Arup’s robots to help preserve Sydney Opera House

Arup has partnered with the Sydney Opera House to create a "concrete conservation strategy" for the Unesco World Heritage site.

The team will deliver a "holistic conservation study, drawing on historical knowledge and potential future technology".

One example of this future technology is a "tap tester" robot that checks on the condition of the building’s concrete in hard-to-reach areas. This job is currently undertaken by technicians abseiling from the sails, however, they may be superseded by robots within five years.

The robot works by hitting the concrete with a probe and listening to the noise it makes. It also has thermal and force sensors to provide additional data.

If the technique is successful, Arup plans to use it on other concrete buildings around the world.

Marianne Foley, Arup’s principal for Australasia, said: "We’ve been working on the opera house for almost 60 years, on more than 300 individual projects. In our work, we regularly draw on our historical understanding.

"Our accumulated knowledge is an invaluable resource not only for the concrete conservation strategy, but for the future operation and protection of our nation’s most significant cultural asset'"

The study has been funded in part by the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern project, which aims to preserve modern architecture around the world.

Image via Arup

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