The Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) of the University of Stuttgart designed and built a robotically woven carbon fiber pavilion whose structure was inspired by beetles. Continuing the tradition of building a new pavilion each year, ICD and ITKE’s design explores the limits of biomimetic design, lightweight shells, and robotic fabrication.
Another of the Institutes’ bionic research pavilions, the structure investigates the structural performance of protective shells of beetles. These have proven to be a suitable role model for highly efficient construction based on the on the geometric morphology of a double-layered system and the mechanical properties of natural fiber composites.
The entire structure was made from glass and carbon fiber reinforced polymers, which have a high strength-to-weight ratio and the potential to generate differentiated material properties through fiber placement variation.
Double-curved modules were robotically manufactured using a special robotic coreless winding method. Two effector frames are held by two robotic arms and serve as molds for the linearly tensioned network of fibers. Six individual layers of glass and carbon fibers were wound-the first glass layer acts as structural reinforcement, and the rest are individually varied through the fibers’ anisotropic arrangement. The robots fabricated a total of 36 individual elements whose structural principles were extracted from the beetle elytra. The biggest element has a 2.6 m diameter with a weight of only 24.1 kg. The entire pavilion covers an area of 50 square meters (538 square feet) and weights 593 kg.