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ETH zurich completes 'semiramis' hanging garden, built with the help of robots

semiramis: architecture, technology, and nature


At the entrance of the Switzerland‘s growing Tech Cluster Zug, ETH Zurich and Gramazio Kohler Research celebrate the completion of a sculptural installation named Semiramis. The vertical garden has come to life with the help of robots and artificial intelligence, and transcends traditional urban concepts to evolve into a monument to nature and technology. Semiramis embodies the synergy of interactive computational design, machine learning, and digital fabrication. Its form, a towering 22.5-meter (74-foot) structure, consists of five organic wooden pods, elegantly suspended by eight slender steel pillars. See designboom’s previous coverage here!

eth zürich semiramisimages courtesy Gramazio Kohler Research



robotically-optimized geometries by eth zurich


The Semiramis installation owes its unique form to a pioneering machine learning design method developed by ETH Zurich‘s chair in partnership with the Swiss Data Science Center. This method allowed the team to iteratively generate the most efficient design variations, considering factors like sunshade, rain protection, and plantable surfaces.


The collaboration with the Computational Robotics Lab led to the creation of a custom tool which enables the optimization of the complex geometry of individual pods, while meticulously accounting for material properties and fabrication parameters. It ensured that each panel maintained its flatness and adhered to specified size constraints while enhancing structural integrity.


The integration of cross-laminated timber plates was achieved with a novel assembly procedure, developed by Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, TS3, and the Chair for Timber Structures at ETH Zurich. The process allowed for the precision bonding of wood components, enabling the creation of intricate folded wood structures on a large scale.

eth zürich semiramis



a suspended garden in the sky


The robotic assembly of Semiramis represents a groundbreaking moment for Gramazio Kohler Research. At ETH Zurich’s Robotic Fabrication Lab, four robots worked in tandem, constituting an unprecedented additive manufacturing process. The team collaborated closely with Intrinsic to integrate their robot planning technology with COMPAS FAB, an open-source robotic fabrication package.


Semiramis’s vertical landscaping concept, conceived and executed in collaboration with Müller Illien Landscape Architects Gmbh, offers a sanctuary for nature to thrive. These pagoda-like pods are off-limits to human access, preserving the undisturbed growth of a new and ever-evolving ecosystem. As spectators, we can only admire this living artwork from below and, in the future, from the surrounding buildings set to rise in the Tech Cluster Zug.

ETH zurich completes 'semiramis' hanging garden, built with the help of robots
Semiramis owes its unique form to a machine learning design method, resulting in an interplay of wood and steel



Beyond its role as an artistic installation, Semiramis serves as a retreat and communal space for the Tech Cluster Zug’s workers and residents. Its centralized irrigation system ensures green densification, filtering light and creating varying degrees of shade on the ground. This design provides a comfortable microclimate during the hot summer months, making Semiramis at once a work of art and a functional and sustainable addition to the urban landscape.

eth zürich semiramis
the installation stands tall at the entrance of Tech Cluster Zug, Switzerland


the pagoda-like pods are off-limits to humans, allowing nature to flourish undisturbed in this urban habitat

ETH zurich completes 'semiramis' hanging garden, built with the help of robots
semiramis owes its unique form to a groundbreaking machine learning design method


the robotic assembly is a milestone in the field, with four robots working together to create this installation



project info:


project title: Semiramis

architecture: ETH Zurich + Gramazio Kohler Research

location: Zug, Switzerland

completion: 2022


client: Urban Assets Zug AG

general contractor: Erne AG Holzbau

collaborators: Müller Illien Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Timbatec Holzbauingenieure Schweiz AG

team: Matthias Kohler, Fabio Gramazio, Sarah Schneider, Matteo Pacher, Aleksandra Apolinarska, Pascal Bach, Gonzalo Casas, Philippe Fleischmann, Matthias Helmreich, Michael Lyrenmann, Beverly Lytle, Romana Rust

industry partners: TS3 AG, Intrinsic

selected experts: Chair for Timber Structures, ETH Zürich; Computational Robotics Lab, ETH Zürich – Krispin Wandel, Bernhard Thomaszewsky, Roi Poranne, Stelian Coros; Swiss Data Science Center – Luis Salamanca, Fernando Perez-​Cruz

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