Check out the incredible brickwork completed by robots in Shanghai

robot shanghai art gallery robotic brick fabrication archi union fab architecture robotics china dezeen hero
Evidence of human architectural talent can be found around the world, from the Coliseum in Rome, to the pyramids in Egypt, to the Great Wall of China. But grand as these structures may be, humanity is being upstaged when it comes to building the infrastructure of the future. Meet Chinese studio Archi-Union Architects, which programmed robots to build a new art gallery in Shanghai’s West Bund district.

The stunning facade of the gallery could only be achieved by way of computer software, which was used to program robots that carefully and precisely placed each brick in its rightful position. This created the distinct undulating design that sets the building apart.

This isn’t the first time Archi-Union Architects has combined old school materials with very new technology — it recently completed another contemporary arts center that has curved concrete walls also manufactured by robots.

As Dezeen reports, the new gallery’s “entrance is set into a slightly concave opening, around which the facade bulges outwards, creating a fluid form that belies its brick construction.” The architects noted of their new structure, “The dilapidation of these old bricks, coordinated with the stretched display of the curving walls, are narrating a connection between people and bricks, machines and construction, design and culture.”

The building boasts various textures across its facade — for example, near the top of the structure, a random perforated pattern makes for an interesting effect.

Uplights integrated into the adjacent paving highlight the wrinkled surface. Above the three-dimensional section of the facade, the brickwork is laid with a randomly perforated pattern that adds a further element of textural detail to the elevations. And the architects designed a new roof that rises and falls with the building.

“The roof has been replaced with a lightweight and more efficient tensioning string wood structure, part of which is lifted to obtain the skylight indicating the climate change, which presents a sense of harmony,” the architects noted. Even the interior of the building is a sight to behold, with the ceiling made of a ridged timber structure, featuring suspended lighting from tensile steel cables. You can see the architects’ full gallery of images here.

So if you find yourself in China anytime soon, add this art gallery to the list of architectural marvels you’ll want to check out.


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