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at london’s V&A museum, a team of architects and engineers from the university of stuttgart has designed a temporary structure built using a robotic production process. the ‘elytra filament pavilion’ has been conceived by experimental german architect achim menges with moritz dörstelmann, structural engineer jan knippers, and climate engineer thomas auer. situated within the john madejski garden, the project explores the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design and engineering.

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all images © victoria and albert museum, london

 

 

the design employs lightweight construction principles found in nature — most notably, the filament structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as ‘elytra’. made of glass and carbon fiber, each component of the undulating canopy is produced using a robotic winding technique developed by the design team. like beetle elytra, the pavilion’s filament structure is both strong and light — spanning over 200 square meters and weighing less than 2.5 tonnes.

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the project explores the impact of emerging robotic technologies

 

 

the responsive shelter will grow over the course of the V&A’s engineering season. sensors in the canopy fibers will collect data on how visitors inhabit the pavilion and monitor the structure’s behavior, ultimately informing how and where the canopy grows. during a series of scheduled special events, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the pavilion’s construction live, as new components are fabricated on-site by a KUKA robot.

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the structure sits within the V&A’s john madejski garden

 

 

menges and knippers are leaders of research institutes at the university of stuttgart that are pioneering the integration of biomimicry, robotic fabrication and new materials research in architecture. this installation emerges from their ongoing research projects and is their first major commission in the UK. the pavilion remains on display at the V&A until november 6, 2016.

elytra-filament-pavilion-robotic-fabrication-victoria-and-albert-museum-london-designboom-02
the design employs lightweight construction principles found in nature

elytra-filament-pavilion-robotic-fabrication-victoria-and-albert-museum-london-designboom-02
each component of the undulating canopy is produced using a robotic winding technique

elytra-filament-pavilion-robotic-fabrication-victoria-and-albert-museum-london-designboom-02
the responsive shelter will grow over the course of the V&A’s engineering season

elytra-filament-pavilion-robotic-fabrication-victoria-and-albert-museum-london-designboom-02
like beetle elytra, the pavilion’s filament structure is both strong and light

elytra-filament-pavilion-robotic-fabrication-victoria-and-albert-museum-london-designboom-02
the pavilion remains on display at the V&A until november 6, 2016