Norman Foster Foundation Atelier 2017—Robotics

November 2017

This year’s Robotics Atelier, related to design and building, was explored in a week-long event hosted in the Madrid Headquarters of the Norman Foster Foundation

The first Norman Foster Foundation Robotics Atelier took place on 20-24 November 2017, supported by the Rolex Institute.

Ten scholarships were given to students selected by the following universities and institutions: The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, UK; Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD), Stuttgart, Germany; Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Madrid, Spain; National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore; Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, India; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA, USA; Universidad Iberoamericana de Ciencias y Tecnología, Santiago, Chile; Ashesi University, Accra, Ghana; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland; Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), Barcelona, Spain.

Society is on the edge of being transformed through robotics and artificial intelligence. These technological innovations have the potential to change every aspect of our lives in far-reaching ways. Last June, in the Norman Foster Foundation’s inaugural forum ‘Future is Now’, a glimpse was given into how the world of construction would be revolutionised by these developments in what could prove to be a second digital era.

The selected students engaged with a group of specialists through a series of seminars and lectures culminating in a five days workshop led by the Atelier mentor, Professor Matthias Kohler and his team. Leading robotics manufacturer Universal Robots lent three units of their highly flexible robot arm, the UR5 Robot, to the Atelier.

Contributors to the workshop included Luis Miguel Ciprés, CEO of Barrabés Next, Pablo Jarauta, Coordinator of the European Institute of Design (IED) Scientific Committee, Amelie Klein, Curator at Vitra Museum, and Gijs Van der Velden, Co-CEO of MX3D.

The Robotics Atelier included workshops, seminars, lectures, one-to-one tutoring, and development of projects by the students. As a way to disseminate knowledge and ideas, the public lectures were recorded and live-streamed through the Norman Foster Foundation’s website. The lectures were documented for publication in an annual series published by the Norman Foster Foundation.

During the course of the workshops, participants had the opportunity to engage with the Norman Foster Foundation’s archive and research projects.