Interdisciplinary studio DesignLabWorkshop developed the Solar Bytes Pavilion, a solar-powered 3D-printed structure that showcases several exciting trends in architecture, from digital fabrication to smart technologies. The experimental structure was constructed from 94 unique modules—the “bytes”—that were 3D-printed from translucent plastic. The integrated LEDs within each module is charge by solar power during the day to release a uniform glow at night.
DesignLabWorkshop 3D-printed the Solar Bytes Pavilion’s 94 modules using a 6-axis robot arm in the Robotic Fabrication Lab at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The modules fit together using an interlocking snap-fit joint that gives the finished structure a seamless look. The pavilion’s east-west positioning and self-supporting arch form were designed to follow the path of the sun and maximize solar exposure.
In addition to collecting and storing solar energy, each module is equipped with a light sensor that records the sun’s exposure over the course of a day. Those recordings dictate the light levels of the integrated LEDs so that the pavilion will serve as a reflection of the sun’s exposure. “If it is cloudy in the morning and clear in the afternoon, the pavilion’s east side will be illuminated for a shorter period of time than the west side, reflecting those environmental conditions,” write the architects.