ETH Zurich is currently working on the future of timber construction. Specifically, the idea is for robots to take over the assembly of large-format panels into complex structures. They relieve the woodworker of the heavy lifting and exact positioning of the individual panel parts and make complex substructures superfluous. Only the application of the butt joint bonding according to the new TS3 technology is left to the timber construction specialist.
In this way, around 300 complexly bonded Schilliger large-format panels were assembled into five oversized green shells. These form the 22.5-metre-high architectural sculpture “Semiramis”, which has been standing on the site of the newly emerging Tech Cluster in Zug since June this year. Semiramis was designed by Gramazio Kohler Reearch, ETH Zurich, in collaboration with Müller Illien Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Timbatec Holzbauingenieure Schweiz AG and Erne AG Holzbau as general contractors.
Semiramis is a collaborative work that is innovative in many respects. Not only the assembly, but also the planning was computer-controlled. This made it possible to optimise factors such as sun protection, rain protection and plantable area. In the process, the software ensured that the wooden panels remained flat, their size did not exceed the specified maximum value and the structural load-bearing capacity was given. The sophisticated multi-robot assembly process with the four robots cooperating with the help of artificial intelligence is unprecedented of its kind. All this makes Semiramis a lighthouse project in architectural research.

Photo 1: Multi-robot assembly process at ETH Zurich.
Photo 2: Erecting the sculpture
Photo 3: Shell of a shell
Photo 4: Planting of a bowl

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