a construction robot in switzerland has created a temporary pavilion using nothing more than loose stones and string. the structure, which is supported by a series of stable columns, is being presented by resear­chers at ETH zurich as part of an exhibition in the swiss city of winterthur. the scheme comprises 30 tonnes (30 tons) of loose stones, which the robot has bound together using 120 kilometers (75 miles) of string.

ETH zurich rock print pavilion
the construction robot worked for a total of four weeks to build the columns
image © gramazio kohler research, ETH zürich | main image © michael lio

 

 

the ‘rock print pavilion’ is part of an exhibition titled ‘hello, robot. design between human and machine’, currently on view at winterthur’s gewerbemuseum. the construction robot, known as the ‘in situ fabricator’, worked for a total of four weeks to build 11 three-meter-high (10 ft) pillars. to support the pavilion’s eight-tonne (8.8 ton) steel roof, ETH zurich’s researchers implemented a technique known as ‘jamming’.

ETH zurich rock print pavilion
the pavilion has been built using nothing more than loose stones and string
image © keystone / christian beutler

 

 

the ETH research project ‘design and robotic fabrication of jammed architectural structures’ focuses on the robot-based assembly of simple, loose, and granular base materials. when combined with the arrangement of string between the gravel layers — which is continuously calculated by the robot — the stones interlock together. this creates a stable, highly durable structure. recycling is also embedded into the project as the components can be easily dismantled and the material reused.

ETH zurich rock print pavilion
the pillars measure 3 meters, or 10 feet, in height
image © michael lio

ETH zurich rock print pavilion
the pavilion’s roof weighs 8 tonnes
image © michael lio

ETH zurich rock print pavilion
120 kilometers (75 miles) of string have been used to bind the stones together
image © gramazio kohler research, ETH zürich

  • Was it four weeks because he had to load 8T of stone with a bucket …climbing the ladder? Is the dribble at the base where the string did not work? Many questions…

    Jim

    JimCan says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news