Cobotic Production of Resilient Communities (CPRC)

Cobotically Produced Parasitic Architecture in Port Cities (Amsterdam, Shanghai, New York, Rio De Janeiro, Cape town, etc.)

1st year DIA design studio | Studio Master: Sina Mostafavi

Keywords: Cobotics, Human-Robot Collaboration, Parasitic Architecture, 3D Printing Architecture, Port Cities, Resilient Communities, Architectural Robotics, Systemic Thinking.

Brief & Framework

Port cities have been at the forefront of contemporary challenges, radical technological progress and socio-economic paradigm shifts in history. Constant development in port areas requires adaptability and resilience in both urban contexts and industrial infrastructures. As the approach to the exploitation of energy and human resources changes over time, the very physicality of the built enlivenment in port cities and the way we re-use the resources need to be challenged and redefined. In this context, Cobotic Production of Resilient Communities (CPRC) aims to explore, analyze, and implement emerging technologies in architectural design and production to design and build resilient communities in port cities.

By implementing systemic thinking and with an interdisciplinary approach, the studio brings together the following three key domains of knowledge, expertise, and concepts:


1_Cobotics, Architectural Robotics & Fabrication Intelligence: A cobot, or collaborative robot, is a robot intended for direct human-robot interaction within a shared space or where humans and robots are in close proximity. In this studio, we will explore the potentials of cobotics in architectural design and building production. Therefore, we examine how onside close collaboration of humans and robots will radically change how we design and build. The parallel CAD-logic course (titled Cobotic Matters) will provide practical knowledge on collaborative robotics. With the acquired hands-on experience and learning from the state of the art of Architectural Robotics, as well as the previous projects of DARS studio in DIA, the design team will develop innovative fabrication and construction methods using collaborative robotics and digital fabrication methods such as Robotic 3D printing & Cobotic assembly.

2_ Systemic Thinking, Regenerative Design & Computational Intelligence: Systemic thinking and cybernetics focus on how systems are structured and how complex systems function. The studio will apply multi-disciplinary and multi-scale thinking to formulate the design problem and provide innovative solutions. In this studio we examine how in the context of contemporary digitalization and automation, creative designers are the architects both data and buildings. In this studio, as well as in the parallel CAD-logic course we learn, explore, and implement systemic thinking through computational design and algorithmic thinking and modelling.

3_ Parasitic Architecture, Port Cities studies & Resiliency: Parasitic Architecture refers to buildings, installations, and extensions that are attached to an existing larger structure. These annex buildings may not be seen as separate entities but rather resilient systems which are breathing in symbiosis with the existing infrastructure. In this studio, we are revisiting the notion of Parasitic Architecture in the context of metropolitan areas of port cities, where densification is inevitable in both the very urban fabric and dynamic industrial infrastructure of metropoles such as Amsterdam, Rio De Janeiro, New York, Shanghai, Cape Town, etc.   

Workflows, Objectives, Schedule & deliverables

Phase A (Research & Team up)_ Oct.2021: 

The studio starts with individual research on the three above-mentioned domains.
Phase B1 (Design Exploration)_ Oct. 2021 & Nov. 2021:

Based on the initial studies, in each group, we will pick up a challenging context in one of the analyzed port cities. In parallel, hands-on workshops and assignments on computational design and cobotic production provide the required expertise, insight, and multi-scalar thinking skills for designing and prototyping. In this stage, the material system for cobotic production will be identified and developed.
Phase B2 (Development & Prototyping) _Nov.2021 & Dec.2021:

The objective is to design a small to medium-scale parasitic architecture proposal for co-living and/or co-working and/or co-creation and/or co-exhibition etc., on an existing port's urban or industrial fabric. The extension may inhabit about ten to a maximum of fifty users. Initial micro-to-meso scale 1-to-1 prototypes will be produced before midterm to inform the larger scale design.
Phase C (Finalization & Documentation) _Dec.2021 & Jan.2022:

In addition to the general architectural documentation (design process, visualization, plans, sections, isometrics, renders, videos of the design and cobotic building process, etc.), the deliverables include 3D printed and/or robotically produced one-to-one prototypes. Further details about the studio deliverables' format, scales, and requirements will be defined and discussed during the semester.

Context & Excursion

The studio starts with a site-less architectural challenge. Later, each project will choose a site-specific challenge in a metropolitan area of a port city (i.e., Amsterdam, New York, Cape Town, Shanghai, Rio De Janeiro etc.). If applicable, participants may propose any port city they are interested in, especially from or near their hometown. Moreover, this studio will have a recommended Excursion. If the timing and covid related regulations and registrations allow, during the DIA excursion week, studio participants will travel to two of the most important port cities in the Netherlands: Amsterdam and Rotterdam, followed by an optional trip to TU Delft. The detailed plan for the excursion will be fixed before the 2nd session.


_ This studio will be offered in Hybrid Mode (On-line and On-Site/Campus).

_ The detailed schedule and deliverables will be presented in the first session

_ The Cobotic Matters CAD-logic is mandatory for the participants to register for this studio.

_ Prior knowledge in digital design and fabrication is recommended but not required. The whole idea is to learn what we don’t know, so don’t worry, we will learn it together. References and tutorials will be provided throughout the semester.