After developing a series of experiments with bio-plastic made from potato starch, glycerine and vinegar, Marilu Valente created a digital form-finding technique which uses the same principles as the elastic material. Below is a plan of the resulting building, a bio-polymer centre in the Polymer Valley in Thelford, U.K. We will be updating this post soon but wanted you to see how a complex three-dimensional Architecture can still be communicated through a beautiful 2D plan.
” Pohl Architects have designed the Cocoon_FS for PlanktonTech, a German research institution that studies plankton. The form was inspired by a type of phytoplankton called diatoms, and is made of fibre-reinforced polymer panels. PlanktonTech will travel around the world and use Cocoon_FS to promote their work.”
“The Cocoon_FS pavilion was constructed from leaf-like panels of fiber-reinforced polymer. Fifteen original base modules were designed and a total of 220 modules were manufactured. Each panel fastens to the next to form a super strong, self-supporting dome. Its translucent shell admits light during the day and illuminates its surroundings at night.
The temporary featherweight structure weighs in at just 1650 pounds and measures under ten feet tall. Both exterior and interior walls carry the same variety of pores, ribs, minute spines, marginal ridges and elevations that characterize the silica cell wall of the slimy brown surface algae that inspired it. Researchers at PlanktonTech used microtechnology to transfer the richly patterned shells of the plankton to a 3D model. Those models were then analyzed and optimized using various computations to unlock biomechanical qualities and re purpose them for architectural design.
Algae is growing in popularity among biofuel enthusiasts, food developers, and entrepreneurs, but as far as we know, the Cocoon_FS is the first prefab to take its design cues from phytoplankton. The plankton-inspired building made its debut in Germany and will be erected at sites around the world in an effort to draw support, awe, and admiration for PlanktonTech’s ongoing investigation of plankton-based solutions.”