Robotic Craftsmanship: Making New History with Traditional Materials
Archi-Union’s work merges the traditions of craft seen in Chinese wood joinery, ceramics, and masonry with their long-term research in the field of construction technology. Robotic and other advanced fabrication is applied to the materials and assembly techniques in order to reinvent the expressive possibilities of building surfaces.These approaches are displayed via three recently completed projects. The first, Chi She is an exhibition space to house an artist collective of the same name in Shanghai. The building renovates and reinforces an existing structure by providing a new facade that is undulating with varied bricklaying completed by robotic bricklayers. In Bamboo is a cultural exchange center for the rural community of Daoming Town in the Sichuan Province of China. The building is formed with an inwardly overlapping, ring-shaped tiled roof supported by a light, prefabricated steel frame. Fab-Union is an art and cultural space in Shanghai with a hyperbolic paraboloid wall constructed in poured concrete that twists through the center of the building. The models of these buildings are sitting on plinths that demonstrate the new geometries of this type of material research.
Archi-Union Architects was founded by Philip F. Yuan in 2003. Their practice is focused on the integration of Chinese traditional culture and digital technology including computational design, robotic fabrication, and architectural industrialization.
There are currently over 70 designers in the office. Recent projects include Linear House-Jiujiantang in Shanghai, Lanxi Curtilage in Chengdu, Taisheng Garden, Jade Museum, Shangart Gallery on the West Bund, Fab-Union, Chi She, Hefei Bashang Street Mixed-use Project, Shanghai Stomatological Hospital, Songjiang Art Campus, Aux Campus (Shanghai) etc.
Archi-Union has been actively involved in the relevant academic activities and exhibitions including the Hong Kong Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Milan Triennial.