Yesterday night the first installation to be built by flying machines opened its doors to the public. An hour or so after the Opening, after most of the crowd had gone to drink champagne in the building next door, I snuck upstairs and recorded a few short clips of the quadrocopters.
The installation, called “Flight Assembled Architecture”, was conceived and built by teams led by my colleagues Fabio Gramazio & Matthias Kohler as well as Raffaello D’Andrea at the ETH Zurich. It illustrates a radically new way of thinking about materializing architecture: Use a multitude of mobile flying agents working in parallel and acting together as a scalable production means. As you can see in the video, the quadrocopters are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble small modules in order to erect a building.
The tower is actually a 1:100 model of a “vertical village” with a height of 600 meters and housing 30’000 inhabitants. To learn more about the technology (control architecture, collision avoidance and freeway based flight, prick placement, safety systems, etc.) and architectural aspects (geographic location, transit times, access plans, structural and wind tunnel analysis, etc.), have a look at http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/Research_DAndrea/fmec
– Markus Waibel