The research team at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design is really in to weird architecture — like peanut-shaped and beetle-shaped pavilions.
Just a few weeks ago, the team designed a peanut-shaped pavilion, which was then built by robots. The pavilion consisted of 243 wooden, geometric plates thinner than an eggshell, according to Wired.
“The project began with a simple question: How can you create a resilient timber structure with as little material as possible? The answer, it turned out, was going to take an integration of multiple digital processes,” Wired reported.
Now the team has gone above and beyond by creating a carbon fiber structure modeled after a flying beetle’s elytron, a protective covering for beetle wings.
“This year, the big question was: How can you build architectural structures with composite materials like glass and carbon fiber without using massive molds to dictate the shape?” Wired reported.
Usually, structures build from carbon fiber would need a framework. But head of ICD Achim Menges said the research team managed to find a way to build a structure from composite materials without using a mold.
“Rather than build a mold for every individual component, we just built the component,” Menges told Wired.
Because a beetle’s elytron is made of composite materials similar to carbon fiber, the team used the elytron as their model.
“You can lay the fibers in exactly the direction and density that is required to satisfy the structural requirements,” Menges told Wired. “That’s exactly what we see in nature.”
The ICD’s success with carbon fiber structures may signal the dawn of a new era in architecture, according to Menges. Until then, the web-like pavilion is just being used for the German university’s research.