Plywood pavilion made by robots

Article: Anna Winston | 24 June 2014
News: a double-domed pavilion is the first building to have its main structure entirely made out of wooden panels created by robots, according to academics from the University of Stuttgart (+ slideshow).

The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall is made from 243 different plates of plywood that were created using a robotic off-site fabrication method.

The building is “the first to have its primary structure entirely made of robotically prefabricated beech plywood plate” according to the project team.

It was designed by academics from University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design (ICD), Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITDK) and Institute of Engineering Geodesy.

The insulation, waterproofing and cladding for the building were also digitally prefabricated, meaning the structure could be assembled in four weeks.

“In simple terms, this is the first building with a fully integrated computational design and robotic fabrication process,” explained ICD researcher and team member Oliver David Krieg.

“We have developed a computational design process specifically for this project, that integrates aspects of our biological role model – the sand dollar’s plate structure and joints – as well as aspects of fabrication, construction and structural parameters,” Krieg told Dezeen.

“Compared to classical approaches in architecture we like to call this an “informed design process”, simply because as architects we develop our own design environment to make sure that the generated design is not only producible, but also structurally and architecturally performative,” added Krieg.

The building is arranged in two spaces – an entrance area and an exhibition area with a large glass opening at the end framing views of the surrounding landscape. Each has its own domed ceiling made of convex polygonal beech plates and the two are connected by a narrower passage made of concave plates.

With an external surface area of 245 square metres, a floor space of 125 square metres and a height of 17 metres at its tallest point, the entire structure required just 12 cubic metres of beech. Off-cuts from the fabrication process were used to create the parquet flooring inside.