In November 2012 the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart have completed a research pavilion that is entirely robotically fabricated from carbon and glass fibre composites. This interdisciplinary project, conducted by architectural and engineering researchers of both institutes together with students of the faculty and in collaboration with biologists of the University of Tübingen, investigates the possible interrelation between biomimetic design strategies and novel processes of robotic production. The research focused on the material and morphological principles of arthropods’ exoskeletons as a source of exploration for a new composite construction paradigm in architecture. At the core of the project is the development of an innovative robotic fabrication process within the context of the building industry based on filament winding of carbon and glass fibres and the related computational design tools and simulation methods. A key aspect of the project was to transfer the fibrous morphology of the biological role model to fibre-reinforced composite materials, the anisotropy of which was integrated from the start into the computer-based design and simulation processes, thus leading to new tectonic possibilities in architecture. The integration of the form generation methods, the computational simulations and robotic manufacturing, specifically allowed the development of a high performance structure: the pavilion requires only a shell thickness of four millimetres of composite laminate while spanning eight metres.
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