As technology continues to develop in ways that seemed only applicable to the sci-fi genre of film and literature just a few decades ago, we are seeing a difference in all strands of everyday life. We could soon be looking at the massive impact of robots and automation within the architecture world, with a country such as China leading the way in exciting and innovative ways to design, plan and build new structures and ever-larger urban cities and wider regions.
China specifically is an interesting case as it is in the middle of experiencing an unprecedented level of population growth and urbanisation. With so many millions of people moving to the cities, as well as the major cities in the country becoming global in their population makeup, and outlook, it has been vital to look at new ways to build with speed and cost effectiveness. The question is though, at what cost to architectural design and integrity will this process come?
Historically the Chinese identity and architectural design was iconic, but in modern times, with the need to build high and fast to allow for fast migration to the cities, we are starting to see an homogeneity to the city skylines, with nondescript buildings all of a sudden taking centre stage. The artistry surrounding Chinese architecture is getting lost in the maelstrom of modern necessity. The world is witnessing a similar approach across most countries, in the West as well as the developing nations. Tower blocks full of apartments for young professionals and students moving in to the cities from regional areas in every country will find a similar design to both the exterior of the structures and the interiors of their new homes.
This is where automation and the use of robotics have started to come into play on ever-more popular levels. With the advancement of technology and robotics we could be about to move into an era where architectural design is paired with digital fabrication and robotics to produce highly sophisticated designs and buildings in the short-space of time that is now necessary across the board. This could be tower blocks for domestic use, large-scale commercial buildings, or even on an urban planning scale, with the use of automation to produce artistic structures in public spaces and parks.
Automation and the use of digital fabrication could be the key to getting back to the traditional levels of intricacy in design and build that we saw extensively in countries such as China. Computational design and algorithms, paired with the use of robotic arms and digital techniques and methods will allow for greater sophistication at the same speed that the bland, homogenous buildings of the past decade or more take to be built. It is an exciting time for architects the world over, as they are about to have the chance to build ever more innovative structures for myriad uses, without the worry of intricate detail spiralling costs and timescales. When the use of robots and automation reaches optimum levels it will be a game changer within architecture.