26.09.2022

Eggshell Pavilion at Vitra Design Museum

Based on Eggshell technology, MAS ETH DFAB students designed and manufactured a concrete pavilion. The pavilion is part of the popular Vitra exhibition "Hello Robot" and is now on display at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein.

MAS ETH DFAB students have designed and manufactured the Eggshell Pavilion, based on Eggshell technology, an ongoing project of Gramazio Kohler Research in collaboration with the chair of Physical Chemistry of Building Materials (Prof. Robert Flatt). Each year, as part of the MAS ETH DFAB program, they have the opportunity to fabricate a full-size prototype.

Exploring Design Possibilities

With the Eggshell Pavilion, students are exploring how digital design techniques and robotic 3D printing can enable the fabrication of free-form concrete structures using recycled, ultra-thin formwork. The pavilion's design demonstrates the design possibilities offered by 3D-printed formwork in combination with conventional reinforcement and erection methods. It demonstrates how Eggshell technology can be used as an industrially scalable system for material-efficient concrete structures and paves the way for a more sustainable use of concrete in construction.

Fabrication of Eggshell Pavilion

The ultra-thin formwork for the building elements of the Eggshell Pavilion is only three to five millimetres strong. It is made from glass fibre reinforced PET-G partly recycled from previous Eggshell formworks. It took approximately six hours to print each of the four columns and up to sixteen hours to print each of the four slabs. Both the columns and the floor slabs are reinforced with conventional steel reinforcement. They are connected using reversible connections, which allows the pavilion to be dismantled for reassembly in another location.

Concrete, Concrete, Concrete

The elements are cast from two different types of concrete. The columns are cast from fast-setting concrete using a digitally controlled casting process. The fast-setting concrete reducesthe pressure on the formwork to a minimum, making it possible to use a thin 3D-printed formwork without risk of breakage. The floor slabs, on the other hand, are cast fromconventional self-compacting concrete, as there is only limited formwork pressure because of the low height. Once the concrete has fully hardened, the formwork is removed, washed, shredded, and re-compounded for reuse in new 3D prints.

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MAS ETH DFAB students at the vernissage of "Hello Robot" at Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein.


Hello, Robot.
Design between Human and Machine


at Vitra Design Museum from 24.09.2022 – 05.03.2023.