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MSc 2 CS 2023: Rhizome 2.0

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In Spring semester 2023 students engage in the investigation of off-Earth habitats as computationally designed and robotically 3D-printed and assembled structures. Such habitats embed Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their sensor-actuator mechanisms that ensure life-support and allow users to customise their operation. Physical and software components are, in this context, deeply intertwined. Their static and dynamic modalities involve customization and adaptation, which will be achieved by means of Design-to-Robotic-Production and -Operation (D2RP&O).

The course content builds upon the ESA-funded project | Rhizome 1.0 from 2021-22 that focused on developing the design of subsurface 3D printed porous structures on Mars using regolith-based concrete that can be produced via In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU). In the Rhizome 2.0 study starting 2023 the 3D printing approach will focus on possibilities to print with cementless concrete. An overview on ISRU is available here: | Regolith as future habitat construction material.

While various studies have been implemented, the subdivision of space and the integration of environmental control remained sketchy. Also, the Computer Vision (CV) and Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) supported assembly of the 3D printed components stayed underdeveloped. Hence, new approaches will be 2023 developed based on the assumption that the habitat serves as workspace and home to 3-5 astronauts.

Additional information is available in the brief: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Y4WxILwKaIpaJbHCP3blSsODjmOjmZffSw1okusKMi8/edit


Several architectural firms and research institutions have been developing ideas for off-Earth construction such as | Autonomous Additive Construction on Mars by Foster+Partners and | Marsha.


The development of designs for customizable and/ or adaptive environments will be implemented based on user scenarios by students working in groups. They will employ D2RPA&O methods that link design directly to building production, assembly, and operation processes. While the Interactive Architecture Prototypes workshop (IAP) will focus on D2RP&A, the Interactive Architecture (IA) studio addresses the complete D2RPA&O process. In this context, students are encouraged to question conventional design processes in order to creatively challenge the interplay between contemporary culture, science, and technology, and their relationship to architecture.

While D2RP links design to materialisation by integrating all (from functional and formal to and structural) requirements in the design of building components, D2RO integrates robotic devices into those components that are then assembled in the D2RA phase. Together they establish the framework for robotic construction at building scale. The main consideration is that in architecture and building construction the ‘factory of the future’ will employ building materials and components that can be robotically processed and assembled. Thus, D2RPA&O processes incorporate material properties in design, control all aspects of the processes numerically, and utilise parametric design principles that can be linked to robotic production and operation.

The workshop and studio on D2RPA&O facilitate development of knowledge and skills in Parametric Design, Programming, and Robotics, which may be new or challenging to some students. In order to address this challenge, tutors are taking a problem-based learning approach. This is an interactive learning approach, wherein students are asked to identify what they know, what they need to learn, and how/ where to access new information, knowledge, and skills that may lead to solving a problem. In this context, students are asked to deal with different, even conflicting ideas co-existing in the contemporary architectural discourse. Students are encouraged to develop an informed opinion allowing them to operate in a dynamic environment that evolves in time depending on the development of their projects and their tutors' input. This implies that process and results emerge in the interaction between students, tutors, and employed data-driven tools and systems.


1. PPT presentation (uploaded to the wiki) showing project theme, design strategy, and design from schematic to developed and materialisation design levels.
2. 1- to max. 2-minutes video of D2RPA&O process uploaded to the CS-wiki.
3. Report (±1500 words) consisting of textual and photo/graphical documentation of D2RPA&O process developed during the course.
4. Clean Rhino and Grasshopper files and refined version D2RPA&O procedures.
5. 3D printed model and/ or 1:1 prototypes.


D2RP&A, CV, and HRI sessions are preliminarily scheduled as follows: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OaoXz1C9ZbPgeckIGXikOW4JW1EW4V5POB-ucsxlggk/edit


Henriette Bier, Arwin Hidding and Vera Laszlo (RB lab); Seyran Kahdemi and Casper van Engelenburg (AiDAPT lab); Micah Prendergast and Luka Peternel (CoR lab)


Groups 1-4