Elytra Filament Pavilion

Installation \\ On now until Sunday, 6 November 2016

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspired by beetles \\ fabricated by robots

As a centrepiece of the V&A’s Engineering Season, Elytra Filament Pavilion demonstrates how architectural design can unfold from a synergy of structural engineering, environmental engineering and production engineering, resulting in unique spatial and aesthetic qualities.

Instead of being merely a static display, the pavilion constitutes a dynamic space and an evolving structure. The cellular canopy grows from an onsite fabrication nucleus, and it does so in response to patterns of inhabitation of the garden over time, driven by real time sensing data.

Currently the canopy is in its initial state of base data collection and becomes a responsive learning system over time.

We invite you to explore the movement trends and the outdoor comfort maps, gain insights and start experiencing the structure in a whole new way.

Movement patterns

Typically, people move in response to their surrounding to find areas of higher comfort or attractions.

Imagine a structure sensing people movement trends based on anonymous data, and responding by expansion and reconfiguration to replicate the experience of areas where people tend to inhabit more frequently.

Sensors located seamlessly in the canopy collect anonymous data on how visitors interact with the pavilion, giving us insights into which places are more inviting and which spots are potential bottle necks. The people movement patterns illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of the outdoor space, providing opportunities for the structure to respond to them.

More movement Less movement
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Modcam sensors are used to translate pixels into anonymous data before being distributed to remote servers using wifi. The data is then used as the basis for visualizations and animations, showing movement patterns over selected time frame.
The idea of a ‘learning machine’ is made possible using sensors integrated in the design of the canopy and advanced computer simulations.

or continue to the outdoor comfort maps

Comfort map

“The difference between a mediocre city and a great city are great parks and a fabulous outdoor space". But what makes a great outdoor space?

Thermal comfort is one of the key factors in creating great outdoor spaces.

By introducing passive and active strategies that are tailored to local climatic conditions and creating a design which reacts with people and changes over time, we can maximise comfort and create truly livable cities.

Elytra Filament Pavilion monitors both occupancy patterns and thermal comfort map in its vicinity in order to show the correlation between exiting outdoor comfort models and visitor behavior.

UTCI Score -
Colder Hotter
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We measure and assess outdoor thermal comfort using a UTCI (Universal Thermal Climate Index) score, estimating how the average person would feel, taking into account: ambient air temperature, wind speed, solar radiation, relative humidity, mean radiant temperature of the surrounding area and the sky, and typical values for a person’s clothing factor and activity. The weather elements are measured locally using a nearby station from the Weather Underground website and a UTCI score is calculated for the canopy every 5 minutes.

Design, engineering and fabrication team

Elytra Filament Pavilion is created by Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann (ICD University of Stuttgart / Achim Menges Architect), Jan Knippers (ITKE University of Stuttgart / Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering) and Thomas Auer (Transsolar Climate Engineering / TUM). Commissioned by the V&A

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Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann ICD – Institute for Computational Design,
University of Stuttgart Achim Menges Architect, Frankfurt
Team also includes: Marshall Prado (fabrication development), Aikaterini Papadimitriou, Niccolo Dambrosio, Roberto Naboni, with support by Dylan Wood, Daniel Reist

Jan Knippers ITKE – Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart
Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, Stuttgart, New York
Team also includes: Valentin Koslowski & James Solly (structure development), Thiemo Fildhuth (structural sensors)

Thomas Auer Transsolar Climate Engineering, Stuttgart Building Technology and Climate Responsive Design, TU München
Team also includes: Elmira Reisi, Boris Plotnikov

With the support of: Michael Preisack, Christian Arias, Pedro Giachini, Andre Kauffman, Thu Nguyen, Nikolaos Xenos, Giulio Brugnaro, Alberto Lago, Yuliya Baranovskaya, Belen Torres

Commissioned by the V&A


Victoria & Albert Museum, London
University of Stuttgart

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