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Project in Focus: Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V&A

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During the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Engineering Season in 2016, the Elytra Filament Pavilion was created by architects and engineers at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

The pavilion explored the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making. Inspired by the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra the installation was constructed using a novel robotic production process. 

With its delicate appearance and remarkable strength, the project mirrors the concept behind our 2017/18 trend - Visionary.

5 Facts about Elytra Filament Pavilion:

  1. Achim Menges and Jan Knippers are leaders of research institutes at the University of Stuttgart, Germany that are pioneering the integration of biomimicry, robotic fabrication and new materials research in architecture. 
  2. This installation emerged from their ongoing research projects and was their first-ever major commission in the UK.
  3. Made of glass and carbon fiber, each component of the undulating canopy was produced using an innovative robotic winding technique developed by the designers.
  4. Like beetle elytra, the pavilion’s filament structure was both very strong and very light – spanning over 200m2 it weighs less than 2.5 tons.
  5. Elytra is a responsive shelter that grew over the course of the V&A Engineering Season. Sensors in the canopy fibers collected data on how visitors inhabited the pavilion and monitored the structure’s behavior, ultimately informing how and where the canopy grew.