The Purple STEAM, an abstract robotically 3D-printed pavilion by Volkan Alkanoglu

Weekly Newsletter in Your Inbox

Purple STEAM

The Purple STEAM is a robotic printed pavilion designed by Portland-based designer Volkan Alkanoglu and located at the forecourt of Durham County Main Library in Durham, North Carolina. The robotically 3D-printed abstract structure is approximately 5.4 meters tall, 9.70 meters long, 4.5 meters wide, and 218 kg.

Purple STEAM

Alkanoglu worked with Tennessee-based 3D printing specialist Branch Technology for fabrication and YetiWerkurks for engineering. The pavilion was 3D-printed with ABS filament and other sustainable materials. The form was created in Autodesk 3ds Max and optimized via Grasshopper and Rhino.

Parenthetically, If you are curious to dive deeper into Volkan Alkanoglu’s works, you can check out Computational Design: NEXT 3.0.

Purple STEAM

Inspiration of the Purple STEAM came from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer prize-winning “The Color Purple” and Crockett Johnson’s children’s book “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” The structure’s purple tones appear in different colors at night and during the day, depending on the light.

The 3D-printed work produces spatial ambiguity and aesthetic effects by merging, mixing, and overlaying its hundreds of separate components using unique technology and dynamic shape. The pavilion looks at the contrast between day and night. The ambiance created by the installation in the space creates a reading and meeting point for the visitors.

Purple STEAM

Project Info

Structural Engineering: YetiWeurks
Landscape and Light: Carolina Outdoor Lighting Professionals, Inc.
Fabrication and Installation: Branch Technology
Photography: Ryan Tyler Martinez
Client: Durham County Government
Location: Durham County Main Library, Durham NC
Date: 2020
Status: Completed
Photography: Ryan Tyler Martinez

Studio Workshops:
Learn more about parametric and computational design from the variety of the studio workshops at the PAACADEMY

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

-25% Discount

Black Friday

You can watch all the previous workshops (2020-2021) at the PAACADEMY with 25% discount

use the coupon code:


Get 5% more discount by becoming a Digital Member

Become a

Digital Member

  • Enjoy the Ad-Free website
  • A weekly premium newsletter that goes beyond the headlines
  • Unlimited access to articles and premium content at


per month!

Cancel anytime!

Already have an account? Sign in

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.