As stated by Gross and Green in a 2012 publication, architectural robotics is defined by intelligent and adaptable built environments that sense, plan, and act.
The prospect of architectural robotics was anticipated by architect and MIT Media Lab founder, Nicholas Negroponte, 40 years ago. His vision was of “a man-made environment that responds to and that is meaningful for him or her”.
Kapadia (2010) felt that including the robotic element as an integral part of the architecture and adopting robotic technologies in architecture, would have a significant impact in the field.
Human-Robot Interaction – HRI – is of critical importance, not only for robotics, but also for human psychology [Arkin, Ronald C., 2003]. In the field of architectural robotics, research regarding HRI is essential.The form and structure of a robot is as important as the morphology of the elements of architecture, and, thus, it plays an important role in the spatial cognition and interactive behaviour of the users. Therefore, the research into the relationship between the morphology of a robotic element and HRI, needs to be examined further.
The project here presented starts with making a parallelism to Louis Kahn’s words: “What do you think of that, brick?”, Brick says: “I like an arch.” In architectural robotics, a geometry would be questioned by asking: “What do you want to be, as a robotic element of architecture?”
Its answer should consider its morphology as a robot and its HRI properties.
After this stage, the project goes in depth, exploring the factors of human-robot proximity related to spatial cognition that would benefit the architects when designing a better space.
The dynamic mobile robot could have widespread applications in architectural robotics in the near future. In order to explore the morphology of people’s spatial behaviour in the field of robotic architecture, a first step could be represented by the direct observation of people interacting with the sphere-shaped robot.
The goal is an improved and wider comprehension of these behaviors when the robot is considered as an element of architecture.
UCL M.Arch, Director of JD+ Intelligence