Architectural Potentials of Robotic Manufacturing in Timber Construction

2013 - 2022 | Research Projects
German Academic Scholarship Foundation

Oliver David Krieg

Architectural Potentials of Robotic Manufacturing in Timber Construction

Strategies for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Manufacturing and Design

This thesis investigates the impact of innovation in robotic manufacturing and computational design on the architectural and tectonic possibilities of timber construction. Until recently, the digitalization of manufacturing and design has mostly resulted in increased efficiencies of singular processes without noticeable impacts on the inter-organizational relationships in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. However, recent developments in integrative architectural design research have shown the potential to introduce a paradigm change by bringing manufacturing technology into a reciprocal relationship with the design space of building systems. In a series of case studies, the thesis investigates integrative and interdisciplinary development processes that resulted in timber building systems that exhibit a high degree of morphological and functional differentiation, and therefore a larger, gradated, and more adaptive design space. The gradual distribution of material and form is akin to biological principles found in natural structures. The thesis develops a methodology that enables the comparison of manufacturing systems for timber building elements with their resulting design space in a qualitative and quantitative manner, thereby re-integrating disciplines of form, material, and materialization. The thesis also discusses the potential of this paradigm shift to introduce much-needed systemic innovation in the industry.

Scientific Development

Oliver David Krieg

Supervisor and first examiner

Prof. Achim Menges, Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD)

Second examiner

Associate Prof. AnnaLisa Meyboom


Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (2014 - 2017)

Selected Publications

Menges, A., Schwinn, T., Krieg, O. (eds.): 2016, Advancing Wood Architecture – A Computational Approach, Routledge, Oxford. (ISBN: 9781138932982)

Schwinn, T., Krieg, O., and Menges, A.: 2016, Robotic Sewing: A Textile Approach Towards the Computational Design and Fabrication of Lightweight Timber Shells, in Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines, Proceedings of the 36th Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), Ann Arbor, pp. 224-233.

Krieg, O., Schwinn, T., Menges, A., Li, J., Knippers, J., Schmitt, A., Schwieger, V.: 2015, Biomimetic Lightweight Timber Plate Shells: Computational Integration of Robotic Fabrication, Architectural Geometry and Structural Design, in Block, P., Knippers, Mitra, N., Wang, W. (eds.), Advances in Architectural Geometry 2014, Springer International Publishing, pp.109-125. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-11418-7_8, Print ISBN: 978-3-319-11417-0, Online ISBN: 978-3-319-11418-7)

Schwinn, T., Krieg, O., Menges, A.: 2014, Behavioral Strategies: Synthesizing Design Computation and Robotic Fabrication of Lightweight Timber Plate Structures, in Design Agency [Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)], Los Angeles, pp. 177–188. (ISBN 978-1926724478

Krieg, O., Christian, Z., Correa, D., Menges, A., Reichert, S., Rinderspacher, K., Schwinn, T.: 2014, HygroSkin: Meteorosensitive Pavilion, in Gramazio, F., Kohler, M., Langenberg, S. (eds.), Fabricate: Negotiating Design and Making, Zürich, pp. 272-279. (ISBN 978-3-85676-331-2)

Krieg, O., Menges, A.: 2013, Prototyping Robotic Production: Development of Elastically Bent Wood Plate Morphologies with Curved Finger Joint Seams, in: Gengnagel, C., Kilian, A., Nembrini, J., Scheurer, F. (eds.), Rethinking Prototyping, Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium Berlin 2013, Verlag der Universität der Künste Berlin. pp. 479-490. (ISBN 978-3-89462-243-5)

Schwinn, T., Krieg, O., Menges, A.: 2012, Robotically Fabricated Wood Plate Morphologies – Robotic Prefabrication of a Biomimetic, Geometrically Differentiated Lightweight Finger Joint Timber Plate Structure, in Brell Cokcan, S., Braumann, J. (eds.), Proceedings of the Robots in Architecture Conference 2012, TU Vienna, Springer, Vienna, pp. 28-47. (ISBN 978-3709114643)

Krieg, O., Mihaylov, B., Schwinn, T., Reichert S., Menges, A.: 2012, Computational Design of Robotically Manufactured Plate Structures Based on Biomimetic Design Principles Derived from Clypeasteroida, in Achten, H., Pavlicek, J., Hulin, J., Matejdan, D. (eds.), Digital Physicality – Proceedings of the 30th eCAADe Conference, Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture (Czech Republic) 12-14 September 2012, pp. 531-540. (ISBN 978-9-4912070-3-7)

Contact Information

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Oliver David Krieg


Doctoral Candidate

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