Meet the speakers: Gijs Van Der Velden

We’re pleased to welcome CEO of Amsterdam-based robotics and software company MX3D, Gijs Van Der Velden, to this year’s Turkeybuild Istanbul.

Mr Van Der Velden will be speaking on the topic of designing and building with robots, a subject he specialises in.

Gijs Van Der Velden has worked at Joris Laarman Lab, a laboratory that carries out visionary studies for the future of digital production, many of which have been added to the collections of various international museums including MoMa, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou and most recently the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
When the team saw that the 3D printing industry was unable to deliver a big, fast and cost-effective printer, they decided to take the matters into their own hands in 2015 and developed a robotic 3D printer for large objects. The laboratory partners decided that their printing efforts would continue under the name of MX3D (Multiple aXis 3D printing), managed by Gijs Van Der Velden and Tim Geurtjens and supported by partners such as Autodesk, ABB, Lenovo, AMS Institute and ArcelorMittal.
The team believes that the robots can better perform their tasks with the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The MX3D robots construct bridges, whole building or small structures such as optimised private ships with ground-breaking performance. Their latest efforts include a pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam produced with 12 meters of steel, 3D printing and robots.
Ahead of his appearance at Turkeybuild Istanbul 2019, we spoke to Gijs Van Der Velden to learn more.

What issues are you looking forward to exploring within your ‘Robotic Building – Closing the Digital Design Loop’ address at Turkeybuild Istanbul 2019?

Once the building industry is ready to employ robots in their workflow, this means many other processes are ready to be digitised, analysed and improved. Although the building industry, including its services like architecture, engineering and governmental oversight, has been late to embrace digitisation, it seems there is no escaping its logic. Most other industries have already seen radical change, just think how Uber and Airbnb changed their respective industries for good. For building, revolution might seem far away, but why would this industry be free from disruptive innovation? 

How do you see the future of building and architecture in light of new digital technologies such as robotics and 3D printing?

Personally, I see just a small role for 3D printing in speciality building or bespoke elements. At best there will be certain components printed per parametrically designed building. The speed of 3D printing is relatively low and most buildings (due to their design and cost focus) are best created from pre-produced building blocks. 
Robots on the other hand will take over building faster than most people dare to imagine. When a whole building is designed and manufactured using BIM, robots can be introduced fairly easily. Robots would be perfect for all kinds of jobs like scanning, transportation of goods, cleaning, painting, drilling and so on. When there is a problem in the supply chain, the robots do something else in the meantime, 24/7. 

What challenges do you see in ensuring the industry takes full advantage of robotic building’s potential?

The introduction of robots requires a change in mindset, and in the way we do things. Most companies will think this is too complicated and costly. The companies that do make this investment however will reap the benefits once implementation is complete. The key is not to wait until the technology is fully developed before you implement. Make sure you already have a good understanding what it takes to introduce robots on your site and start preparing. 

In your opinion, how do international events such as Turkeybuild Istanbul serve to benefit the industry and develop international cooperation?

Ultimately developments like these are too big for one company or one country. It requires innovators, students, governments and companies willing to take a chance to align on a single idea. Events like Turkeybuild Istanbul allow discussions between strangers on challenging subjects. That’s the perfect recipe to build partnerships that allow innovation to break through glass ceilings. 
Hear Gijs Van Der Velden’s talk on Robotic Building – Closing the Digital Design Loop at Yapi Turkeybuild Istanbul 2019 at 14.30 on Thursday 20 June.
Don’t miss out on this exciting event, get your ticket now.