Robots in Architecture

Rob|Arch 2012: Call for Video Presentations

At the upcoming Rob|Arch 2012 conference, 8 universities are organizing robot workshops and 18 papers will be presented, alongside cutting edge developments of industry partners. As even a five-day event cannot cover the whole scope of robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, the Association for Robots in Architecture invites research institutions and companies, as well as individual artists, architects, designers, engineers, researchers, and students to submit video presentations of their “robotic” work to the Rob|Arch 2012 conference. The video clips should showcase new developments and innovative projects that are relevant to the conference topic of robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design.
All video presentations that get approved by a jury of experts will be shown at the conference/exhibition to the Rob|Arch 2012 attendees, among them CEOs of major robot companies as well as industry partners and internationally recognized researchers, architects, and artists. Furthermore, they will be published on the Rob|Arch conference homepage,, to a wide internet audience.
To submit a clip, please go to and click on Make Submission. The Submission page contains detailed instructions regarding the required video format.

Submission Deadline: 20.11.2012

Rob|Arch 2012 is the first international conference on robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design. From December 14th to 16th, eight parallel robot-workshops led by internationally recognised specialists from institutions such as the University of Stuttgart, TU Delft, ETH Zurich, TU Graz, SciArc, University of Michigan, Harvard, and TU Vienna will take place at four locations distributed throughout Europe, immersing participants to cutting-edge robotic research.
The results of the workshops as well as research projects, chosen by the scientific committee, will be presented and discussed at the conference from December 17th to 18th. Keynote lecturers Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler from ETH Zurich, Achim Menges from the University of Stuttgart, and artists Clemens Neugebauer and Martin Kölldorfer will show different approaches how robots can be used in the creative industry.

The production of the conference workshop documentary and the live broadcasting at the RobArch-Pavilion will be performed by NEVV.ORG digital media.

Please register for the conference at . The early registration is extended! If you have any questions, contact the conference chair at

Robots in Architecture @ eCAADe 2012

The Association for Robots in Architecture was recently invited to host a Virtual Robot workshop at this year’s eCAADe conference in Prague.

In the workshop, we discussed ways of how to approximate material behavior in Grasshopper and how to implement a workflow that allows the user to automatically generate robot control files  (mass customization). The latter approach is based on a real-life object where KUKA|prc was used: A 17x23m large aluminium sculpture by artists Neugebauer & Kölldorfer for Red Bull, where 83 positive molds were milled with a robot and then cast in aluminium.

We had more than 20 participants at the workshops – researchers, professionals, and students from all over the world (e.g. Brazil, United States, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Turkey…).

After the workshop, we presented our research paper “Real-Time Robot Simulation and Control for Architectural Design” – you can access it on our publication page.

A large thank you goes to the participants for their enthusiasm, the eCAADe organizers for hosting a really great conference, and KUKA for their continuous support.

KUKA|prc – New Release

We are proud to announce a new version of KUKA|prc that is based on a fully rewritten robot-engine, opening up a huge range of new possibilities. First and foremost, KUKA|prc is no longer limited to linear-toolpaths, as needed e.g. for milling, but can work with a wide variety of motion commands with adjustable speeds: Linear motions, Point-to-point motions, and direct axis commands. Correctly utilizing these specialized movement commands can greatly optimize robotic jobs.

Another exciting feature is the addition of a generic KRL component that can include any possible KRL code, e.g. for communicating with external devices, as we did at the Design Modelling Symposium in Berlin last year. By attaching custom endeffectors to each command (e.g. an open gripper to the OPEN command and a closed gripper to the CLOSE command) you can see the results directly in the kinematic simulation.

The kinematic solver has also been greatly improved, and can now correctly interpret the state bits (see above), i.e. the eight different strategies how the industrial robot can approach a given frame (equivalent to a plane in GH). In the graphic above, the robot’s sixth axis is always in exactly the same position in relation to the robot’s base – only the other joints are differently oriented.

For your convenience we have also started directly including robot models inside the plugin. These components contain not only the chosen robot’s geometry, but also its kinematic data and axis limits. If your robot is not yet included, send us an eMail and we’ll try to include it in the next release. If you are a member of the Association, we can build you a special version of KUKA|prc within a few days.

Finally, we’ve included a new method for fluid motion  interpolation. In the example above, the robot interpolates between two poses, just as it would do in reality. This feature is still under development, but already accessible in the “Experimental” tab of the kinematic solver settings.

Due to all of these new features, the new release of KUKA|prc is no longer compatible with older versions. We do know that many of you have ongoing projects with KUKA|prc and have therefore decided to offer two versions for download: A STABLE version, which is basically a slightly improved version of the previous release and fully compatible with your exisiting projects, and a BETA version, which contains all of the new features mentioned above.

You can download KUKA|prc from here – after entering your eMail address you will be provided with download links to both the STABLE and BETA version of KUKA|prc. The BETA download also contains a well-documented sample project that should show you how to use the new KUKA|prc features. You can alternatively download the project directly from here.

Many of the new features of KUKA|prc are the result of user requests – so keep that feedback coming!

Recent Robot News

In the past months, Robots in Architecture was busy organizing the upcoming Rob|Arch 2012 conference, so news was a bit slow. Here’s what happened recently:

Red Bull Arch

On June 1st, artists C. Neugebauer and M. Köhldorfer unveiled  their huge 17x23m aluminium arch scuplture for the Red Bull Circuit in Spielberg/Austria. The  robotic fabrication of the 83 positive foam molds was all done using a customized version of KUKA|prc on a KUKA KR150-2 robot, which the artists purchased from the automotive industry for this particular project. The Association helped them set up the robot, customized KUKA|prc for their particular needs and developed a workflow for efficiently producing all parts of the arch. Neugebauer and Köhldorfer will provide an in-depth look into that project at our Rob|Arch conference in December.






We are also proud to announce that the FFG-funded project GENIBOTICS (project lead: G. Koppensteiner, ACIN, TU Vienna) was recently approved. This project explores the use of robots as a gender-equal tool for getting children interested in technology and therefore aligns perfectly with the Association’s goal of making industrial robots available to a wider range of users. As a project partner, we will focus on industrial robots, while other robotic aspects are covered by institutes such as TU Vienna’s ACIN. As part of the project, Eric Dokulil – KUKA expert and member of the Association’s board – attended the IEEE European Conference on Educational Robotics (ECER12) conference in Vienna, during which the European Botball Tournament took place. Eric Dokulil presented his KUKA KR16-2 robot and KUKA|prc to the  middle and high-school aged tournament participants and provided an introduction to industrial robots.





Every year in the summer, Vienna’s universities organize the KinderUni (children’s university). As part of this year’s KinderUni, Robots in Architecture is hosting a half-day robot workshop targeted at children between 7 and 12. We’re looking forward to it!

VDI: Industrial Robotics 2012

In Mid-June, the Association for Robots in Architecture was invited to present their research at the VDI’s (Association for German Engineers) conference on industrial robots in Baden-Baden/Germany. We had a very interesting time and impressed quite a few people with how easily complex, robotic tasks can be programmed and automated using KUKA|prc.

Rob|Arch Robolab

For our robot-courses at TU Vienna we have now moved all our industrial robots to the Arsenal, an industrial area currently rented by the university and also the location of many of the Rob|Arch 2012 workshops. We are now housing one KUKA KR16-2 with KRC2, one KUKA KR16-2 with the new KRC4 control unit and Smartpad, as well as an ABB IRB120, which will be used for Thibault Schwartz‘s workshop. Coming soon are three more Staeubli robots for the Sci-Arc workshop. Our students have much fun exploring the capabilities of these very different robots. See below photos of a recent workshop that sees KUKA and ABB robots harmoniously cooperating on one of our student’s project. We want to thank the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Klaus Semsroth, and GUT-director Gerald Hodecek, for making this happen, as well as KUKA, ABB, and Staeubli for their support.





Upcoming Events

17.7. KinderUni half-day robot workshop for children aged 7-12

10. – 11.9. Robot workshop at eCAADe 2012 in Prague/Czech Republic

14.-18.12. Rob|Arch 2012 conference & workshops

Rob|Arch 2012 Registration is now open

ROB|ARCH has been initiated by the Association for Robots in Architecture as a new conference series on the use of robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, closely linking industry with cutting-edge research institutions.

In addition to the previously announced seven workshops, hosted by TU DelftUniversity of MichiganUniversity of StuttgartTU GrazETH ZurichTU ViennaHal, and the Association for Robots in Architecture at four locations throughout Europe, SciArc is joining the Rob|Arch 2012 conference and will be offering another robot workshop. Staeubli is providing three industrial robots for the workshop, which is going to take place alongside three other robot workshops at TU Vienna’s Arsenal location.

The registration for the Rob|Arch 2012 conference is now open at

Thanks to the generous support of our main sponsor KUKA, our sponsors ABB, Schunk, as well as our workshop sponsors Staeubli, Zeman, SuperTex and Euchner, we can offer an reduced early-registration fee of 50% for professionals and even 70% for students.

499 – early Regular registration: One robot workshop (to be selected in the registration form), conference admission, conference dinner, and printed Springer proceedings.

299 – early Student registration: One robot workshop (to be selected in the registration form), conference admission and conference dinner. Printed Springer proceedings are available at a reduced price.

The early registration prices are valid until October 1st, workshop spaces are limited to allow every participant plenty of time with the robots. At the moment, conference-only registration is not available; we encourage all participants of the conference to attend a robot workshop.

Due to the much higher than expected amount of submitted abstracts, the full paper submission will use the well-established OpenConf system to facilitate the review process. Full papers, using the provided template at, can be submitted until the 16th of July. Everyone is eligible to submit papers, though authors who previously submitted abstracts do have the advantage of having received valuable feedback from the reviewers.

KUKA|prc Tutorial and Update

A few weeks ago we introduced our students at TU Vienna to Grasshopper and KUKA|prc and prepared a short (~2 hour) tutorial. Due to popular request, we are now making the files and the accompanying slides publicly available

You can download the tutorial files from here

Please note that this tutorial was initially prepared as a reference for the students who actively attended the workshop and not as a standalone-tutorial. If you run into any problems, send me an eMail


We have also fixed some bugs in KUKA|prc and uploaded a new version, which should be 100% compatible with the previous version. As always, you can get it from here. There may be some compiler issues, so if you encounter any problems, the old version can still be downloaded from here – let us know if anything isn’t working properly.

The next major release of KUKA|prc , which is already running beautifully on our machines, will quite radically change the way KUKA|prc works and – if everything goes as planned – be published along with some proper tutorials and videos.

Robots in Architecture Fieldtrip!

This year, our course Architectural Geometry at TU Vienna (Sigrid Brell-Cokcan & Johannes Braumann – Association for Robots in Architecture, Michael Hofer – WWTF, Michael Eigensatz – Evolute) was stormed by no less than 70 students, thereby posing serious logistical troubles as such a group would not safely fit into TU Vienna’s model building workshop.

Fortunately, ABB Austria was so kind to offer us to use their facilities in Wiener Neudorf, including no less than 4 robots from really small to really large – time for a fieldtrip! As guest lecturer, we invited Thibault Schwartz, Association for Robots in Architecture member and developer of HAL, to present his work to our students. It was an eventful day, with much hands-on robot time.

We even hosted our very own robot competition, whose grand prize – a toy-robot with movable axes – was provided by ABB, along with some ABB-branded wine for the runner-ups. We want to thank to David Kittel and Martin Kohlmaier for being supportive on such short notice!

Robots in Architecture @ KUKA CEE

On March 1st, KUKA CEE celebrated the opening of its new robot college in Linz, Austria. Robots in Architecture was invited to provide the evening’s robotic entertainment using the on-site available KUKA KR16-2 robots with the new KRC4 control unit and SmartPAD interface.

Usually at such events, the robots are programmed to do one task over and over again – however, we really wanted every guest to have an individual object to take home and to remember a great robotic evening. Using our custom-developed KUKA|prc plugin for Grasshopper – which is available for download here – we developed parametric definitions that immediately transformed individual input data into robot toolpaths.

The first robot performed parametric punching using gradients that the guests were drawing themselves on an iPad, while the second robot had a milling spindle with a conical milling tool as an endeffector. Due to the shape of the tool, variations in toolpath depth resulted in holes of varying diameters – an effect that was amplified by using white polyurethane blocks coated with black acrylic coating, resulting in a stark contrast between the black surface and the white holes. Portraits of the guest themselves, shot just a few minutes before the milling of each piece, were used to control the fully automated toolpath generation. As you can see in the video, the result was not abstract art, but immediately recognizable portraits done in a way that only a robot can do.

Many VIPs from industry and politics enjoyed the Robots in Architecture show, taking their portraits immediately to their next appointments instead of having them sent via mail. It is great to have KUKA as supporting members of our Association and we expect more great leaps forward in the near future!



Call for Papers | Rob|Arch 2012: Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art, and Design |
Workshops: 14.-16.12.2012 / Conference: 17.-18.12.2012

ROB|ARCH has been initiated by the Association for Robots in Architecture as a new conference series on the use of robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, closely linking industry with cutting-edge research institutions.

For the first time, ROB|ARCH 2012 will bring together international university partners who will open their robotic research labs to a creative use and present an insight in their applied robotic research at various locations throughout Europe. While the international workshops will be distributed at university partners, the following conference will take place in Vienna, a city well known for its living quality, but also a hotspot for technology and innovation.

The internationally renowned publishing house Springer Wien/New York will publish and market the proceedings of the conference worldwide with the following topics:

-design to robotic fabrication
-rapid prototyping with industrial robots
-mass customisation
-robots beyond industrial uses
-robotic aesthetics
-customized robotics
-digital and physical robotic interfaces


Free sponsor “pre-workshops” for ABB Robot Studio and Grasshopper

14.12. – 16.12.2012
Conference workshops:
@Rotterdam: 2x ABB IRB6400 by TU Delft and University of Michigan/Jelle Feringa & Wes McGee
@Stuttgart: KUKA KR125/2 by University Stuttgart / Achim Menges & Tobias Schwinn
@Graz: ABB IRB6600 by TU Graz / Andreas Trummer
@Zurich: KUKA KR150 by ETH Zurich and ROB Technologies / Gramazio & Kohler
@Vienna: 2x KUKA LWR by TU Vienna / Marcus Vincze et al.
@Vienna: ABB IRB120 by HAL /  Thibault Schwartz

Conference sessions at TU Vienna

Paper Submission

We invite authors to submit papers with original research relating to the use of robots in architecture, art, and design. An international scientific committee consisting of researchers and practising architects will evaluate the papers and provide feedback to the authors. The selected papers are published in the Springer proceedings and presented at the conference in Vienna.

Electronic Submission of Abstracts 04.06.2012
Electronic Submission of Full Papers 16.07.2012
Author notification 10.09. 2012
Final Paper due 01.10.2012

Information and Contact
See for details and up-to-date information. For any questions regarding the Rob|Arch 2012 conference, please contact

Sigrid Brell Cokcan & Johannes Braumann
Conference Chairs, Association for Robots in Architecture

Major KUKA|prc Update

We are proud to present the latest version of KUKA|prc – parametric robot control for Grasshopper!

This is a major release and includes various significant improvements, including…

…kinematic simulation of multiple robots
…compatibility with the new KUKA KRC4 control unit
…customizable end-effector geometry
…reachability analysis
…axis limits
…checking for large axis reorientations
…custom start/end position for each job
…and many more!

Download it from HERE and see the video above or HERE!

For troubleshooting or feature requests, send an eMail to robots [at]

Please note that this update breaks compatibility with older versions of the plugin, so when you open a file with an older version of the KUKA|prc plugin, the old component will disappear with an error message. Just put in the new component from the KUKA|prc tab, re-connect it, and you’re good to go.