Working to develop a more sustainable fabrication process for structures, research designers Nacho Martí, Pablo Zamorano and Jacob Bek have created the Expandable Surface Pavilion. Relying on CNC technology and basic sheet material, the group has come up with a way to cut the sheets to provide stability and strength while minimizing materials and waste. They recently installed a meeting room at the SPOGA furniture design exhibition in Cologne, Germany, which was assembled out of modular and digitally cut sheets.
The group’s zero-waste construction method relies on a digital design that is cut via a CNC machine into sheet material. These cuts are just simple lines that create no waste off of the sheet and allow it to be transformed into a 3D surface via folding, bending, and manipulating. Once expanded, the sheet is more structurally stable and rigid. Holes allow the sheets to be assembled together into larger structures that could be used for a variety of purposes. For instance in Cologne, the sheets were assembled into arches that were lined up together to create a pavilion. During the expo, the Expandable Surface Pavilion was used as a meeting room.
The groups goal was to develop a more seamless, sustainable and less wasteful building process. The designs are digital, which means they can be sent anywhere in the world via email to anyone with a CNC machine. Using locally sourced materials, the sheets can easily be cut, flat-packed and then efficiently transported to any site, where they are assembled using local labor. In the process, no waste at all is created and the building system wholly supports the local economy.
Martí, Zamorano, and Bek collaborated on this project through the Emergent Technologies & Design Research Programme at the Architectural Association in London. The group also created a self-supporting wall out of the materials after extensive structural and geometric digital analysis to understand and anticipate the reaction between the material and pattern.
Images Courtesy of Pablo Zamorano, Nacho Martí, and Jacob Bek