ROB|ARCH has been initiated by the Association for Robots in Architecture as a new conference series on the use of robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, closely linking industry with cutting-edge research institutions. In December 2012 the conference was hosted by its founders in Vienna, Austria. In 2014 the conference travels to North America, hosted by the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Continuing with the previous theme of collaboration, the conference seeks to bring together artists, designers, fabricators and industry leaders for the purpose of advancing the discourse surrounding robotic fabrication. Following on the success of ROB|ARCH 2012, the conference will again present a series of workshops held at select research institutions on the east coast of the United States, aimed at exposing the advanced capabilities of applied robotic research. Following the workshops, the conference will span two days at the University of Michigan Campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about an hour outside of Detroit, the origin of robotics in North America.

Industrial robots are the ultimate flexible manufacturing tools. Designers are taking this to heart; contemporary research and production via robotic fabrication borrows from more mature manufacturing industries in order to shorten the timeframe from “design to production”.  Whereas task-specific machine tools support the efficiencies of mass-production, robotic manipulators trend toward the one off, allowing a specific machine to occupy a wide range of tasks. What robots may lack in extreme precision, they rapidly recover in “intelligence”….cooperative, closed-loop  production machines now learn and adjust their technique in real-time. At the other end of the scale, robots are emerging as in-situ construction tools, achieving the dexterity to perform an active role in direct fabrication.

The FABLab at the Taubman College is a recognized leader in architectural fabrication research, specifically with large scale automation and CNC equipment. Building on 4 years of work with robotic equipment, the Lab recently expanded to increase the availability and scope of its resources. For the ROB|ARCH conference the Lab will host 4 separate workshops, including a cooperative workcell with 2x Kr120 HA robots on Linear rails, 2x Agilus Kr6 robots, 1x field poratable KR100HAL90 robot, and an additional space for a workshop specific, multi-robot workcell.

Continuing on the advances of the first ROB|ARCH conference, international researchers, architects, and designers will discuss the continually developing trend of applying robotic fabrication tools to design problems, methods of designing for, and programming with industrial robots, including published architectural results and the design of new user interfaces that allow intuitive control of parametric designs and customized robotic mass production. The internationally renowned publishing house Springer Wien/New York will publish and market the proceedings of the conference worldwide.

The international Association for Robots in Architecture is an international collaborative organization with the goal of making industrial robots accessible for the creative industry, including artists, designers, and architects, by sharing ideas, research results and technological developments.