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Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS)

Symposium 2015, Amsterdam


Future Visions
17 - 20 August 2015, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Rose Pavilion


Dimitry DEMIN
ETH Zurich
Zeltweg 62, CH-8032 Zurich
ddemin@algotecture.com

Abstract
The paper presents an innovative design process based on the transfer of mathematical spatial concept,
biomimetic principles and computational fabrication strategies for modular thin-walled spatial,
polygonal structures of aluminum, as presented on a full-scale building the Rose Pavilion. The
structural and morphologic analysis of biological and mathematical models followed transferred into
design and CNC-fabrication strategies, where computational model enables the automatic generation
of the individual components.
Keywords: Computer-Aided-Architectural-Design, Grasshopper-Python, Rhino-BIM, FiniteElement-Method, Geometry, CNC-Bending-Process, Form-Finding-Method, Aluminum-Structure,
Tessellation-Quadrilateral-Mesh, Pentagonal-Symmetry.

1. Introduction
The design principles behind the Rose Pavilion (Figure 1.) were developed over time after
experimentation with both computational and fabrication techniques. The natural features of the rose
have been translated through mathematical rules into an aesthetically beautiful architectural form.
The Rose Pavilion was designed using BIM methods and parametric tools such as Grasshopper,
Python in Rhino, that allowed for a great degree of control over all the levels of structure. The
pavilion was manufactured using flat pieces of special alloy aluminum that were then bent with a
CNC bending press. The curved surface produced by the Calabi-Yau manifold script simulated by a
quadrilateral mesh growth were smaller polygons were placed where the stress was higher. Finite
element method calculations have been used to determine the load-bearing capacity of the structure.
This influenced the final form of the Rose Pavilion, helping to shape the interpretation of the physical
and geometric properties of the rose petals that inspired it. We used the robot to test and check for post
bend deviation. The results from these tests were input into the script generating the bending angles.
They indicated a slight increase in bending for acute angles in order to compensate for aluminums
tendency to return to its original flat state when bent using a cold bending process.

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

Figure 1: The Rose Pavilion on ETH Zurich Polyterrasse. Photo by Christian Schnur.

The designing process presents a design approach based on multidisciplinary research of both
biomimetic principles and novel calculations. Biological principles, material properties, structural
calculations and fabrication workflow are translated into parameters towards architectural design,
allowing the development of a computer aided architectural design.

2. Context
The Rose Pavilion project started with development a polygonal structure of a structure, designed for
entertainment purposes such as hosting performances given by artists and musicians. Additionally, it
was also designed as an informational meeting point at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort (Figure 2.),
which was scheduled to be at the Olympic Village for the XXII Winter Olympic Games [1]. Besides
being the actual architectural object, the Rose Pavilion also belongs to the virtual world. With the use
of projection mapping technologies, it creates the network of spaces and enables the user to convey
between them. The columns and dome are used as a screen for live shows displacing a person to
another environment. The Rose Pavilion unfolds to be an aesthetic spatial object as well as a
revolutionary restructuring of a private, public and work space. The intention is to bring society,
music and media art together under one pavilion.

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

The appearance of the pavilion was devised by parametric design techniques. The final architectural
form resulted from an analysis of material properties and engineering calculations, taking into account
local climatic conditions. Morphological principles of natural organisms are abstracted and transferred
into architectural applications for their performative geometries and functional integration. These
principles pointed to a preference for domed structures in order to minimize the effect of snow loads.
Collaboration between architects, engineers and biologists made the creation of such an architecturally
aesthetic structure possible, that is also harmonious with the beauty of the natural environment.

Figure 2: The Rose Pavilion project for Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort.
Rendering by Sascha Posanski.
The pavilion has high performance components because of the automation of the design cycle and the
manufacturing process. This is the result of architectural design being integrated with the use of robots
in an innovative way which makes production purely mechanical.

3. Analysis of the Design Process


Computational methods open endless boundaries for architectural design in the future. From cloud
computations to the collaborative, continuous design process, which allows multidisciplinary teams of
architects, structural engineers and biologists to combine designing techniques at an informational
level in order to reach their visions in design.
3.1. Biological Analysis
A series of research projects in collaboration with biologists from the Southern Federal University
resulted in inspiration coming from the natural beauty and physical properties of Rosaceae. The form
of the Rose Pavilion was inspired by the natural beauty of Rosaceae Rosa canina; a rose that has petals

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

with a 70mm diameter and less than a 1 mm thickness (Figure 2). This rose also has pentagonal
symmetry and double curvature in it's petals features which have been translated through precision
engineering into an architectural form. The transfer into a parametric model requires a level of
abstraction, as well as the use of generative features without recreating the entire natural role model,
towards the advantages of a modular construction system over the structural benefit of a continuous
leaf-shell.

Figure 3: The Rosa canina. Photo by Prof. Dr. Olga Demina


3.2. Geometric Analysis
The biological analysis provided us with the principles for forming the structural aspects of the
pavilion. Combining notions from a biological perspective to develop a material system using the
geometric articulation of lightweight construction, which were developed and studied during the
RoboFold workshop in Frankfurt in July 2013 [2]. During this workshop, a number of systems were
designed that were dedicated to the development of folded structural surfaces matching the surface
geometry of the design and also ensuring that there was a structure to support the pavilion.
The basic principle of the folded structural surfaces is that if we start with a flexible sheet and add
folds in two directions, it becomes very rigid and load bearing. Following the curve, folds are a
combination of both these systems, when theyre fixed and constrained they become very rigid in both
directions (Figure 3). We achieved negative and positive curvature, which allowed for double
curvature in the pavilion, which helped us to understand the material, geometric and assembly
possibilities before we actually built the computational models.

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

Figure 4: Left, Origami curved pattern, Right, Tree pattern. Photos by R. Pomazan and T. Oltmanns
The pavilion has high performance components because of the automation of the design cycle and
manufacturing process. The development of a parametric model in Grasshopper with different
tessellation parameters would then be allowed to match the structural requirements (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Generic patterns, generated in Grasshopper

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

4. Verification of Technology and Design


In support of biomimetic design methods integrated design process, basic research on form-finding
strategies and geometric adaptation to the structural FE calculation according to the chosen material
capacities has been neglected.
4.1. Form-Finding Math
The CalabiYau manifolds were very important at the start of the project. With the 3D representation
using a parametric add-on for Grasshopper, allowing for a representation of a 3D-Model (Figure 6,
left) in Rhinoceros [3]. The understanding of building of rotational symmetry behavior was reached
from a programming point of view. In order to program a series of the shapes related to the pavilion
(Figure 6, middle and right), where four-dimensional parameterization was applied. The analyzed
super symmetry created the geometry of the internal space 5 [4].

Figure 6: Left, Representation of the Calabi-Yau manifold in three dimensional space. Rendering by Maria Smigielska.
Right, Generated Models of the Rose Pavilion. Rendering by J. Nan

4.2. Structural Integration


The main challenge was to use aluminum for a load bearing structure, five meters high and the ten
meters in diameter. By using parametric engineering techniques in collaboration with engineer Jrgen
S. Wassink, the structure integrity was able to be proved before fabrication. The structure been
designed and calculated with the Finite Element (FE) Software, Dlubal RFEM, where every joint and
screw was simulated (Figure 7). Following the simulation and its integration in the generative tools,
dimensions tessellation were optimized. This guarantees the effective geometric adaptation while
ensuring fabricability of tessellated elements.

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

Figure 7: Calculations made with the finite element method by Prof. Jrgen S. Wassink
4.3. Technological Detailing
The pavilion was made of AluminiumB73A alloying: B57S H12 with 10 m, covered by protection
foil 86B7 with the following dimensions (mm): 3 x 1500 x 3000. Finally the CNC bending process
has been done through the partnership of traditional Swiss craftsmanship and modern computer aided
technology, as a part of the Swiss non-profit, educational organization, libs.

Figure 8: Left, Prinzipal detail. Right, bended aluminum sheets glued and bolted together
The structure of the Rose Pavilion is divided into five parts, where the parts are the same and
reproduced by a simple reputation by rotation. Each element is a BIM object, which consists of
information about bending angles, bounding box, ect.

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

Figure 9: Left, Perspective on BIM Model. Right, Top view

5. Result
The 1.2-ton pavilion had its first appearance on the ETH Zurich Polyterasse in the summer of 2014.
The main supporting parts are harmoniously joined together at the peak of the dome. The pavilion
areas consist of curved weather and scratch resistant aluminum sheets glued and bolted together into a
non-orientable surface, with only one side and one boundary component. Thus the endless form
revolves around itself.

Figure 10: The pavilion was opened with a performance by the concert violinist, Irina Pak. Photo by Christian Schnur.

Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, Amsterdam
Future Visions

Acknowledgement
First of all, I would like to thank the design team, everyone was welcome to participate and their input
appreciated. Every detail was important, it started with the language, layout and takes off from there.
From the beginning, Kiev based architect Roman Pomazan was important member of the team. The
dedicated Robofold Workshop in Frankfurt, where the four-day workshop took place in July 2013,
with participants helping to evaluate the idea of the structural system. And in the end, the project
wouldn't be finished without Achilleas Xydis. The advancement was also greatly influenced by
CAAD ETHZ team: Jiang Nan (early design development), Maria Smigielska (communication design
and content design) and colleagues from TU Munich - Sascha Posanski and Max Langwieder.
In this context it is very important to mention the creative performative element. This is more of an
emotional feature than a physical one. The concert violinist Irina Pak, whose performance opened the
pavilion, was able to unite this unique artistic experience.
A big thanks to Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt it was at his chair I was able to come up with the first
version of the Rose Pavilion.
The project could be done under the careful supervision of the experienced teacher Bartholomeus
Jacomella. All other students, libs-trainees and volunteers also added a helping hand.
Thanks to Emily Raubach for editing this paper.
Sponsors: Novelis AG, Libs, Hasler + Co AG, Switzerland Sika AG, TRUMPF Maschinen AG,
Kamoo AG, Blumer-Lehmann AG, Haller AG, Lift-Ex AG.

References
[1] http://en.rosaski.com/news/rosa-khutor-resort-will-bear-the-implementation-of-innovative-mediapavilion-project/. Accessed 1 April 2015
[2] https://vimeo.com/72301476. Accessed 1 April 2015
[3] http://www.food4rhino.com/project/calabi-yau-manifold. Accessed 1 April 2015
[4] http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Calabi-Yau_manifold. Accessed 1 April 2015