American University of Sharjah, Wiesbaden University

Robots make building panels used by AUS students

Digitally controlled robots were used by students in the creation of building panels from formwork made only of sand.

The workshop saw students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Wiesbaden University in Germany conducting research together.

Held at AUS, the robots were used to draw patterns on flat sandbeds, which were vacuumed using CNC routers, before they were cast into sheets using vacuum-formed plastic.

The fabrication lab at AUS was established two years ago to expand current teaching practices and look at different material research activities. This was done to match up to quickly changing architectural ideas and technologies that demand new materials and fabrication methods.

The workshop was held under the guidance of Professors George Katodrytis, associate professor in Architecture at AUS; Joachim Kieferle, Professor Dipl.-Ing. at the faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Hochschule Rheinmain, Wiesbaden in Germany; and Michael Dosier, director of the CAAD Labs.

“Such collaborative design workshops provide opportunities to share knowledge in computer-aided design techniques and fabrication by faculty and students of architecture from Germany and the UAE. These workshops provide a platform for both conceptual and material experimentation and enhance our existing curriculum content at CAAD,” said Katodrytis.

This was the second workshop held with students from the German university. The previous workshop was held in 2011, during which participants researched new formwork methods by combining local materials (sand) with high-tech machinery (robots).