University of Tennessee students collaborated with Loci Robotics to create 3D-printed pavilion

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James Rose’s studio 3D printed and build a pavilion at the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm with the assistance of industry partner Loci Robotics.

Students in Rose’s studio unveiled plans for an outdoor leisure center for the 150-acre research park to be developed on the Tennessee River’s banks a year ago. This project, in collaboration with the Tennessee RiverLine, is currently in the planning stages.

Rose is guiding graduate and undergraduate students in our School of Architecture this semester in the design, 3D printing, and installation of a pavilion on the Cherokee Farm site. Trillium, after the native plant, inspired the stunningly stunning pavilion (Trillium tennesseense).

The pavilion is a three-lobed 3D-printed structural dome inspired by the trillium plant’s double curved surfaces and radial geometries of 60 and 120 degrees. The pavilion’s design provides seating and shade and will serve as an eye-catching new landmark for the research site.

Students from University of Tennessee are learning about additive manufacturing/advanced materials and working with robotics experts, in addition to the knowledge gained through cooperating with a community group and building a large-scale construction. The pavilion’s slender, double-curved arches and integrated seating are only possible thanks to additive printing.

“One of the innovations of the project is the use of the thinnest possible structural shell, only about 5/8”, said Rose, who is also the director of the Centre for Smart Structures at the college. The thin-shell construction will be printed in a single-bead thickness from recycled and recyclable carbon fiber-reinforced ABS. The pavilion will weigh approximately 1,400 pounds when completed, yet despite its small weight, the building will be incredibly durable and solid, spanning 15 feet and sheltering three dining areas.

“This student project is the latest in a series of built projects exploring the architectural applications of large-scale additive manufacturing in partnership with the regional innovators of this emerging technology,” Rose said. “This design/build project is providing hands-on experience and mutually beneficial learning outcomes for the students, who are working with engineers at our local industry partner, Loci Robotics.”

The Trillium pavilion will be produced at Loci Robotics in early November 2022, and it will be put soon after along the principal path access to the Cherokee Farm Park and Greenway. This position is visible and accessible to park visitors as well as researchers at the campus’s Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing and other facilities, and it is near a new UT transport station.

The Trillium pavilion project is a collaboration between the Institute for Smart Structures and the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, the UT Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, and the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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