HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Lightweight Construction

Bionic engineers are constructing a sea urchin for the BUGA

The University of Stuttgart is designing two pavilions made from lightweight materials and based on models from nature for the 2019 Bundesgartenschau – the national German horticulture show (BUGA) – in Heilbronn.

15 Feb. 2018
Roland Freist
Bionic engineers are constructing a sea urchin for the BUGA (Foto: University of Stuttgart)

The two pavilions will each cover 500 m² and be based on biological structures, which generally exhibit a higher degree of functional integrity and material efficiency than technical systems. The first pavilion will be a wooden construction made up of 400 angular segments, the exterior of which designed to resemble the shell of a sea urchin. The second construction, on the other hand, will be made from fiber-composite components, composed of wound glass and carbon fibers.

The pavilions are being designed at two institutes at Stuttgart University, namely the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) and the Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE). The project is being funded by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, with €2.3 million. According to a press release , the two constructions are to be designed fully computationally and their individual components digitally fabricated by robots. Plans are already in place for the pavilions to be reused elsewhere after the BUGA in Heilbronn closes. The BUGA’s management team wants to showcase the potential of digitalization for urban development in the glass fiber pavilion, while part of the timber construction exhibition will be on display in the wood pavilion.