ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014-2015

University of Stuttgard completed once again this year’s ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion, now at its fifth edition. The parametric pavilion, realized by the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) led by Prof. Achim Menges, together with the Institute of Building Structures & Structural Design (ITKE) led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Knippers, is the result of a collaborative interdisciplinary work. The main focus of this work was on employing advanced computational design and cutting edge technologies.

Research Pavilion 2014-2015, Courtesy of ICD/ITKE University

Research Pavilion 2014-2015, Courtesy of ICD/ITKE University

Nature has always been a source of inspiration for architects and so was the case for this year’s research topic: the curious diving bell water spider, or Agyroneda aquatica. Although this spider lives underwater, it relies on air to breathe. Thus, instead of a typical spider web, it creates an under water air bubble, reinforced from within in order to withstand mechanical stresses, such as water currents. “This natural production process shows how adaptive fabrication strategies can be utilized to create efficient fiber-reinforced structure“, ICD mentions.

Development Process - Conceptual Fabrication Strategy: 1. Inflated pneumatic membrane 2. Robotically reinforce membrane with carbon fiber from inside 3. Stable composite shell, Courtesy of ICD/ITKE University

Development Process – Conceptual Fabrication Strategy: 1. Inflated pneumatic membrane 2. Robotically reinforce membrane with carbon fiber from inside 3. Stable composite shell, Courtesy of ICD/ITKE University

The construction of the pavilion used a new building method inspired by the water spider. An initial flexible pneumatic ETFE formwork was gradually stiffened with carbon fiber reinforcement from the inside, resulting in a composite shell. The construction required close attention to detail, due to minor fluctuations in deformation during the reinforcement process. Therefore, a prototypical custom made robot tool was used for the process, fitted with a sensor system operating in real time. “The development of such a cyber-physical system allows constant feedback between the actual production conditions and the digital generation of robot control codes. This represents not only an important development in the context of this project, but more generally provides new opportunities for adaptive robotic construction processes”, researchers add.

Research Pavilion 2014-2015 - Photography: ICD/ITKE University Stuttgart

Research Pavilion 2014-2015 – Photography: ICD/ITKE University Stuttgart

With 40 sqm and a volume of 130 m³, the construction only weighs 260 kg (6.5 kg/swm). Inspired by one of nature’s architects, this year’s ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion not only brings technological advances with great innovative potential, but also offers an example of how such technologies can contribute to a a quality architecture. Take the virtual tour here!

Video Courtesy of Institute for Computational Design (ICD)

Architects: ICD-ITKE University of Stuttgart
Location: Keplerstraße 11, University of Stuttgart, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany
Institute for Computational Design : Institute for Computational Design – Prof. Achim Menges Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design – Prof. Jan Knippers
Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design : Prof. Jan Knippers
Research Development And Project Management: Moritz Dörstelmann, Vassilios Kirtzakis, Stefana Parascho, Marshall Prado, Tobias Schwinn
Area: 50.0 sqm
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of ICD-ITKE

By: Ana Cosma

Edited by: Zeynab Matar

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