Sustainable architecture modules made of flax fibers

BioMat department (Prof. Hanaa Dahy) at the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of Stuttgart, finished a new research demonstrator, which showcases how biocomposites can be applied in contemporary architecture as an alternative to non-renewable or slow-renewable materials.
[Photo: BioMat/ITKE]

The Mock-up demonstrates a vision for modular sustainable architecture, where annually-renewable biomaterials are digitally additively-fabricated to produce minimal surface modular units, which are versatile and reusable in diverse geometric constellations. The mock-up is 2 m high, consists of 14 modules and it weighs only 20 kg.

BioMat Flat to Spatial Mockup 2020: Minimal Surface Modular Biocomposite Material

© BioMat/ITKE | Source: Vimeo

The identical modules were assembled into different foam-like lightweight compositions. The modules were fabricated by digitally tailoring of natural flax fibers into specific 2D pattern following optimized structural and parametric geometrical deviations. These were later formed in a vacuum-assisted moulding process into the final 3D shapes.

The mock-up is 2m high, consists of 14 modules and it weighs only 20 kg.

This project is a result of three months of intensive work including computational architectural design, structural simulations, and optimizations as well as the digital fabrication phases. The demonstrator was designed and fabricated during very uncertain circumstances: Due to the corona pandemy the eight students worked mostly online. The course was provided by BioMat Group at ITKE lead by Jun.-Prof. Hanaa Dahy in cooperation with the Institute of Aircraft Design, lead by Prof. Peter Middendorf and the Open Mechanics group at Faculty of Civil Engineering at Czech Technical University in Prague.

The Mock-up got fundings from the University of Stuttgart (Project Stuttgarter Change Labs), the German Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR e.V.) and from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under the Cluster of excellence EXC 2120 Cluster of Excellence Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture (IntCDC) at the University of Stuttgart. Material was provided by Groupe Depestele and Hexion GmbH.

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