University of Pennsylvania, School of Design
Advanced Architectural Design Studio, Fall 2017
Team: Musab Badahdah, Ali Tabatabaie
Instructor: Robert Stuart-Smith
Autonomous Manufacturing Lab
The Site-less House explores the design of a mall house with a ‘soft’, adaptive approach to use, site and furnishings that integrates driverless car mobility within its design and socioeconomic model. The house will be designed to exploit state of the art technologies in concrete and robotic fabrication.
With urban, suburban, rural and wild land-use constantly in flux, there persists a substantial quota of under-utilized land available at any one time. There is a social and economic opportunity for on-demand real estate to make use of this land, providing such ventures can operate without long-term ownership or utility arrangements that would involve substantial site-specific investment. A re locatable house could help alleviate temporary housing shortfalls and by its nature provide a seminal example of sustainable design through its re-use of wasted space, and a Design-For-Disassembly approach to architectural tectonics. It would have to be self-sufficient, relying on its own ability to harness the environment’s resources, and leverage IOT communications and service capabilities to provide for any of its additional needs. In short, an on- demand house would have to look after itself; passively and actively.
The studio operated within the constraints of hot-wire cut formwork for concrete casting, yet experimented and leveraged this craft for creative design expression through iterative prototyping and innovation within the production framework. Hot-wire cutting end-effectors were attached to Penn’s ABB robots. These defined a straight cutting line that passed through an EPS foam block on a three dimensionally controlled trajectory that governs the position, orientation and velocity of the cutting wire.
The studio worked with 3d modelling, algorithmic and robotic processes; the project also be developed through messier, iterative, and intuitive engagement with materials and manufacturing processes, and through dialogue with leading experts from industry. World leading concrete company Cemex collaborated with the studio, sharing their expert knowledge and insight into state-of-art concrete, and partner in the design research and prototyping.