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Eggshell Pavilion, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 2022
MAS Architektur und Digitale Fabrikation, ETH Zurich
The Eggshell Pavilion explores how digital design techniques and robotic 3D printing enable the creation of freeform concrete structures using recycled ultra-thin formwork. The pavilion’s design and fabrication are based on the Eggshell technology, which relies on computational methods to design algorithms that generate both the geometry of the structure and the fabrication data for the 3D-printing process. The combination of computational design and robotic fabrication allows designers to shape concrete elements efficiently, in contrast to traditional formwork processes that are often labour- and cost-intensive.

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.

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 reduces the 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 from conventional 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.

The pavilion was designed and fabricated in collaboration with the students of the MAS course in Architecture and Digital Fabrication at ETH Zurich. Its construction emphasises the design possibilities offered by 3D-printed formwork combined with conventional reinforcement and assembly methods. It demonstrates how the Eggshell technology can be used as an industrially scalable system for material-efficient concrete structures, paving the way towards a more sustainable use of concrete in construction.

Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Joris Burger (project lead research), Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindström (project lead teaching), Guillaume Jami.

Vasileios Aloutsanidis, El Mehdi Belyasmine, Ananya Kango, Che Wei Lin, Wenjun Liu, Erika Marthins, Nikolaos Maslarinos, Gabriele Mattei, Andrea Victoria Mendoza, Chris Norcross, Muslima Rafikova, Joaquin Tobar Martinez, Katarina Toumpektsi, Jingwen Wang, Ming Yang Wang, Vincent Wörndl, Hanbing Zhao
In cooperation with: Nicolas Fehlmann Ingénieurs Conseils SA (Dr. Filip Niketi), Physical Chemistry of Building Materials, ETH Zurich –- Professor. Dr. Robert J. Flatt (Seyma Gürel Saydam)
Selected Experts: Marc Akermann (IWK Institut für Werkstofftechnik und Kunststoffverarbeitung - Professor. Daniel Schwendemann), Theo Bürgin (Bürgin Creations)
Support: Philippe Fleischmann, Michael Lyrenmann, Tobias Hartmann (Robotic Fabrication Laboratory, ETH Zurich), Andreas Reusser (Physical Chemistry of Building Materials, ETH Zurich)
Sponsors: ABB, Debrunner Acifer Bewehrungen, Holcim, Krinner, MÜLLER-STEINAG ELEMENT AG, NFIC, SACAC AG, Welti Furrer

Copyright 2024, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Gramazio Kohler Research
Professur für Architektur und Digitale Fabrikation
ETH Zürich HIB E 43
Stefano-Franscini Platz 1 / CH-8093 Zürich

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