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Digital Turn, Semblr

18 May–9 Jun 2018

Semblr was on display at the Building Centre from 18 May until 9 June 2018, as a prelude to the Digital Turn exhibition which opened on 20 June 2018.

Semblr explores automated construction technologies for the built environment. It suggests a predominantly recyclable material system of engineered timber and steel bricks, designed using data-driven generative algorithms, and robotically assembled without human labour.

The bricks have subdivisions along each edge which allow custom robots to connect them together at finite, known locations. These connection points are interchangeable with their digital representations, so algorithms can be used to generate brick aggregations which are immediately buildable: a direct connection between digital file, construction sequence and physical functionality.

This challenges many established societal norms and conventions of building production, use and their role in the economy as objects of capital. Thought has therefore been given to the potential application of the technology in society to achieve a beneficial outcome. In the housing scenario exhibited, Semblr proposes a new model of ‘social housing’, not merely built with government subsidy, but instead driven by the democratised mastery of sustainable, near-zero marginal cost, and fully-automated construction processes.


Ivo Tedbury developed Semblr at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) where it received the Ambrose Poynter Prize & Sir Andrew Taylor Prize. Semblr was also awarded a commendation at the RIBA President’s Medals Awards 2017.

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