Digital construction: Archi Union uses cyborg fabrication to build a venue in Shanghai for the 2018 world artificial intelligence conference, in just 100 days
Architecture studio Archi-union has used digital construction techniques (prefab robotic construction and 3D printing), taking just 100 days, to build and complete one of the main venues for the world artificial intelligence conference, that took place in Shanghai last September 2018 (WAIC). This has been the first case of robot-assisted construction based on a man-machine cooperation basis.
Located near the vibrant Xuhui waterfront in the heart of Shanghai, the 8,885 square meter space has been realized through a simple form, pragmatic construction, cyborg ingenuity and a completely prefabricated construction system.
“Venue B” is situated in the West Bund art center, close to other cultural spaces such as the David Chipperfield’s art museum, the Tank Shanghai Art Park and the new SANAA office space.
Archi-union has divided the building into three main pavilions, in line with the area spatial planning and according to different functions, such as future exhibitions, summits, and forums.
In front of the pavilions the architects placed “Elytra filament“, a black and white structure built by a team of students from the Stuttgart University for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE).
The white colour of Venue B connects spaces and blends harmoniously with the surrounding public buildings, while its rather sober shape is typical of buildings on the west coast of Shanghai.
The complex is surrounded by a garden courtyard alternating to large squares and features three conference venues that stand at slightly rotated angles to each other. These angles create triangular spaces in between the halls.
Internally, visitors can feel the warmth of the white timber structure. When the two entrance spaces are completely open, they become one thing with the city fabric, while when they are semi-open, they connect the three main buildings and indicate the internal flows and circulation.
The vaulted wooden roof of the atriums has a 40-meter span, 50 cm thick beams, and covers an area of 2,000 square meters. It was built in just 29 days!
In the large entrance garden, Archi-Union has designed a 120-square-meter 3D printed cafe with about 50 seats, and spaces for resting and socializing during summits.
The three summit rooms are closed to the outside to avoid any interference during conferences due to traffic disturbance, while the internal facades overlooking the gardens are completely open to bring in natural light and air.
Furthermore, the three pavilions consist of a light aluminum truss system, which generated an accurate, rapidly-made and light type of construction. Following the need of rapid construction times, the internal materials used are conventional products, while the main façade has a refined polycarbonate curtain that creates a translucent spatial pattern, elegantly filtering the city and projecting it inside the exhibition space.
In conclusion, thanks to digital design and manufacturing technologies, completing 200 square meters of printed building areas, 40 printed chairs and 12 tables took only 25 days.