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Project Title: R.A.M. | Robotically Assembled Magneto-Scape

Type: Competition

Categories: Architecture, Material System, Urban System

Location: Antartica

Credits: Sushant Verma, Pradeep Devadass, Akshay Goyal


R.A.M. is conceived as a robotically fabricated prototypical city as part of the International Scientific Research Center (ISRC) in Antarctica. Characterized by frozen moonscapes, harsh environmental conditions, and an extremely fragile ecosystem Antarctica is the the last uninhabited terrain on the planet. It is presently occupied by more than 5000 scientists and researchers from all over the world. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 established the continent as a frontier for non military use, for pursuing research while protecting the continent's ecology. ISRC is conceived as an extension to the original goal of this treaty. ISRC is a proposal to create a permanent settlement where scientists and researchers from all over the world can live and work. It will promote multidisciplinary collaborative research for the advancement of science, contributing its part for the development of humanity. ISRC is a self-sustainable settlement, produces its own food and energy, and maintains homeostasis with the volatile environment.


Architecturally conceived and built using a novel technology, it demonstrates the use of swarm robotics, generative algorithmic design, artificial intelligence and smart materials. This systemic innovation involves looking at architecture not just as a spatial agency but as a dynamic system of real-time dialogue between the design agency, the producer and the output tectonics. The system’s deployment is conceived as a five stage process  based on a multi- agent system consisting of swarms of flying robotic quad-rotors with a cloud based - distributed intelligence. As part of the first stage, the swarm of robotic quad rotors map the environmental and topographical parameters and relay the information to the cloud. This creates a global awareness in the system which helps situate the actual building in the environment based on criteria like topography, ice depth etc.  The explorer bots trigger a sequence of events through a virtual stigmergic logic, leading to the assembly of the structural meshing consisting of ferro-magnetic concrete cores. Instead of a top down process involving the imposition of a designed object, the ISRC will be created by a 'designed' system which leads to a emergent and initially indeterminate architectural construct. Based on a generative algorithm the design system based in the cloud determines the programmatic requirement, and provides the initial mesh trajectories. These are then optimized based on an environmental and structural optimization process. There is a real-time dialogue between these constructors (quad-rotors in this case) and the design system (algorithm based in the cloud) during the assembly process. The magnets embedded in the quad-rotors allow for a real-time process of correction and optimization of the ferromagnetic concrete mesh. 


Use of state of the art technologies improves the performance and ensures higher efficiency during the life-cycle of the system. Living and working areas are distributed in ice insulated pneumatic structures throughout the center. The pneumatic nature of spaces allows for spaces to be incrementally added in the center when required. Recreation & communal spaces are arranged around the ecological biomes. In vitro meat labs and plant material grown in the artificial biomes produces the majority of the food for the settlement. Luminescent algal bioreactors, wind generators and geothermal heat exchange plants cater to the energy requirement of the center. The robotic quadrotors when not building help in maintenance and research. The ISRC seeks to be the next generation settlement where humans and machines are in symbiosis with an intelligent environment. 


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