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Why You Should Get to Know Princeton's New Architecture School Dean (It Involves Robots.)

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Architect and educator Monica Ponce de Leon was recently named Dean of Princeton's prestigious architecture school—no small event considering Ponce de Leon's specialization in robotics. As dean at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture, Ponce de Leon helped create the school's robotic FABlab (that's "FAB" for fabrication). The lab featured traditional fabrication robots— ones that mill with drill bits or laser-cut—in addition to a more unusual robotic armature that can use multiple tools such as waterjet cutting nozzles or grippers. These robots—exactly like those on assembly lines—can fashion unique architectural models, prototype mass-produced building parts, and more.

Other architecture schools are pursing similar research: the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) founded its Robot House in 2011 which similarly features a number of reconfigurable robotic armatures. With Yale's School of Architecture and Harvard's Graduate School of Design—Ponce de Leon's home before Taubman—also experimenting with robotics, this field of exploration is only growing.

Monica Ponce de Leon Named Dean of Princeton's School of Architecture [Princeton University]