The Bartlett School of Architecture


AUAR Showcases Robotic House-Building Project at Global Investment Summit

22 October 2021

The summit, which took place on Tuesday 19 October in London, highlighted 12 of the UK’s best ‘green innovators’ to encourage international investment in green technology ahead of next week’s COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference UK).

Image: AUAR

The Global Investment Summit was devised to showcase innovative green technologies and companies in the UK, affirming the UK’s commitment to the carbon Net Zero target, demonstrating its post-Covid-19 recovery plan and making the case for global investment in UK companies. 200 decision makers, C-suite executives and investors were invited to the summit, which included physical demonstrations of featured technologies, products and services.

Automated Architecture Ltd (AUAR) were the only design practice invited to take part in the summit, and showcased a robotically assembled housing unit, a prototype for their modular building system. The London and Bristol-based design and technology company works in partnership with Automated Architecture Labs, a research laboratory within The Bartlett School of Architecture. Led by Mollie Claypool, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Claire McAndrew and Gilles Retsin, AUAR explores modular design, automation, generative design, AI and community collaboration.

AUAR describe their system as a way to contribute to tackling the housing deficit, with a need for 2 billion new homes in the next 80 years. The system prefabricates building blocks in renewable timber, and stacks them into units that can be delivered to a site and assembled locally. Automation allows the units to be customised in site-specific ways to suit the needs and preferences of inhabitants, and the timber blocks can be dismantled and reused elsewhere. The decentralised design and construction process enables AUAR to build closer to local communities rather than using importing materials or components, building community engagement and reducing the carbon footprint.

AUAR’s presentation was supported by ABB Robotics, their automation partner for the summit.

The demand for new homes is astronomical—two billion are needed in the next 80 years—yet the way we build them has not changed in hundreds of years. Traditional attempts to modernise housing construction results in extreme centralisation and huge capital expenditure, further widening the divide between housing developers and local communities. Our approach offers a community-driven, climate-conscious alternative—a way to revolutionise the way we design and build homes, and empower people and communities to live better and more sustainable lives.” 

- Mollie Claypool, AUAR Co-Founder and CEO

Our showcase businesses show why the UK is a global hub for green technology, and I am proud that Automated Architecture will be presenting their innovative robot-assembled automated sustainable construction systems for housing to some of the world's most high-profile investors at the summit. Our industries of the future like architecture will not only help ensure a cleaner, greener planet but also create high value jobs in Bristol, London and across the UK."

- Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment 

The summit preceded COP26, which takes place in Glasgow from 31 October - 12 November 2021. The climate talks will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

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Image: Automated Architecture