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Stainless Steel Pavilion Puffs Up, Then Folds Flat [Pics]

Students from the University of Tokyo's Digital Fabrication Lab create a collapsable metal pavilion.

Sara Roncero-Menendez
Sara Roncero-Menendez on February 7, 2014.

Often, architecture is designed to stand tall, withstanding both the test of time and the inclement weather. This pavilion designed by students from the University of Tokyo’s Digital Fabrication Lab is meant to rise and collapse at will.

This 255-piece pavilion, entitled “Ninety Nine Failures” due to the many failed attempts at building the structure, uses steel pillows and pre-tense cables to inflate or flatten the structure at will. The key to keeping this building up is tensegrity, a term coined by architect Buckminster Fuller that essentially means using high tension techniques. The students ran through dozens of simulations before settling on one structure that would look as good flat as it does propped up.

The team has stated they would continue their research on the behavior of materials and the hybridization of high and low-tech fabricating processes through the use of computational design to build bigger, better structures. Still, the “Ninety Nine Failures” pavilion represents a huge step forward in the field of collapsable architecture.

Digital Fabrication Lab

Sources: ArchDaily, TreeHugger

Images: Hayato Wakabayashi

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