Robotics offers great potential for innovation within the construction industry. However, in their current implementation applied to the architectural field, these systems all share a specific limitation: the objects they produce are linked to and constrained proportionally to the size of the machine. This methodology of production and construction is not scalable. In this sense, to create a house, using current construction robotics, the machine needed must have a work envelope as large as the house itself.



Minibuilders aims to address this particular limitation through the creation of a technology that is both scalable and capable of fabricating structures using tools that are independent of the final products shape of size.


The objective was to develop a family of small-scale construction robots, all mobile and capable of constructing objects far larger than the robot itself.


Moreover, each of the robots developed was to perform a diverse task, linked to the different phases of construction, finally working together as a family towards the implementation of a single structural outcome. Hence, instead of the implementation of one large machine, a number of much smaller robots were generated, working independently, but in coordination, towards a single goal.



Seven months of research were dedicated to the development of this project by IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, in the framework of the Open Thesis Fabrication postgraduate programme in 2013, specifically by the researchers:



  • Shihui Jin

  • Stuart Maggs

  • Dori Sadan

  • Cristina Nan


And led by IAAC faculty:


  • Saša Jokić

  • Petr Novikov.



This project was also made possible thanks to the sponsorship of SD Ventures, culminating with the production of a large-scale print. A 1.5-metre high prototype structure was printed in the exterior exhibition space of the Design Museum of Barcelona (Dhub), proving to be a positive outcome for the research entailed.