“Since 2016 I have been focusing on 3D-printing, additive manufacturing of architectural projects and providing research-informed designs for digital fabrication. My research explores the usage of robots as a design tool in the architectural process. Currently, I work as an independent architect and help innovative production companies to improve their technology for clients and designers.”
Aga’s work focuses on an exploration of the whole idea of using robots in architecture; she experiments at a range of scales with different techniques, materials and geometries. “My previous work with large-scale 3D printing made me realise how the use of robots can improve the work of the architect in general. Having a robot as a partner, you do not simplify the design process, but also discover new ways of producing shapes and forms. I would call it brand new digital craftsmanship.”
Born in Poznan, Poland to parents who first met on a building site, Aga grew up surrounded by the industry she now calls home. “My father was a professional builder and I grew up surrounded by all sorts of building tools and materials. I used to spend hours in his workshop and he was always willing to explain how good craft and construction site processes work. Certainly, this inspired me a lot to become an architect.”
It was through her studies at Poznan’s Academy of Fine Arts that Aga became aware of the overlapping applications of engineering, abstract art and design thinking. “Back then, it was quite an innovative approach based on a ‘concept first’ ideology,” she says. Through a number of design competitions and then an academic exchange programme in Shanghai, Aga realised the true future-thinking potential of architecture and returned to Poland to gain experience in a practice in Warsaw. “After 4 years there, I decided to follow my dreams and move to the Netherlands. I joined DUS Architects and, thanks to them, I discovered that additive manufacturing and large-scale 3D printing is my path in architecture.”
Aga cites the TINY [BAU]HAUS Pavilion as one of her most challenging and most successful projects during her time with DUS. “Everything there was quite challenging, from the 3D design concept development to the very short production time. The Pavilion was a great chance to present the whole spectrum of different 3D printing techniques. My task was to design facade panels and it was my first chance to implement this innovative technology to the one-piece building. Normally, you can find solutions you can refer to or redesign, but this time we were not only designing but basically inventing our own facade.”
“Back then, it was quite an innovative approach based on a ‘concept first’ ideology,” she says.
It’s 3D’s flexibility, simplicity and control which most fascinate Aga in her work. “You can go from one shape to another without any division. This is something unique in designing large-scale architecture, in particular. 3D printing allows you to design and control very small and very big details at the same time to make the whole product seamless. For example, the large scale pattern in most traditional buildings looks better from distance, but on closer inspection shows irregularities in its seams. These kinds of detailed patterns are also an expensive and time-consuming product in traditional builds. But with 3D printing technology, your design can be shaped in a way that you can touch this pattern at scale, feel it directly under your fingers and make the whole structure fully unified. Large-scale 3D printed small ornaments and big façade panels can be done in one piece. Buildings become a unique experience where you don’t feel lost in a big scale, but experience completely new quality of craft.”
Design and constant exploration are what keep Aga most excited about her work. “I am fascinated by the whole process of understanding and discovering a new thing, and what we can achieve in architecture by using robots, drones or AI... I am stoked by robots like SPOT Mini by Boston Dynamics on construction sites and I am waiting for moments when we can have more help from devices like this. I would love to have this kind of friend robot with me instead of a laptop.”
Aga is currently working on a start-up project based on European Space Agency technology which is employing robot-assisted additive manufacturing at scale. She also continues her research and exploration of how we can better employ these technologies in the future. “I believe when we change the system we build, we can create more sustainable buildings in every respect. It’s time to finish the era of ‘building is a machine’ and transition to the era where ‘machines are builders’.” Currently, Aga is working with Etcetera (https://www.etc.solutions/) a company that is designing innovative solutions for architectural products.
To learn more about Aga and her work, please connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram.