25th July –12th August 2016
London, Hooke Park / UK

Weave.X is the final working prototype designed, developed, and fabricated during Architectural Association (AA) Summer DLAB, which took place in AA’s London home and Hooke Park facilities during 25 July – 12 August 2016. 21 participants from 11 countries participated in the programme in order to investigate themes of generative design, material computation, and robotic fabrication technologies within the agency of concrete and robotic rod-bending protocols.

Weave.X is the outcome of an ongoing research to devise an innovative strategy to construct three-dimensionally interwoven concrete structures with the employment of computational design, geometry rationalization, material behaviour, and robotic fabrication techniques. Design objectives have focused on the evaluation and interpretation of a traditional fabrication process, steel rod-bending, towards its advancement within the domain of advanced computational and robotic methods.

Through the analysis of rod bending strategies in traditional manufacturing industries that are well-documented and established, the research aims to develop a novel approach by the reduction of mechanical parts for controlling the bending process and hence the desired output form. This goal is achieved by the systematic correlation of the physical parts of the bending jig system with an intelligent robotic toolpath, developed in KUKA|prc in conjunction with Python scripting.

The toolpath integrates the necessary material considerations, including tolerances and steel rod spring-back values, with bending motion strategies through a series of mathematical calculations in line with physical bending experiments. More than 80 steel rods, each bearing a length of 1500 mm. and radius of 8 mm., have been robotically bent within a short period of time thanks to the speed, precision, and low tolerances of the robotic bending protocols.

The final configuration is characterized by a continuous network of concrete branches that support each other while creating an amorphous spatial enclosure. One of the questions raised during the design process has been the application of a form-work material that could aid in the fabrication of a complex geometrical configuration while maintaining self-supporting capacity. The use of Polypropylene has facilitated these objectives while also providing a reflective surface quality for concrete. Furthermore, the incorporation of robotic bending parameters as a driver starting from the initial stages of design development has contributed to a strong correlation between design and fabrication phases, moving away from a direct design-to-production approach.

The ongoing research intends to incorporate simple mechanical tools and cost-effective fabrication methods with the complexity embedded in generative form-finding processes, geometrical rationalization, and robotic tool-path creation that integrates material constraints. The key objective is to illustrate the architectural possibilities of using concrete in a non-conventional way by creating strong associations between computational design methodologies and robotic fabrication processes.

Technical Details
21 days :: Duration of programme
7 days :: Design development, fabrication, assembly
21 students :: 11 nationalities
96 hours :: Fabrication, assembly, dis-assembly time
120 m :: Steel robotically-bent reinforcement rods
1.5 m3 :: High-strength concrete
30 m2 :: 3 mm. thick Polypropylene form-work

Programme Heads: Elif Erdine, Alexandros Kallegias
Tutors: Alexandros Kallegias, Elif Erdine, Angel Fernando Lara Moreira, Necdet Yagiz Ozkan, Suzan Ucmaklioglu
Research Collaborator:  Alican Sungur
Robotics Collaborator: Pradeep Devadass

Students: Artemis Psaltoglou, Anna Rizou, Irini Sapka, Stelios Andreou, Alexandra Marantidou, Melike Culcuoglu, Deniz Ipek Ayasli, Isui Rodriguez, Roger Flores, Reese Lewis, Shang-Fang Yu, Anthony Ip, Mauricio Velarde, Kentaro Fujimoto, Josue Davila, DanielaOrellana, Erik Hoffmann, Zheng Luo, Jeffrey Novak, Veronica Ruiz, Justine Poulin.