Elytra Filament Pavilion by University of Stuttgart

Biomimicry principles combined with computational and robotic technologies created a future design.

Project Specs


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Elytra Filament Pavilion – Outdoor installation in the context of the exhibition »Hello, Robot.«

Vitra设计博物馆的“你好机器人,人与机器设计”主题展,展示了近期风靡的机器人。主题展展示了当今各种形式的机器人以及这些机器导致的日益受关注的伦理,社会以及政治问题。在博物馆外面,一个名为鞘翅丝馆的设计将本次展览推向高潮。仿生织锦的应用是机器对建筑设计影响的一个范例。该装置由斯图加特大学设计制造,每一个模块都由一个算法定义,然后在产业机器人的帮助下生产而成。该装置在完成伦敦Victoria & Albert博物馆首映后,目前被放置在Vitra校园内。

With the exhibition »Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine«, the Vitra Design Museum presents a major exhibition that examines the current boom in robotics. It shows the variety of forms that robotics takes today and at the same time broadens our awareness of the associated ethical, social, and political issues. Out- side the museum, the »Elytra Filament Pavilion« complements this exhibition. The bionic baldachin is an impressive example of the growing influence of robotics on architecture. Its individual modules were defined by an algorithm and then produced with the help of an industrial robot, realised by a team from the University of Stuttgart. After its premiere at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, it is now on view on the Vitra Campus. 



实验建筑师Achim Menges与Moritz Dörstelmann,结构工程师Jan Knippers,气候工程师Thomas Auer一起率先采用了由斯图加特大学计算机设计学院和结构与结构设计学院共同研发的独特的机器人编织技术。这一技术由团队经过多年的研究开发而成,其中还包括了一项新的缠绕复合型材料的技术方法。这一创新型缠绕技术被设计用于控制碳纤维并赋予它们作为编织结构部件的强度。 一系列这样的如同细胞一样的模型通过融合设计和工程技术,被用来建造展馆与众不同的外形。该项目探索了新兴电脑与机器人技术对这些学科的影响。


The pavilion is the outcome of four years of ground-breaking research on the integration of architecture, engineering and biomimicry principles. The »Elytra Filament Pavilion’s« components have been fabricated by a robot at the University of Stuttgart. The 200 sqm structure is inspired by lightweight construction principles found in nature – the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra.

Experimental architect Achim Menges together with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer have pioneered a unique robotic fabrication technique developed by the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE). This technique, developed by the team over several years of research, involves a novel way of winding composite materials. The innovative winding method has been designed to harness carbon fibres and give them strength as woven structural components. A series of these individual cell-like modules has been used to create the pavilion’s distinctive shape, integrating the processes of design and engineering. The project explores the impact of emerging computational and robotic technologies on these disciplines.

»Elytra’s« canopy is made up of 40 hexagonal component cells. On average they weigh 45kg each and take about three hours to make. These cells and the seven supporting columns were created by a computer-programmed Kuka robot in a four-month construction process at the ICD’s Computational Construction Laboratory in Stuttgart. To make each component, the robot wound resin-soaked glass and carbon fibres onto a hexagonal scaffold before hardening. Each cell and column is individual. Its final form of densely-wound fibres is a direct result of the changing stress conditions determined through structural simulation and testing carried out in advance by the ITKE. This enables an exceptionally lightweight structure that weighs less than 9kg per m2, which equals 2.5 tonnes for the entire pavilion.



通过鞘翅馆的设计,我们致力于实现一个将设计、工程与生产综合一体的真正的现代化的方法来创造出一个独特的空间和美学体验。顶棚根据实时数据向上生长,展示了新兴技术对设计、工程以及自然科学领域的深刻影响。通过这些,团队向参观者提供了独特的体验,并向他们展示了创新性建筑与工程技术将改变未来建设环境的可能性。-建筑师Achim Menges

»With Elytra Filament Pavilion we aim to celebrate a truly contemporary and integrative approach to design, engineering and production, resulting in a distinctive spatial and aesthetic experience. (…) The canopy grows in response to real-time sensing data, showcasing the profound impact of emerging technologies and related new alliances between the fields of design, engineering and natural science. Through this we seek to provide visitors with a unique experience (…) that offers a glimpse of novel architectural and engineering possibilities, which may transform our built environment in the future.« – Achim Menges




Credits Elytra Filament Pavilion:
Created by Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann (ICD University of Stuttgart / Achim Menges Architect), Jan Knippers (ITKE University of Stuttgart / Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering), Thomas Auer (Transsolar Climate Engineering / TUM)
Photographer: Julien Lanoo

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