The architects Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser like to point out that the robots are not people. The robots, in this case, are five white robotic arm Stäubli instruments installed last spring in the new Robot House at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles. For that matter, the Robot House is not a house, but rather a converted double-height space at the south end of SCI-Arc’s main building. The room has two glass walls and a catwalk overhead, which allow students to view the robots in action.
Testa and Weiser, partners in the firm Testa/Weiser and faculty members at SCI-Arc, initiated the school’s partnership with Stäubli and oversaw the Robot House’s design and construction. The five robots in the facility, along with a sixth, much smaller one in an adjacent classroom, range in weight from 60 to 550 pounds and can handle loads of up to 75 pounds, moving as fast as 35 feet per second. They might not be people, but they may well populate the next frontier of digital design.