Robot TreeHouses Sep25


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Robot TreeHouses

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.

online casino alt=”CORSERrob_13Sept13_image007″ src=”” width=”414″ height=”311″ /> Detail of test installation from the mid review –this is the direction selected for development


Young participant climbing from level to level during unveiling event

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.


RobotTreehouse prototype test installation – Dave Miller visible at right


Final Prototype



UW Architecture Students:

Gabriela Alban-Hidalgo
Audrey Christianson
James Donaldson
Shane Leaman
Anh Nguyen
Chris Tritt
Stella Watson

Student fabrication consultant:

Roark Congdon

Graduate Teaching Assistants:

Marcus Crider
Chris Graesser


Instructor: Rob Corser

Structural consultation: Tyler Sprague


Les Eerkes, Olson Kundig
Hans-Erik Blomgren, Arup

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