Armadillo Pavilion showcases a wooden structure with flexible joints

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Armadillo pavilion showcasing its unique wooden structure and flexible joints

In 2024, Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts (MSGSU) academics and students created the Armadillo, a wooden pavilion with moveable joints that shows how versatile constructions can be. Because of its flexible joints, Armadillo can be erected, disassembled, and reassembled in a variety of places and can adjust to new spatial constraints.

The structural planning, detailing, and construction of the pavilion were all done digitally with parametric design techniques. Initially, as part of a design-build workshop, academics and students constructed and installed the pavilion in Mongeri Hall, the university’s exhibition area.

Close-up of the Armadillo pavilion's movable parts and parametric design features

The design bears the name Armadillo, after the shape-shifting animal known for its banded shell and ability to roll into a ball. The pavilion’s geometry is like a rib cage fastened to a vertebrae. The spine provides the necessary structural connections and joins the ribs at their highest points. The form and space are created by the 50 free-formed arches that make up the ribs. They offer the spaces that are available for individuals to pass or stand.

A physical model scaled to 1:4 was used to prototype the Armadillo Pavilion’s structural behavior and mobility. A scaled model with all the same details was 3D printed using PLA. CNC cutting of 18mm MDF panels allowed the digital fabrication of the full-scale pavilion. For fixed parts, bonding agents and screws were employed during construction. Carriage bolts were used to assemble the rotating pieces.

Close-up of the Armadillo pavilion's movable parts and parametric design features

Experiments with parametric design, algorithmic thinking, generative systems, genetic algorithms, digital manufacturing, digital prototyping, structural design, and design-build studies were conducted on the research pavilion. Subsequent investigations will focus on AR studies, creative installations, repurposing of the pavilion’s timber components, and spatial re-adaptation. Up to the conclusion of the semester, the pavilion’s initial version will be on display. All kinds of artistic and spatial interventions are welcome in the Armadillo Pavilion.

Scaled physical model of the Armadillo pavilion, illustrating its structural versatility

Project Info

Design and research team: Furkan Berke Cilesizoğlu, Kurtulus Atasever, Melek Kılınç, N. Papatya Seckin, Oğuz Cem Celik
Concept team: Furkan Berke Cilesizoğlu, Barışcan Avcı, M. Ali Vural, Sinem Sezek, Kurtulus Atasever
Financial Support: Ahşap Ürün Sanayi A.S., YUAM (MSGSU Construction Research Centre), Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
Location: Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Faculty of Architecture, Mongeri Hall
Tools: Rhino Grasshopper
Photography: Armadillo Design and Research Team, MSGSU 360

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