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Joshua Bard - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Joshua Bard

Associate Professor and Associate Head | Carnegie Mellon University


Joshua Bard is an architectural educator conducting applied research at the intersection of construction culture and robotic technology.


Joshua Bard is Associate Professor in the School of Architecture. He was named Associate Head for Design Research at the school in 2021. Joshua is an architectural educator conducting applied research at the intersection of construction culture and robotic technology. Joshua’s teaching and research interrogate traditional binaries in design culture (industry/craft, machine/hand, virtual/physical space, digital/analogue production), discovering new potential for contemporary digital tools in the jettisoned logics of hand and material craft. Joshua creates augmented construction and design systems combining the best of human skill, algorithmic translation, and robotic automation. Joshua collaborates with roboticists and computer scientists conducting basic research in human machine interaction and reality computing. He also works with historians, material scientists, and tradespeople immersed in theoretical and tacit knowledge of building construction. The focus of these collaborations is to explore human-machine collaboration in the high-skill domain of the building trades. Joshua teaches undergraduate and graduate architecture studios and instructs seminars in robotic fabrication and computational design.

Joshua is a founding partner of Archolab, an award winning research collaborative finding their bearings at the intersection of architecture’s emerging techno-future(s) and a historically grounded commitment to making. Archolab’s research includes Morphfaux, a project that recovers ancient techniques of applied architectural plaster through the lens of robotic manufacturing, and Spring Back, a reformulation of steam bending using advanced parametric modeling and digital fabrication tools. Archolab’s work has been recognized with Architect Magazine’s R+D Award, an Unbuilt Architecture Citation from the Boston Society of Architects, and a Merit Award from the Canadian Wood Council.

Joshua received his M.Arch with distinction from the University of Michigan where he also served on the faculty and as Director of Taubman College’s Digital Fabrication Laboratory. Joshua holds a BA in literature and philosophy from Wheaton College and has worked for PLY Architecture (Ann Arbor, MI) and M1/DTW (Detroit, MI).

Areas of Expertise (5)

Architectural Robotics

Robotic Technology

Computational Methods

Sustainable Architecture


Media Appearances (1)

Architecture comes alive through Carnegie Museum of Art’s new Plaster ReCast augmented reality app

NEXTpittsburgh  online


With a Google Tango tablet in hand, Josh Bard, an assistant professor at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, points at the column and taps a button. On the screen, a 3D animation of the Tomb of Mausolus in Turkey, a historical site built circa 350 BC, takes shape. It’s surrounded by columns on all sides.

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Rob|Arch 2014 All Bent Out... Adaptive Fabrication of Bent Wood Assemblies Copy + Paste: Hall of Architecture – CMU Architecture Students Experiment with Robotics and Plaster (Part 1) Copy + Paste: Low-Relief Studio on view in Heinz Architectural Center Galleries ReCast | Promo Video


Industry Expertise (3)



Architecture and Planning

Accomplishments (1)

R+D First Award (professional)

2013 Architect magazine

Education (2)

University of Michigan: M.Arch., Architecture 2007

Wheaton College: B.A., Literature and Philosophy 2002

minor in German

Affiliations (3)

  • Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe) : Intelligent Environments curriculum development committee member
  • Association for Robotics in Architecture : Member
  • Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) : Member

Event Appearances (3)

Material Affordance in Robotic Fabrication

David Lawrence Convention Center  Pittsburgh, PA

Decorative Robotic Plastering: Real-Time Human Machine-Collaboration in High-Skill Domains

Real Time, eCAADe 33rd conference  Vienna, Austria

Expressive Interactive Surfaces

SXSW Interactive Festival  Austin, TX

Research Grants (3)

Tooled Deposition of HighPerformance Building Components for PostProcessing of 3D printed Architectures

Manufacturing Futures Initiative, Carnegie Mellon University $149,361

With Dana Cupkova co-PI, Garth Zeglin and Newell Washburn Collaborators

Human Machine Virtuosity: building bridges for accelerated digital-physical iteration

Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe), Carnegie Mellon University $25,000

With Garth Zeglin co-PI

Through Thick and Thin: Recovering the Craft of Architectural Plaster

College of Fine Arts(CFA) Fund for Research and Creativity, Carnegie Mellon University $19,255

With Richard Tursky co-PI

Articles (5)

Image Classification for Robotic Plastering with Convolutional Neural Network

Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design

2018 Inspecting robotically fabricated objects to detect and classify discrepancies between virtual target models and as-built realities is one of the challenges that faces robotic fabrication. Industrial-grade computer vision methods have been widely used to detect manufacturing flaws in mass production lines. However, in mass-customization, a versatile and robust method should be flexible enough to ignore construction tolerances while detecting specified flaws in varied parts.

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Material characterization of workability and process imaging for robotic concrete finishing

Construction Robotics

2021 In this paper, we discuss a robotic-assisted concrete finishing method for fabricating architectural panels. Concrete finishing is an important process for producing architectural elements with acceptable surface quality. It is also a challenging process conventionally relying on skillful laborers. We describe a hybrid framework incorporating both human skill and robotics in the concrete finishing process and a multi-phase sensing strategy to assist in part touch-up and to validate final surface quality.

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Thermally Informed Robotic Topologies: Profile-3D-Printing for the Robotic Construction of Concrete Panels, Thermally Tuned Through High Resolution Surface Geometry

Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design

2018 This paper explores the thermal design and robotic construction of high-performance building components. The complex surface geometry of these components actuate specific thermal behavior in passive building systems through implementing the principles of convection in thermal mass. Our seamless design-to-fabrication workflow uses optimization methods that combine measured thermal data and simulation feedback with advanced modeling and emerging robotic manufacturing techniques.

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Robotic concrete surface finishing: a moldless approach to creating thermally tuned surface geometry for architectural building components using Profile-3D-Printing

Construction Robotics

2018 This paper focuses on describing a novel hybrid concrete printing/casting process we term Profile-3D-Printing. Profile-3D-Printing is an additive/subtractive manufacturing process that combines deposition of concrete for rough layup with precision tooling for surface finishing of architectural building components commonly found in the architectural precast industry. Our research team from Architecture, the Robotics Institute, and Material Science invented this novel hybrid manufacturing process for robotically printing architectural facade panels with complex surface geometries.

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Reality is interface: Two motion capture case studies of human–machine collaboration in high-skill domains

International Journal of Architectural Computing

2016 This article explores hybrid digital/physical workflows in the building trades, a high-skill domain where human dexterity and craft can be augmented by the precision and repeatability of digital design and fabrication tools. In particular, the article highlights two projects where historic construction techniques were extended through live motion capture of human gesture, information-rich visualization projected in the space of fabrication and custom robotic tooling to generate free-form running moulds.

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