Robot TreeHouses: Experiments in Adaptive and Responsive Architectural Parasites
The UW Department of Architecture’s Summer Digital Fabrication studio for 2013 was led by Associate Professor Rob Corser, AIA.
RobotTreehouses is a collaboration between the UW Department of Architecture, Arup Engineering, and Olson Kundig Architects to explore the possibilities of playfully integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) education with advanced digital design and fabrication. “Robot” and “Treehouse” are words loaded with meaning for children, and adults alike. These words are the launching pad for their imagination and the beginning of a design process. Prompted to describe a Robot Treehouse, children (ages 8 – 10) were given a room full of drawing and modeling supplies to communicate their ideas and vision. The results and processes were documented and they formed the seed for seven undergraduate and graduate architecture students to design and prototype a full-scale Robot Treehouse in only seven weeks.
The ultimate goal for this full scale prototype is to engage young people in the observation of their environment, and to spark their imaginations about architecture, engineering and fabrication. The RobotTreehouse is designed for adaptive deployment in the forests of places like Island Wood on Bainbridge island or installation on a telephone pole in downtown Seattle. The final prototype was realized through sophisticated digital modeling and digital fabrication. Students were exposed to advanced digital modeling and fabrication tools and processes, and they saw first hand how the digital world that computer games are based in can generate a physical space to play in, observe, and engage with the world.
UW Architecture Students:
Student fabrication consultant:
Graduate Teaching Assistants:
Instructor: Rob Corser
Structural consultation: Tyler Sprague
Les Eerkes, Olson Kundig
Hans-Erik Blomgren, Arup