Gramazio Kohler Research
Open Positions
The Digital in Architecture II HS21
The Digital in Architecture I FS21
The Digital in Architecture II HS20
MAS DFAB: Rapid Clay Formations (Brunnen)
The Digital in Architecture I FS20
MAS DFAB: Rapid Clay Formations (Rio)
The Digital in Architecture II HS19
Robotic Landscapes III
MAS DFAB: Up Sticks
Seminar Week AS19
The Digital in Architecture FS19
Seminar Week SS19
The Digital in Architecture II HS18
Robotic Landscapes II
MAS DFAB: Rapid Clay Formations
Zero-Waste Geometry
Seminar Week AS18
ROB|ARCH 2018 Workshop
MAS DFAB: Gradual Assemblies
The Digital in Architecture FS18
Robotic Landscapes I
Malleable Voxels
MAS DFAB: minijammed
Seminar Week
MAS DFAB: Brick Labyrinth
MAS DFAB: Robotic Pavilion
Force-Adaptive Wire Cutting
Spatial Extrusions 2
Spatial Extrusions
Graded Structures 2
Graded Structures
Robotic Wire Cutting Summerschool
Spatial Wire Cutting
Extruded Structures
Remote Material Deposition Installation
Remote Material Deposition
Depth Modulations 2
Design of Robotic Fabricated High Rises 2
Depth Modulations
Complex Timber Structures 2
Complex Timber Structures 1
Robotic Metal Aggregations
Shifted Frames 2
Design of Robotic Fabricated High Rises 1
Shifted Frames 1
Spatial Aggregations 2
Spatial Aggregations 1
Robotic Clay Molding
The Fragile Structure 2
The Fragile Structure 1
Procedural Landscapes 2
Procedural Landscapes 1
Seminar Week
The Interlocking 2
The Interlocking 1
The Sequential Structure 2
The Sequential Structure 1
Explicit Bricks
The Programmed Column 2
The Programmed Column 1
Open Air Theater
Voxels 2
Voxels 1
The Opening 2
The Opening 1
The Sequential Wall 2
The Sequential Wall 1
The Foam
The Resolution Wall
Construction Hoarding
The Dissolved Wall
Domoterra Lounge
The Perforated Wall 2
The Perforated Wall 1
The Programmed Wall
The Oblique Hole

Rapid Clay Formations, Project for the UIA 2020 Pavilion, Rio de Janeiro, 2019-2020
Rapid Clay Formations originated during the second trimester of the MAS ETH DFAB that took place in Spring 2020. The project was supposed to be shown at the World Congress of Architects UIA 2020 in Rio de Janeiro in form of an undulating clay wall of approximately 21x2 meters. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the UIA 2020 did not take place as planned and a newly conceived demonstrator was eventually presented as a 1:1 prototype in Brunnen, Switzerland.

For the UIA 2020 clay wall at Casa Firjan in Rio de Janeiro, the team focused especially on the use of resourceful and energy-efficient materials as well as innovative construction methods that would allow a completely reversible fabrication system, in which the material could be reused and reassembled in another place later in time. First, the complexity of the process was encoded in a relatively light and transportable robotic arm and platform, the In- situ Fabricator, since the soft state of the clay during fabrication would not allow for elements to be prefabricated and to be added later on. Second, a material mix was developed and optimized with the main goal of reducing the amount of shrinkage and chemical cracks, while still keeping enough plasticity to ensure proper bonds between the elements, thus allowing us to reach new considerable heights.

Finally, the main challenge was represented by the structural design: while earthen structures usually depend on large cross-sections and heavy material masses, we aimed to minimize the amount of material to reduce the construction time, ensure a fast drying time, as well as to improve material ecology.

Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich

Client: Insight Architecture, for the UIA 2020, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Collaborators: David Jenny (project lead), Coralie Ming, Nicolas Feihl, Selen Ercan Jenny, Hannes Mayer
Students: Maria Pia Assaf, Jomana Baddad, Frederic Brisson, Yu-Hung Chiu, Rémy Clemente, Ioulios Georgiou, Mahiro Goto, Anton T Johansson, Laszlo Mangliar, Dinorah Martinez Schulte, Edurne Morales Zuniga, Fatemeh Salehi Amiri, Emmanuelle Sallin, Indra Santosa, Eliott Sounigo, Chanon Techathuvanun, Ping-Hsun Tsai
Support: Mike Lyrenmann and Philippe Fleischmann (Robotic Fabrication Laboratory, ETH Zurich), Andi Reusser (Institute for Building Materials, ETH Zurich), Lydia Zehnder (Institute for Geochemistry and Petrology, ETH Zurich)
Selected contractors: Oxara, Insight Architecture
Industry partner: Brauchli Ziegelei AG
Sponsors: Brauchli Ziegelei AG

Copyright 2016, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Gramazio Kohler Research
Chair of Architecture and Digital Fabrication
ETH Zürich HIB E 43
Stefano-Franscini Platz 1 / CH-8093 Zurich

+41 44 633 49 06
Follow us on:
Vimeo | Instagram