Human thinking and inventions have their own limitations and they cannot go beyond the nature around us. His capability is measured by how close he can imitate the one created by nature. Even the architectural designs are no exception to this fact. Here is an example. Do you know what inspired this design?
This is BUGA Wood pavilion, an architectural attraction at the central summer island of the Bundesgartenschau 2019 in Heilbronn. The BUGA Wood pavilion was conceived under the paradigm of Co-Design, where novel possibilities in design, engineering and fabrication are explored through continuous computational feedback within an interdisciplinary team. In this project, the co-design algorithms developed by the project team generate the shape of each element of the pavilion according to architectural design intent and structural requirements, while all robotic fabrication aspects are directly embedded and negotiated.
Its segmented wood shell is based on biological principles found in the plate skeleton of sea urchins, which have been studied by the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) and the Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart for almost a decade. As part of the project, a robotic manufacturing platform was developed for the automated assembly and milling of the pavilion’s 376 bespoke hollow wood segments. This fabrication process ensures that all segments fit together with sub-millimetre precision like a big, three-dimensional puzzle. The stunning wooden roof spans 30 meters over one of BUGA’s main event and concert venues, using a minimum amount of material while also generating a unique architectural space.
The BUGA Wood pavilion was conceived under the paradigm of Co-Design, where novel possibilities in design, engineering and fabrication are explored through continuous computational feedback within an interdisciplinary team. In this project, the co-design algorithms developed by the project team generate the shape of each element of the pavilion according to architectural design intent and structural requirements, while all robotic fabrication aspects are directly embedded and negotiated. The design of the pavilion happens concurrently and in feedback with the design of the robotic manufacturing set-up, which is a bespoke development for the project. The highly integrative process enables the design and engineering of 376 unique plate segments with 17 000 different finger joints in response to multifaceted design criteria, from the scale of the overall structure down to sub-millimetre details. Without any loss of precision, this multi-scale approach allows addressing architectural and structural considerations concurrently. Despite the pioneering character of the project, and despite an incredible short development time of only 13 months from commission to the opening, the integrative computational process allows for the careful design of each building element in minute detail.
The prefabricated shell segments were assembled in only 10 working days by a team of two craftsmen, without the usually required extensive scaffolding or formwork. After connecting all segments with removable bolts, a layer of EPDM foil was rolled over the pavilion in 8 strips to provide waterproofing. Untreated larch facade plates provide the external cladding of the pavilion. All building elements are designed for disassembly and reuse on a different site. The pavilion’s loadbearing wood shell achieves a column-free span of 30 meters, but weighs only 36 kg/m². This is less than the LAGA exhibition hall benchmark, despite a threefold increase in span and a fivefold increase in size. Drawing a line from traditional carpentry to high-tech robotic fabrication methods, the BUGA Wood Pavilion showcases the possibilities for efficient, economical, ecological and expressive wood architecture that arises at the intersection of master craft, digital innovation and scientific research. The BUGA Wood Pavilion is located at a central crossroad within the wavy landscape of the BUGA summer island. Three dynamic arches form inviting openings in the main directions and guide visitors into the pavilion’s interior. Hosting concerts and public events, the shell creates a smoothly-curved space that provides very good acoustics and generates a unique architectural atmosphere. This is especially true at night, when thousands of LED lights embedded in the shells inner openings light up and bathe the pavilion’s interior in subtle, warm and welcoming light.