Design And Construction Of a Bending-Active Plywood Structure: The Flexmaps Pavilion

International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures, 2022, 63, (2), pp. 98-114
Issue Date:
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Mesostructured patterns are a modern and efficient concept based on designing the geometry of structural material at the meso-scale to achieve desired mechanical performances. In the context of bending-active structures, such a concept can be used to control the flexibility of the panels forming a surface without changing the constituting material. These panels undergo a formation process of deformation by bending, and application of internal restraints. This paper describes a new constructional system, FlexMaps, that has initiated the adoption of bending-active mesostructures at the architectural scale. Here, these modules are in the form of four-arms spirals made of CNC-milled plywood and are designed to reach the desired target shape once assembled. All phases from the conceptual design to the fabrication are seamlessly linked within an automated workflow. To illustrate the potential of the system, the paper discusses the results of a demonstrator project entitled FlexMaps Pavilion (3.90x3.96x3.25 meters) that has been exhibited at the IASS Symposium in 2019 and more recently at the 2021 17th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. The structural response is investigated through a detailed structural analysis, and the long-term behavior is assessed through a photogrammetric survey.
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