The project is the latest in a series of successful biomimetic investigations by the Institute of Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart. This pavilion studies the naturally lightweight structures of the beetle elytra, a protective shell for the wings and abdomen of a beetle.
The high performance of these elytra are due to their efficient material construction, their geometric morphology and double layered systems, and the mechanical properties of their natural fibre composite. These qualities are replicated within the pavilion through the use of carbon and glass fibre, an intense investigation into fibre winding patterns, and the development of a robotic winding process involving two 6-axis industrial robots weaving a computationally generated patterns.
***Video by Nam Hoang, Photography from University of Stuttgart, build contribution here.
The complex nature of the project required several teams to be researching and prototyping different aspects of the pavilion in parallel with each other. While one team might have been researching fibre winding patterns, another focused on material properties, computational global design, or the development of a modular robot tool to create components without the use of formwork.
In total, 36 individual components were fabricated, whose geometries were based on structural principles abstracted from the beetle elytra. Each component is entirely unique, with individual fibre layouts to maximize load bearing capacity and keeping weight down.