being the first robotically built concrete structure in southern california, the MARS pavilion by form found design explores a construction methodology in which humans and machines collaborate. the precision of ABB robots and the freedom of fabric were coupled to achieve an organic geometry and adjustable concrete mold.


MARS pavilion with ABB robots in the background in palm springs, CA
image (header) © joseph sarafian

 

 

joseph sarafian and ron culver from form found design based the project on a catenary chain model, in which lines of the canopy are left to sag under the effect of gravity. this geometry is inverted upwards, creating a compression structure where the most integral properties of concrete are exploited. to ensure the success of this methodolgy, walter p. moore engineering were the consultants on this project regarding structural engineering. 


robotic positioning of fabric formwork: no two concrete components are the same


MARS pavilion with robots in the background
image © ben rose photography

 

 

in the process, fabric molds are sewn and robots are moved into position to mount the material to their ends. cement, steel fiber, and water are then mixed together and poured into the molds. each component takes approximately 45 minutes to cast and cure, creating a rapidly reconfigurable formwork.


MARS pavilion interior, showing the hex grid
image © ben rose photography


joseph sarafian and ron culver at MARS conference
image © ben rose photography

 

 

video © ERIC MINH SWENSON


MARS pavilion illuminated at night with robots in the background


ron culver and joseph sarafian in front of pavilion
image © ben rose photography


ABB robotic casting process with manipulated fabric formwork
image © tony castillo


ron culver de-mounting cast concrete from ABB robots
image © tony castillo


70 unique ‘wishbones’ cast on robots form the MARS pavilion
image © tony castillo


ABB robot arms position fabric formwork in los angeles
image © tony castillo

 

 

project info: 

 

architecture: form found design
engineering: walter p. moore

partners: ABB robotics

client: amazon

location: palm springs

dimensions: 20x20x13’
design team: joseph sarafian, ron culver, steve fuchs, andrew lindauer, david spiva

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

  • Didn’t they display this structure in Madison square park earlier this year?

    Kendall says:

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