3 min read

The ROB|ARCH2016 conference brings together world-leading researchers at the forefront of new robotic technologies and applications. This year’s conference was held in the iconic, industrial Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay in Sydney from 15th –19th March. Hosted by The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning from The University of Sydney, and in partnership with RMIT, Monash University, Bond University, UNSW, and UTS, the event comprised of a 3-day workshop and a 2-day conference.

Robotically fabricated conference bags

As a major sponsor of the event, BVN contributed by fabricating the conference bags. These were custom printed using a KUKA KR10 and a paint pen. Delegates had the option to choose from two different designs and then the ability to control the robot to print their own bag. This proved a huge success as it allowed delegates to interact with the robot right from the get-go.



Over the 3-day workshop, delegates tested the boundaries of robotic fabrication in architecture. Both Kuka and ABA robots were used. This year there were eight workshops offered:

  • Robot UI: User interfaces for robotic live control (SCI-Arch & UNSW);
  • Feature-based multi-robot assemblies (HAL Robotics & Bond University);
  • Stigmergic accretion: Semi-autonomous polymer deposition (RMIT);
  • Interactive 3D printing (IAAC, Harvard GSD & USYD);
  • Robotic sewing of custom timber veneer laminates (ICD, Stuttgart);
  • Superform: Robotic hot-blade cutting (Odico, Aarhus School of Architecture & USD);
  • Spatially extruded structures (ETH Zurich, University of Michigan & UTS); and
  • Dynamo-build! Dynamo-driven collaborative robotics for automated construction of spatial structures (Autodesk, Virginia Tech,  Walter P Moore Engineering, MASS Design Group, Delcam).


The conference concluded with a 2-day presentation of academic papers and talks. One of the many highlights was Mark Burry and his presentation of the use of robotics in the construction of the Sagrada Familia. As pioneers in the field of digital fabrication, Mark and Jane Burry have worked with a 2D robot since 1989 on the Nave Columns, 3D printing since 2000 on the Passion Façade Rose, and finally, a 7-axis robot since 2001 on the Passion Façade Narthex columns. These techniques are combined with stonemasonry to achieve a high level of precision and material computation.



Overall, the conference was a huge success. Dr Dagmar Reinhardt and her team at the University of Sydney did a fantastic job organising the event. With such fascinating outputs from the event, I look forward to the next one, which is due to be hosted at ETH, Zurich in 2018.

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