Design Studio HS2019 | Robotic Landscapes III

Design Studio HS2019 | Robotic Landscapes III
July 17, 2019 Fujan Fahmi

The HS 2019 Robotic Landscapes III studio is the second collaboration between the Chair of Christophe Girot and the Chair of Gramazio Kohler Research.


Introduction to the studio will take place on Tuesday, September 17th, 2019, HIB Open Space 3 (Arch_Tec_Lab) at 10 am.


Saturday, 28th September 2019 –  Sunday, 29th September 2019


Prof. Marco Hutter, RSL ETHZ  | Dr. Brian McArdell , WSL Birmensdorf | Dr. Ammar Mirjan, GKR ITA ETHZ | Mathias Bernhard, dbt ITA ETHZ | Dominic Jud, RSL ETHZ |  Fiona Maager, VAW ETHZ


Ilmar Hurkxkens, Fujan Fahmi, Benedikt Kowalewski, Jesús Medina


Results – Design Studio HS2017

Results – Design Studio HS2018


Ilmar Hurkxkens, PhD Researcher

Supported by the interdisciplinary research project ‘Construction Robotics’ of the NCCR Digital Fabrication ETH Zurich.

Reshaping a Dynamic River Landscape

The Gürbe River forms a valley between the Bernese Alps and Midlands, characterized by the distinctive lower alpine topography. Natural hazards in the Gürbe Valley have drastically increased in the last century. Long-lasting precipitation, in combination with rapid melting of snow triggers persistent landslides. In 1990 heavy rainfall invoked a debris flow of over 200’000 m3 of material causing substantial damage. After this event 60 barrage steps in the river were restored and reinforced to protect the settlements downstream. Unstable terrain in the upper watershed, however have damaged the check dams again, revealing the limits of conventional protective measures. This means that the Gürbe River now needs to be rethought and reshaped more naturally.

The HS 2019 Robotic Landscapes III studio is the third collaboration between the Chair of Christophe Girot and the Chair of Gramazio Kohler Research. Based on robotic principles and procedural design methods, the studio will investigate a range of conceivable landscape approaches to make the Gürbe River course more resilient. In response to the challenges of future catastrophes, this studio will ask students to develop innovative topographic approaches over time that will ensure a long-term equilibrium of the river in this dynamic landscape. Moreover, the river could become an attractive recreational area with bathing pools serving the local fauna and inhabitants. A series of Workshops in robotic modeling (Rhino and Grasshopper plugins), lectures, a compulsory weekend on-site visit at the Gürbe River site, as well as critiques and workbooks will help students attain the high landscape design skills and objectives set by this studio.

Drone Video, June 2019, Benedikt Kowalewski – Chair Girot