkin: Meteorosensitive Pavilion, in Gramazio, F., Kohler, M., Langenberg, S. (eds.), Fabricate: Negotiating Design and Making, Zürich, pp. 272-279. (ISBN 978-3-85676-331-2)

Krieg, O., Menges, A.: 2013, Prototyping Robotic Production: Development of Elastically Bent Wood Plate Morphologies with Curved Finger Joint Seams, in: Gengnagel, C., Kilian, A., Nembrini, J., Scheurer, F. (eds.), Rethinking Prototyping, Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium Berlin 2013, Verlag der Universität der Künste Berlin. pp. 479-490. (ISBN 978-3-89462-243-5)

Schwinn, T., Krieg, O., Menges, A.: 2012, Robotically Fabricated Wood Plate Morphologies – Robotic Prefabrication of a Biomimetic, Geometrically Differentiated Lightweight Finger Joint Timber Plate Structure, in Brell Cokcan, S., Braumann, J. (eds.), Proceedings of the Robots in Architecture Conference 2012, TU Vienna, Springer, Vienna, pp. 28-47. (ISBN 978-3709114643)

Krieg, O., Mihaylov, B., Schwinn, T., Reichert S., Menges, A.: 2012, Computational Design of Robotically Manufactured Plate Structures Based on Biomimetic Design Principles Derived from Clypeasteroida, in Achten, H., Pavlicek, J., Hulin, J., Matejdan, D. (eds.), Digital Physicality – Proceedings of the 30th eCAADe Conference, Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture (Czech Republic) 12-14 September 2012, pp. 531-540. (ISBN 978-9-4912070-3-7)


Related Research Buildings / Prototypes

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2015-16
Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall
HygroSkin: Meteorosensitive Pavilion
HygroScope: Meteorosensitive Morphology
ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2011
ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010