Again, this year ASK graduate, Łukasz Iwan, took honorable mention in International Architectural Thesis Award in category of sustainable design. Supervisor of thesis work was arch. Jan Słyk, PhD.
The project is an investigation seeking what technologies can offer us in harvesting safe crops and transforming our degraded rural landscapes. It proposes a modified rural environment as a consequence of information society residing in rural areas. The Robofarm being operated by intelligent machinery is a new environment that consists of five major elements:
1. Robot- The concept of a robot managing the farm and elements of its essential infrastructure is designed. Further this thesis proposes a family of robots, where interaction between them can lead to performing complicated tasks like building houses, trimming greenery, harvesting, planting etc. The algorithms that allow robots to interact are based on sprawl intelligence of ants, where the whole system is a decision maker.
2. Fields- Robotic fields resulting from the appliance of crop mixing algorithms are a solution to an extensive use of fertilizers and chemicals. Machinery is replaced with intelligent robots that can navigate in three dimensional space to maintain harvesting, planting etc. For this part custom algorithms were written to simulate the motion of the crop planting robot producing geometrical patterns in the fields. A model is presented on the boards how the fields can be transformed in time due to an optimization of crop planting. The fields are represented by pixel matrix where each pixel holds an encoded information concerning the crops.
3. Garden- Similar rules of planting the fields can be used in creating the garden around the houses. Here the emphasis is placed not only on the optimization of plant distribution and resulting patterns but mostly on the pure essence of geometry creating the composition of the garden. Similar to baroque gardens the layout is strictly derived from the perception and fascination of geometrical shapes beauty.
4. Settlement-The proposed settlement is organized around a compost located in the center of the layout. Utilization of genetic material from plants can be used to produce electric energy to power the robots. Around the compost small plots are grown for seeds used to plant the fields.
5. House- The thesis also investigates possibilities of creating a contemporary country house. Traditional houses were analyzed to produce shape grammar rules which gave foundation to understanding how the plans were created and modified in time. Following these rules the plan is treated as an organism with cells that can modify in time. Algorithms were produced to allow modifications of each cell. Examples of custom made houses from clay built by the robots are presented.
This thesis is an attempt to tackle the threats of technological progress, proving that implementing technology in the countryside doesn’t have to draw dreadful visions of the future as long as the technology is wisely implemented while correlating with natural systems. It opens a new door in the field of architectural design incorporating robotics in the farmland, making the environment more intelligent and sustainable.