BauAbschnitte - Construction Stages


Food4Thought: why not develop robot-centered floor plans?

Not so elaborately researched in advance as usual, today I am going to more spontaneously develop and share my ideas with you.

The current pandemic has a huge effect on our “normal” life and one (tiny) effect for me is that I don’t really like strangers or household help to come into my home anymore, ergo I’ve started to do the cleaning myself… and in the meantime, I’ve been so fed up that I want to buy one of those frickin expensive Robot Vacuum and Mop Combos that will take over the annoying work (“housework” is only fun for me in an academic sense #writingoverwiping).

Yet this kind of vacuum cleaner requires a decent amount of human prep work every time (of which putting chairs up is only one small part) and those robots don’t properly get into those hard-to-reach bits like corners or under cabinets.

So as an architect-to-be, I immediately asked myself: why not develop a robot-centered floor plan?

My so far more amateurish exploration into architecture has led me to realise with a certain degree of astonishment that we really don’t seem to have made much progress in terms of floor plans. Regardless of what I look at: documentaries about so-called dream houses or detailed descriptions of apartment buildings… as innovative as the materials or construction methods may seem to be: when it comes to actual floor planning, all this innovation seems to somehow get lost. The classic trio of kitchen, hall, bathroom plus a living room and bedroom have become the decades-old standard. As efficient and cost effective as possible, rectangular, practical, but less than ideal.

But I only enjoy complaining as long as I can do something about the less-than-optimum state of affairs. So I sat down at my (amateur) desk and started drawing ROUND.

Robot-round, Robot-Vacuum-and-Mop-Combo-round. Drawing a thought experiment out of circles, which I would like to share with you here.

The impromptu result was a standard size flat with about 80 m2 (ca. 861ft²).  Still with the trio kitchen, bathroom and hall plus living room and bedroom. But this time round, with no single corner.

Since this is notoriously difficult to furnish, I noticed two essentials for the robot-centered floor plan while experimenting:

- Architecturally pre-planned BUILD-IN cabinets with doors opening UPWARDS or wall-hangable are needed.

- A large or the entire STORAGE ROOM needs to be on stilts high enough so that the robot can slide underneath it (and also park in a conveniently concealed charging station).

This is my very rough draft (please note that I have not yet started my architecture course. This floor plan is  more a mindmap… as after all this type of method is known for considering all initial thoughts and ideas as valid, where nothing can be regarded as “wrong” per se.) It is clear that it still needs some refinement from a professional. And it is also clear that there are already (a few) round houses  kicking about and there have been (a few) architects not only from modern times who have included “round” in their concept.

What is new, however, is my idea about conceiving a floor plan that takes into account robots or artificial intelligence. With the aim of finally leaving those outdated floor plans behind.

20210306v1 Robotik Grundriss.jpg

Fundamentally, I am always guided by the idea that a floor plan should remain flexible to the changing needs of the occupants. With the exception of technically predetermined elements such as plumbing systems for the kitchen and bathroom, I believe that all rooms should be used and adapted according to individual needs.

A small everyday example here: the only room with a south-facing window is our bathroom (terrible planning in an otherwise lovely rented (!) flat). So we designed the room to be as homely as possible and depending on the amount of sunshine it becomes a “sun-recharge room” when the window is open (luckily a lounger fits in), or a “sun salutation room” (there’s room for a yoga mat if you move the lounger out again) or a classic “sun-or-also-no-sun wellness (bath-)room”.

You can find a ton of examples for creative uses of floor plans on the internet, I’ll be sure to write an one-pager about it soon.

So, if you have had enough of my amateur opinion: please feel free to send over either your amateur or expert opinion. Let’s think about floor plans together that - at the very least - make our cleaning easier. I look forward to hearing from you!

And: from a very professional perspective you can find in this short video here a nice and at the same time rare example of a fancy floor plan. 

The architect from the clip says when designing the floor plan that ‘it’s more about a question than a solution. It’s the journey we are looking at’.

This floor plan has nothing to do with Robot Vacuum and Mop Combos but it too is understood by the architects and residents as an experiment, where materials are used in unconventional ways and through ROUNDings create ‘dialogues of different geometries’. Have fun watching!

Admin - 11:40 @