Nature’s canopy

10 : 02 : 2016 V&A Museum : Victoria & Albert Museum : Engineering Season

London – The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) has commissioned a 3D-printed garden installation as part of its first Engineering Season.

  • The Elytra Filament Pavilion is inspired by the structure of the forewing shells of elytra beetles
  • Initial renderings show an undulating canopy of carbon fibre shells that cast geometric shadows
Filament winding robots, The University of Stuttgart, Germany Filament winding robots, The University of Stuttgart, Germany
Render of the Elytra Filament Pavilion by architects Achim Menges and Moritz Dörstelmann at the V&A, London Render of the Elytra Filament Pavilion by architects Achim Menges and Moritz Dörstelmann at the V&A, London
Render of the Elytra Filament Pavilion by architects Achim Menges and Moritz Dörstelmann at the V&A, London Render of the Elytra Filament Pavilion by architects Achim Menges and Moritz Dörstelmann at the V&A, London

The season’s retrospective of engineer Ove Arup’s work examines the wonders of industrial-era design, but the V&A’s central courtyard will highlight emerging robotic technology.

Engineers and architects Achim Menges and Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer have created the concept for a 3D-printed pavilion that will take shape from March 2016.

The pavilion will develop over the course of the Engineering Season in response to data on structural behaviour and patterns of habitation captured by sensors in the canopy fibres. 

Visitors will be able to watch as new cells are created by a Kuka robot, common to industrial production lines around the world.

The Big Picture

3D printing using real-time data enables designers to visualise abstract concepts. Brazilian designer Guto Requena’s The Love Project analysed emotional data to translate love stories into 3D objects.

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