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Seoul Will Welcome a Robot Science Museum Constructed by Robots

Robots and drones will be involved in all aspects of the project, including design, manufacture and assembly

Construction is slated to begin in 2020, with the museum officially opening its doors in late 2022 (Visualization by Ediz Akyalçın)
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Seoul’s Robot Science Museum (RSM) will welcome its inaugural exhibition before construction is even complete: As Dezeen’s India Block explains, robots and drones are expected to play a prominent role in all stages of the building’s assembly, enabling the eclectic institution to spotlight robotic technology’s potential from the very beginning of the project.

According to World Architecture, the planned 2,500-square-meter spherical structure is the brainchild of Melike Altınışık Architects, or MAA. The Turkish firm—best known for its work on the Çamlıca TV and Radio Tower, a futuristic, 369-meter-tall spire currently under construction in Istanbul—was chosen to design the museum following an international competition hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. For Geek.com, Genevieve Scarano notes that the government issued an open call for blueprints that would “support public education in robots and raise awareness” of artificial intelligence initiatives.

MAA’s proposal emphasizes the creation of a “universe for robots and their visitors,” Kat Barandy writes for DesignBoom. The museum’s oblong, non-directional shape (as opposed to a more standard “rigid and orthogonal form”) will work to further this goal by allowing the building to engage with surrounding public spaces in a variety of ways. As Arch Daily’s Niall Patrick Walsh observes, the completed museum is expected to stand alongside a Photographic Art Museum in the burgeoning cultural nexus of the South Korean capital’s Changbai New Economic Center.

Adam Williams of New Atlas reports that one group of robots will be responsible for molding, welding, assembling and polishing RSM’s metal facade, while another will be tasked with 3-D printing concrete parts for the site’s landscape. Drones will map out the construction site and conduct regular inspections, as well as provide security surveillance and control certain robotic construction vehicles.

The spherical structure is expected to stretch over 2,500 square meters (Visualization by Ediz Akyalçın)

Construction—and, subsequently, RSM’s opening salvo—is scheduled to begin in 2020 and conclude in 2022. Still, Devin Coldewey points out for Tech Crunch, it’s worth noting that the unusual building process “is more likely than not to produce significant delays.” At the same time, Futurism’s Kristin Houser explains, one of the main attractions of MAA’s proposal is its fiscal potential, as the use of robots rather than human workers is anticipated to save both time and money.

RSM is far from the first project to venture into the world of robot construction: For Curbed, Liz Stinson notes that robots have previously been employed to construct experimental pavilions and practical structures. As Stinson adds, “Seoul’s robot museum lives somewhere between the two as an ambitious experiment to see how far we can push autonomous building.”

When RSM finally opens its doors, it promises to serve as a hotspot for those hoping to engage with the newest developments in AI, virtual and augmented reality, hologram technology and, of course, robotics. DesignBoom’s Barandy reveals that the museum will also offer an in-depth training course detailing the latest advancements in the field. In the meantime, however, RSM still has plenty to offer: According to an MAA press release, “[The] design ... is not only going to exhibit robots but actually from design, manufacturing to construction and services, robots will be in charge.”

“In other words,” the statement concludes, “RSM will start its ‘first exhibition’ with ‘its own construction’ by robots on site in early 2020 and is expected to be completed with the official opening slated for late 2022.”

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