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ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014 -15.
Stuttgart UniversityITECH MSc2014 - 2015
Institute for Computational Design. Prof. Achim Menges.
Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design.Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Knippers
Group project (see full credits below)

The ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014-15 demonstrates the architectural potential of a novel building method inspired by the underwater nest construction of the water spider. Through a novel robotic fabrication process an initially flexible pneumatic formwork is gradually stiffened by reinforcing it with carbon fibers from the inside. The resulting lightweight fiber composite shell forms a pavilion with unique architectural qualities, while at the same time being a highly material-efficient structure.


The design concept is based on the study of biological construction processes for fiber-reinforced structures. These processes are relevant for applications in architecture, as they do not require complex formwork and are capable of adapting to the varying demands of the individual constructions. The biological processes form customized fiber-reinforced structures in a highly material-effective and functionally integrated way. In this respect the web building process of the diving bell water spider, (Agyroneda Aquatica) proved to be of particular interest. Thus the web construction process of water spiders was examined and the underlying behavioral patterns and design rules were analyzed, abstracted and transferred into a technological fabrication process.


The prototypical character of the fabrication process required the development of a custom made robot tool that allows placement of carbon fibers based on integrated sensor data. The technical development of this tool became an integral part of the architectural design process. The final tool allows for laying carbon fiber onto a dynamic membrane, which has not been developed previously within the industry. Through implementing sensors and integrating them into the general robotic system, a high level of precision of the process can be achieved.


During production nine pre-impregnated carbon fiber rovings are placed in parallel. 45km of carbon roving were laid at an average speed of 0.6 m min on 5km of robot path. This additive process not only allows stress-oriented placement of the fiber composite material, but it also minimizes the construction waste associated with typically subtractive construction processes.


Personal role in the project : design and development of a custom fibre laying effector.



Scientific Development


Moritz Dörstelmann, Valentin Koslowski, Marshall Prado, Gundula Schieber, Lauren Vasey


System Development, Fabrication & Construction


WS13/14, SoSe14, WS14/15: Hassan Abbasi, Yassmin Al-Khasawneh, Yuliya Baranovskaya, Marta Besalu, Giulio Brugnaro, Elena Chiridnik, Tobias Grun, Mark Hageman, Matthias Helmreich, Julian Höll, Jessica Jorge, Yohei Kanzaki, Shim Karmin, Georgi Kazlachev, Vangel Kukov, David Leon, Kantaro Makanae, Amanda Moore, Paul Poinet, Emily Scoones, Djordje Stanojevic, Andrei Stoiculescu, Kenryo Takahashi and Maria Yablonina

WS14/15: Rebecca Jaroszewski, Yavar Khonsari, Ondrej Kyjanek, Alberto Lago, Kuan-Ting Lai, Luigi Olivieri, Guiseppe Pultrone, Annie Scherer, Raquel Silva, Shota Tsikoliya


With the support of:


Ehsan Baharlou, Benjamin Felbrich, Manfred Hammer, Axel Körner, Anja Mader, Michael Preisack, Seiichi Suzuki, Michael Tondera


In collaboration with


Departement of Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates, University of Tuebingen
Prof. Dr.Oliver Betz

Departement of Palaeontology of Invertebrates, University of Tuebingen
Prof. Dr.James Nebelsick, Dr.Christoph Allgaier

Institute for Machine Tools, University of Stuttgart
Dr. Thomas Stehle, Rolf Bauer, Michael Reichersdörfer

Institute of Aircraft Design, University of Stuttgart
Stefan Carosella, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Middendorf




KUKA Roboter GmbH, GETTYLAB, tat aiRstructures, SGL Carbon SE, Sika Deutschland GmbH, Daimler AG, Walther Spritz- und Lackiersysteme GmbH, Lange+Ritter GmbH, Gibbons Fan Products Ltd, igus® GmbH, Peri GmbH, HERZOG Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG, AFBW – Allianz Faserbasierter Werkstoffe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Reinhausen Plasma GmbH, Reka Klebetechnik GmbH, HECO-Schrauben GmbH & Co. KG, Airtech Europe S.A., Mack Gerüsttechnik GmbH, RentES, Stahlbau Wendeler GmbH + Co. KG, CARU Containers GmbH, EmmeShop Electronics, STILL GmbH, SH-Elektrotechnik, GEMCO, Zeppelin Rental GmbH & Co. KG

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