Photographs by ICD University of Stuttgart

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2013/14 at Design Society, Shenzhen
Inaugural Exhibition of the Design Society, Shenzhen, 2017

The ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2013/14 is now on display as part of the exhibition “Minding the Digital” organized by the Design Society Shenzhen. The project is part of a successful series of research pavilions which showcase the potential of novel design, simulation and fabrication processes in architecture. The project was planned and constructed within one and a half years by students and researchers within a multi-disciplinary team of biologists, paleontologists, architects and engineers.

The focus of the project is a parallel bottom-up design strategy for the biomimetic investigation of natural fiber composite shells and the development of novel robotic fabrication methods for fiber reinforced polymer structures. The aim was the development of a winding technique for modular, double layered fiber composite structures, which reduces the required formwork to a minimum while maintaining a large degree of geometric freedom. Therefore, functional principles of natural lightweight structures were analyzed and abstracted in cooperation with the Institute of Evolution and Ecology and the department for Paleobiology of the University of Tübingen. Through the development of a custom robotic fabrication method, these principles were transferred into a modular prototype pavilion.

Each of the 36 elements has an individual fiber layout which results in a material efficient load-bearing system. The biggest element has a 2.6 m diameter with a weight of only 24.1 kg. The research pavilion covers a total area of 50 m² and a volume of 122 m³ with a weight of 593 kg.

Altogether the research pavilion shows how the computational synthesis of biological structural principles and the complex reciprocities between material, form and robotic fabrication can lead to the generation of innovative fiber composite construction methods. At the same time the multidisciplinary research approach does not only lead to performative and material efficient lightweight constructions, it also explores novel spatial qualities and expands the tectonic possibilities of architecture.

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2013-14

ICD Institute for Computational Design – Prof. Achim Menges
ITKE Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design – Prof. Jan Knippers

Scientific Development

Moritz Dörstelmann, Vassilios Kirtzakis, Stefana Parascho, Marshall Prado, Tobias Schwinn

Concept Development

Leyla Yunis, Ondrej Kyjánek

System Development, Fabrication & Construction

Desislava Angelova, Hans-Christian Bäcker, Maximilian Fichter, Eugen Grass, Michael Herrick, Nam Hoang, Alejandro Jaramillo, Norbert Jundt, Taichi Kuma, Ondrej Kyjánek, Sophia Leistner, Luca Menghini, Claire Milnes, Martin Nautrup, Gergana Rusenova, Petar Trassiev , Sascha Vallon, Shiyu Wie and Leyla Yunis

Hassan Abbasi, Yassmin Al-Khasawneh, Yuliya Baranovskaya, Marta Besalu, Giulio Brugnaro, Elena Chiridnik, Eva Espuny, Matthias Helmreich, Julian Höll, Shim Karmin, Georgi Kazlachev, Sebastian Kröner, Vangel Kukov, David Leon, Amanda Moore,Paul Poinet, Emily Scoones, Djordje Stanojevic, Andrei Stoiculescu, Kenryo Takahashi, Maria Yablonina and support of Michael Preisack and Michael Tondera

In collaboration with

Institute of Evolution and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates, University of Tübingen – Prof. Oliver Betz

Department of Geosciences, Palaeontology of Invertebrates, University of Tübingen – Prof. James Nebelsick

Module Bionics of Animal Constructions, University of Tübingen: Gerald Buck, Michael Münster, Valentin Grau, Anne Buhl, Markus Maisch, Matthias Loose, Irene Viola Baumann, Carina Meiser

ANKA / Institute for Photon Science and Synchrotron Radiation
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – Dr. Thomas van de Kamp, Tomy dos Santos Rolo, Prof. Dr. Tilo Baumbach

Institute for Machine Tools, Universität Stuttgart – Dr.-Ing. Thomas Stehle, Rolf Bauer, Michael Reichersdörfer

Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering ITV Denkendorf – Dr. Markus Milwich


Design Society China


Competence Network Biomimetics
KUKA Roboter GmbH
SGL Group
AFBW – Allianz Faserbasierte Werkstoffe Baden-Württemberg