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University of Stuttgart realized a carbon-fibre pavilion based on beetle shells


The Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) of the University of Stuttgart have realzied a robotically woven carbon-fibre pavilion based on the Elytron, a protective shell encasing the beetles’ wings and abdomen. The project is part of a successful series of research pavilions which showcase the potential of novel design, simulation and fabrication processes in architecture. and engineers.


In total 36 individual elements were fabricated, whose geometries are based on structural principles abstracted from the beetle elytra. Each of them has an individual fiber layout which results in a material efficient load-bearing system. The biggest element has a 2.6 m diameter with a weight of only 24.1 kg. The research pavilion covers a total area of 50 m² and a volume of 122 m³ with a weight of 593 kg.


The overall geometry reacts to site-specific conditions of the public space around the university building in close proximity to the park. At the same time it demonstrates the morphologic adaptability of the system, by generating more complex spatial arrangements than a simple shell structure

Altogether the research pavilion shows how the computational synthesis of biological structural principles and the complex reciprocities between material, form and robotic fabrication can lead to the generation of innovative fiber composite construction methods. At the same time the multidisciplinary research approach does not only lead to performative and material efficient lightweight constructions, it also explores novel spatial qualities and expands the tectonic possibilities of architecture.

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all images courtesy of ICDITKE