Elytra Filament Pavilion , at V&A Museum.

“There are no shortcuts to evolution”

Elytra Filament Pavilion


A garden installation by experimental architect Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer.


Elytra Filament ran from 18 May 2016 to 6 November 2016 at V&A Museum in London.

This pavilion was meant to explore the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making. Inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the Pavilion was an undulating canopy of tightly woven carbon fibre cells created using a novel robotic production process.(source)

The Pavilion grew over the course of the V&A Engineering Season in response to data on structural behaviour and patterns of inhabitation of the Garden that captured by realtime sensors in its canopy fibres. At select moments, visitors had the opportunity to witness the Pavilion’s construction live throughout the Season as new cells were fabricated in situ by a Kuka robot. (source)


watch here : Elytra Filament Pavilion construction time-lapse

Only fascination comes when reading more and more about this pavilion. Firstly it is satisfying to see that this is a fully integrated project, studied by architectural, structural and environmental aspect. This distribution of roles, makes it something more than a plain futuristic installation. Secondly, it is a fine example of equal sharing among architecture and structural and environmental design, and still is a piece of art. Usually when it comes to such projects, it is hard for the visitor to balance among the possible different components of the work. Either he perceives it based on architecture, or on construction, or robotics. Here the case it is different. It is a clear scenario with equally distributed roles. Thirdly, this installation leaves a promise, an open door and food for thought one would say, for each of the fields it represents. Is biomimetic arithmetical equations the new path of architecture? How much further can the strength limits of materials go? Under which environmental cost?.. Will it , one day,  take just a man and his team of robots to build an olympic stadium?

It seems all the answers to these questions are already on their way towards present.

-by Elli Z_e


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