Pike Loop – Robot Built Brick Wall in NYC

Pike Loop, a Robot-Built Installation in NYCSep 30 2009 - Nov 14 2009

Completed Installation on display until early January

Location: Pike Street between Division Street and East Broadway (map) Digital Materiality exhibition at Storefront: On show until November 14

In September 2009, Storefront for Art and Architecture will inaugurate an exhibition of the work of Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich and, in conjunction with NYC Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program, Storefront will present the first architecture project to be digitally fabricated on site, at 1:1 scale, in the US.

Developed through their research at ETH Zürich Faculty of Architecture, Gramazio & Kohler's work explores highly complex architectural artifacts, built by industrial robots typically used to assemble automobiles and perform other high-precision tasks. The accuracy, strength and speed of these robots allow them to fabricate architectural forms of unprecedented complexity and intricacy.

Gramazio & Kohler's work represents the cutting edge of innovation in the field of digital fabrication in architecture. For many years architects have relied on digital manufacturing processes such as CNC milling or 3D printing as a tool for formal research at model-scale. For the first time, Gramazio & Kohler’s work explores the potential of mobile digital fabrication techniques that can fabricate at 1:1 scale on site.

Positioned on the central mall on Pike Street, the robot will work for up to four weeks - in full view of the public - to construct a brick wall, a highly sculptural response to the specific identity of the site. For the Pike Loop installation, more than seven thousand bricks aggregate to form an infinite loop that weaves along the pedestrian island. In changing rhythms the loop lifts off the ground and intersects itself at its peaks.

The exhibition at Storefront Gallery will present the results of Gramazio & Kohler’s ongoing research into digital fabrication in architecture at ETH Zurich Faculty of Architecture. The same robot, R-O-B, unit recently built the award-winning installation, Structural Oscillations, at the 2008 architectural biennial in Venice.

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