Designing the Unfinished
Dynamic robot-based planning and execution tools open up previously inconceivable design possibilities in the landscape architecture of the 21st century
1st edition, 2022
208 pages, 22 color and 187 b/w illustrations
17 x 24 cm
In collaboration with ETH Zurich, Chair of Landscape Architecture of Professor Christophe Girot, Gramazio Kohler Research, and the Robotic Systems Lab of Professor Marco Hutter.
The Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich has been researching the integration of robots into the architectural practice, both in design and the fabrication process, for some time. This book—created in collaboration with the chair of Christophe Girot, Gramazio Kohler Research, and Marco Hutter at ETH Zurich’s Robotic Systems Lab—is the first to investigate the use of robot-based construction equipment for large-scale soil grading in landscape architecture. As landscapes are continuously changing due to ever-changing environmental conditions, the application of autonomous systems that respond to the environment rather than perform predefined and static earthwork is of particular interest in this field.
Robotic Landscapes sheds light on a series of groundbreaking experiments in an interdisciplinary collaboration of landscape design, environmental engineering, and robotics that aims to make landscape architecture sustainable and ecological in the long term.
Contributions by Mathias Bernhard, Dana Cupkova, Fujan Fahmi, Christophe Girot, Fabio Gramazio, Francesca Hughes, Ilmar Hurkxkens, Marco Hutter, Dominic Jud, Matthias Kohler, Benedikt Kowalewski, Jesús Medina, Ammar Mirjan.
Ilmar Hurkxkens is a researcher and lecturer with Gramazio Kohler Research at ETH Zurich’s Depatment of Architecture. He is also co-founder of the design research laboratory LANDSKIP and of Ungenau Robotics. Prior to this he worked at Christophe Girot’s Chair of Landscape Architecture.
Fujan Fahmi is and architect and urban planner and has been directing the interdisciplinary MØFA Studio in Zurich since 2017. Her work covers a wide range of interventions at the intersection of urban planning and landscape design. She also teaches in the Design Studio of ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture.
Ammar Mirjan is an architect working as a researcher with Gramazio Kohler Research at ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture. He focuses on constructive robotic assembly processes and their impact on the construction industry.
«Through a broad, multidisciplinary series of academic essays, the book brings both rigorous science and wide-ranging philosophy to its examination of autonomous robotics in landscape design. […] The book itself is remarkably beautiful, with a design that commits to a series of subtle off-white rectangles printed across each double-page spread, with text and images placed within, between, and across this unique grid structure. The binding uses a drop-spine-style dust jacket for stability, while laying open beautifully on its own during reading. The images shift subtly from photographs to illustrations and back, and like the text serve to unite the conceptual with the practical. The prospect of accelerating climate-based crises is grim enough on its own; that the project approaches its subject with such a heightened aesthetic is testament to the desire to unify art and science in a common goal. » John Peck, Degraded Orbit