An integrated approach towards hillside building design for automated construction

  • YEAR
    Tong, Philip
    Wilhelm, Hans-Christian
    2020 Conference Papers
    Building, Tectonics & Energy; Design Education & Research; History & Theory in Architectural Science; Modes of Production & Mass Customization; Smart & Intelligent Cities
    Conference Papers


In many cities under urbanisation pressures, sloping topographies tend to be under-utilised due to complex designs and difficult access/navigation on-site, resulting in low construction productivity and high cost. Extensive research has been conducted on increasing productivity in the building industry through automation. A similarly prolific area of research from the 1970s and 80s are hillside dwellings that resulted, however, mostly in high-end individual houses. This research combines concepts for automated and prefabricated construction with hillside dwelling design and proposes a method of design that integrates both aspects, generating innovative, site-specific design outcomes. The aim is to develop a parametric framework of design in which site infrastructure for automated construction on hillsides is integrated with the dwelling design to improve productivity and use more affordable hillside sites. Analysis of design typologies for hillside housing and research into automated construction allows for development of high-density, low-rise dwelling structures suited for serial, automation-assisted construction, with the topography as a design-generator. The design method is tested and refined on a case-study site in Wellington, New Zealand. Investigation into the geometric implications of automated construction on hillside sites allows for architects to design so that such processes are incorporated into the building from the start.

Keywords: Automated; construction; parametric design; hillside dwelling


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