London's Victoria & Albert Museum has unveiled an incredibly intricate robotically woven and biologically inspired carbon-fibre pavilion in its courtyard. Images: V&A Museum
The structure, constructed as part of the museum's new engineering season, is built up of 40 hexagonal components that cover over 185 square metres. Each panel is made from a combination of transparent glass fibre and black carbon fibre, woven into a fibrous structure inspired by a beetle's forewing — known as elytra, hence the structure's name, Elytra Filament Pavilion.
The panels weigh around 45kg each. In total, that means that the entire structure weighs just 2.5 tonnes. The installation is the brainchild of experimental architect Achim Menges, along with collaborators Moritz Dörstelmann, Jan Knippers and Thomas Auer.
Each panel takes around three hours to be constructed by a computer-programmed Kuka robot. One of those robots will sit within the courtyard during the course of the exhibition. While in situ, it will create new elements that can be added to the structure based on real-time sensed data.
The Museum's engineering season is open now and will run until November 6.