Gramazio & Kohler, the designers of this intricate lattice-like brick façade in Pfungen, in their native Switzerland, have observed that digital fabrication processes serve as a means of (re-)connecting architects with the act of making – and what material could be more appropriate for the task than time-honoured brick.
The structure is in fact a freestanding screen, which sits just in front of the former production hall of (guess what) a brickworks, now serving as a headquarters for construction company Keller AG Ziegeleien.
Designed using BrickDesign software, such complex geometry can be easily transported from Euclidean space to the solid world of construction thanks to the ROBmade process in which a robot places and glues each brick individually. This mode of precision production has become a reality thanks to the collaborative research efforts undertaken by Gramazio & Kohler, Keller AG Ziegeleien and ETH Zurich. But given that the development of the system took some seven years and the relative scarcity of such technology within an industrial context, the robots may not be coming for the humble bricklayer just yet. I (fs)