The Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart have completed the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion for 2014-2015.
The design is inspired by the nest of an underwater spider, which is a reinforced air bubble. The web construction process was examined and the underlying behavioral patterns and design rules were analyzed, abstracted and transferred into a technological fabrication process.
This Pavilion is composed from a thin shell of ETFE (a fluorine based plastic material), initially flexible, which was gradually stiffened by reinforcing it with carbon fibers from the inside. The ETFE shell was supported via air pressure while the robotic reinforcement took place. The carbon fibers were selectively applied where they would be required for structural integrity.
The resulting lightweight fiber composite shell forms a pavilion with unique architectural qualities, while at the same time being a highly material-efficient structure.
The ICD / ITKE Research Pavilion 2014-15 covers an area of about 40m² and an internal volume of approximately 130m³ with a span of 7.5m and a height of 4.1m. The total construction weight is just 260kg, which corresponds to a weight of 6.5kg / m².