Materializing hybridity in architecture: design to robotic production of multi-materiality in multiple scales

Published in Means, Methods, Machines and Making in Architecture, Architectural Science Review Journal, Taylor and Francis


Sina Mostafavi, Benjamin. N. Kemper & Chong Du

Received 22 Nov 2018, Accepted 06 Aug 2019, Published online: 21 Aug 2019



Buildings consist of subsystems and components which have various functional and performance requirements. This inherent multiplicity demands the design and production of multi-material systems with varying and complementary properties and behaviours. This paper discusses a set of methods of digital design modelling and robotic production of hybridity in various architectural scales. In the case studies, the performance criteria serve as the underlying logic of the design and computation. The projects showcase how programmability and customizability of robotic manufacturing allow for establishing feedback loops from the production to design. Three projects are discussed in detail: a hybrid of flexible cork and rigid polystyrene, a hybrid of structural concrete with an intertwined permanent mould, and a hybrid of soft additively deposited silicone and subtractively produced hard foam. Each project has specific design performance criteria, with which a certain level of geometric complexity and variation is accomplished. Therefore, the research objective is to define and materialize the practical and robotically producible ranges of geometric complexities for each of the proposed methods. Additionally, the customization and development of robotic production setups are discussed. The research concludes that multi-materiality achieved through multimode robotic production methods introduces a higher, on-demand, and performance-driven resolution in building systems.


Hybriditymultimode robotic productionmulti-materialitysubtractive–additive manufacturingmaterial architecturearchitectural roboticssilicone 3d printingrobotic 3d printing


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