ROB|ARCH 2018: Radical Cross-Disciplinarity


The advent of robotics in the creative and construction industries has led to an amazing revolution, changing not just how things are designed and made, but also transforming knowledge cultures, politics and economics that surround them. As such, the ROB|ARCH 2018 conference – hosted by the NCCR Digital Fabrication and ETH Zurich – will continue this path, developing and revealing novel insights, applications and impacts of this transformation within the scientific, creative, and entrepreneurial domains, including, for example, architecture, structural design, civil and process engineering, art and design, and robotics. A particular focus lies upon cross-disciplinary approaches and applications, providing state-of-the-art knowledge, techniques and methods of robotics not just in individual areas of exploration, but also beyond. These ideals aspire to complement the transformation processes of emerging robotic research and applications, and to redefine cross-disciplinary work in an era of global digitalisation and knowledge transfer. Key topics and issues of ROB|ARCH 2018 include autonomous control systems, advanced construction, collaborative design tools, computerised materials and structures, adaptive sensing and actuation, on-site and cooperative robotics, machine-learning, human-machine interaction, large-scale robotic fabrication and networked workflows.

About the ROB|ARCH conference series


The ROB|ARCH conference series is a collaborative effort between the co-hosting universities, industry partners, and the Association for Robots in Architecture. The adoption of digital fabrication in the creative industries continues to accelerate as the potential for innovation and creative expression using robotics is being harnessed. The ROB|ARCH conference series aims to allow practitioners to share expertise, to bring together teams of international researchers, to foster networks, to increase knowledge, and to stimulate innovation. To achieve this aim the ROB|ARCH conferences combine academic presentations with hands-on workshops held in the three days preceding the conference.



The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney, was the Host for the ROB|ARCH2016 conference, teaming up with prominent Australian Universities to co-chair international workshops: RMIT, Monash University, Bond University, UNSW, and UTS. The ROB|ARCH2016 Conference featured over 30 presenters from industry, practice and academic institutions worldwide over two full days. The presenters at the conference were at the forefront of new robotic technologies and application across a range of fields from robotic fabrication in the construction industry to human-robot interactions in interaction design and creative practice.



Rob|Arch 2014 was hosted by the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in Ann Arbor. As the world’s largest “architectural” robotic lab, the Taubman College was a logical choice, and we were delighted when Dean Monica Ponce De Leon joined the effort as conference chair alongside Wes McGee, showing the significance of the conference topic, not just for Taubman College but also the architectural community.ROB|ARCH 2014 was a great success with more than 200 attendees from all around the world and industry partners such as KUKA,  ABB, as well as Stäubli and Schunk.



In December 2012, the Association for Robots in Architecture hosted the first international conference for robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design. Initially conceptualized as a medium-sized symposium, it became a full-sized conference with 8 conference workshops distributed throughout Europe, with many European institutions hosting US universities such as Harvard doing a workshop at TU Graz, the Taubman College partnering up with TU Delft, and SciArc’s team coming to TU Vienna’s facilities. As such, the idea was to turn that around for Rob|Arch 2014, with the conference taking part in the US and hosting workshops from abroad.