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Students and professors of Stuttgart University’s Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) designed ArboSkin, a pavilion composed of stud-like bioplastic panels containing over 90 percent renewable materials. The interdisciplinary team consisted of material scientists, architects, product designers, manufacturing technicians, and environmental experts. The freeform façade showcases structural properties of this new bioplastic for construction use.

Arch2o-ArboSkin-pavilion-made-from-bioplastic-by-ITKE (1)

 Courtesy of ITKE

From the project team: ‘Thermoformable sheets of bioplastics will represent a resource-efficient alternative [to oil-based plastics, glass, or metal] in the future, as they combine the high malleability and recyclability of plastics with the environmental benefits of materials consisting primarily of renewable resources.’

Arch2o-ArboSkin-pavilion-made-from-bioplastic-by-ITKE (2)Courtesy of ITKE

The bioplastic granulate is made into a sheet, which is then thermally formed into a pyramidal shape. The sheet is then taken to a band saw that cuts off the excess material. Finally it is taken to a CNC mill to cut out apertures in the modules. The beauty of this process is that the excess material can be re-granulated and fed back into the process, and the sheet material allows for versatility and ease of use.

 Arch2o-ArboSkin-pavilion-made-from-bioplastic-by-ITKE (7)

Courtesy of ITKE

Once the basic modules are produced, they are assembled together by means of bracing rings and joists, creating a load-bearing, waterproof façade to the curved pavilion.

By Aiysha Alsane

Courtesy of ITKE

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