- Austrian architect Wolf D. Prix, who is using robots in the construction of his Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition project in Shenzhen, China, told Dezeen that combining robotics and 3-D printing could make building complex structures significantly easier and could be the key to solving the global refugee crisis.
- The Coop Himmelb(l)au founder said that using robots to assemble 3-D-printed prefabricated parts could speed up the building of refugee housing while keeping the process economical.
- Prix emphasized that robots and 3-D printing have their place alongside traditional building methods, and he said he believes their use will give architects more freedom to invent and investigate new aesthetics, Dezeen reported.
This is just the latest news about the use of 3-D printing to build housing, hotels, and office buildings, on a faster and larger scale than ever before. However, Prix, unlike some other proponents of 3-D printing and robotic construction, acknowledges the potential fallout of replacing traditional construction labor with these methods.
For example, on his current museum project in China, robots will assemble a cloud-shaped, stainless steel structure at the center of the museum, leaving the remainder of the building, for now, to standard construction practices.
"In Austria the building industry is an indicator of economic growth. If Austria has to fire workers on the site, it will create great social problems," Prix told Dezeen. "People should not lose their jobs. We have to train them in another way and teach them to understand and handle complex solutions. I think this is the next step in changing the building industry."
While there’s no immediate, obvious solution to strike the balance, Prix believes there’s room for accepted architectural design and practices alongside innovation.
"The simultaneity of systems is what our complex world needs to have. There should be traditional, conservative shapes next to the most progressive freeform," Prix told Dezeen. "I think the combination of robotic construction and 3D printing is the future of the building industry."