After helping to define the digital era of architecture, Los Angeles-based architect and UCLA professor Greg Lynn has shifted his purview somewhat. Lynn can now be found conducting research on moving architecture, using the latest industrial technology to experiment with the possibilities of what it might mean for buildings to move, be moved, or take shape from a process involving movement.
The studio research is part of SUPRASTUDIO, an aspect of the University of California Los Angeles Architecture and Urban Design program. It is an interdisciplinary unit where outside experts from industry, such as BOEING and Disney, are brought into architecture research, in order to infuse it with new expertise. Past iterations have explored a collaboration with Disney and the possibilities of moving buildings.
Students in Greg Lynn's architecture studio present work to BOEING.
A robot in the UCLA architecture studio.
This year's version is titled "SUPER AERO ROBO SPATIAL," and the topic is moving architecture and the use of robots. They are attempting to see what happens when architecture begins to re-orient itself, for example by moving rooms, walls, or even entire buildings. The studio this year is looking at what happens when robots become like puppeteers to move the building, or parts of it. This research is moving robotics beyond the role of bricklayer or carpenter, and looking at how robots might become more integrated into the structure or form of the building.
The investigations are in response to shifts in technology and the role that architecture plays in that technological advance. Lynn says that buildings could move not just opening and closing, but in other ways that might make architecture more adaptable to changing conditions in real estate (density), and the environment (energy performance).
The SUPRASTUDIO research is part of the IDEAS campus at UCLA, a 6,000-square-foot Advanced Technologies Lab, partially sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, where cross-disciplinary knowledge is integrated into architecture research. UCLA AUD Director Hitoshi Abe explains that "the field of technology has expanded way beyond what architecture can deal with in a traditional way, but if you look at the definition of 'architect', it is a profession that can integrate the technologies. I really want to have this place to really think about the new definition of architecture."
All post images courtesy of UCLA's SUPRASTUDIO. Cover image via