V&A Museum Presents Engineering Season – Robots Build a Pavilion

Posted February 9, 2016 at 2:31 pm in Design, News

V&A presents Engineering Season – the first of its kind celebrating and exploring the engineering efforts that influence our everyday lives. The programme consists of displays, events and interactive installations – and visitors can watch a Kuka robot build new cells of the pavilion as it happens in real time – and will underline the importance of technological advances and its designers who are a major force, working behind the scenes on creating the environment that surrounds us all.

pavilionElytra Filament Pavilion, render, V&A John Madejski Garden 2016;
© ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart; Image courtesy of V&A

The installation created by Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer  – the Elytra Filament Pavilion – will be the opening the showcase. A canopy located in V&A’s John Madejski Garden will be a live structure that considers the influence of new robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making.

The nature-inspired construction is made up of tightly-woven carbon fibre cells created using a novel robotic production process. Additionally, the fibres will carry real-time sensors capturing data from its surroundings and adapting the construction accordingly – by adding new fibre cells – live and acting as an environmental filter.

penguin poolPenguin Pool, London Zoo;  London, 1934; © ZSL; Image courtesy of V&A

Another highlight of the show will be a retrospective of the work of Ove Arup: Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design, which will shine a new light on the most influential engineer of the 20th century. Ove was a prolific creator who applied his training and interest in philosophy to natural flair for combining different disciplines in a pursue of his grand idea of a Total Design.

The work of the British-Danish engineer Arup defined his era and those to come and the showcase will present that influence through previously unseen prototypes, models, archival materials, drawings, film and photography, as well as a host of new immersive digital displays featuring animations, simulations and virtual reality.

The visitors will be immersed in his design and engineering legacy transpiring through Ove’s awe-inspiring writings and projects including Penguin Pool at London Zoo, Sydney Opera House, Centre Pompidou in Paris and other significant buildings, such as Crossrail, across the world.

syndey operaSydney Opera House © David Messent; Image courtesy of V&A

Additionally, a display entitled Mind over Matter will feature leading innovative engineering projects from around the world by British engineering firms such as AKT II, Atelier One, Buro Happold, Expedition Engineering and Jane Wernick Associates. Other activities in the V&A Engineering Season will include an Exhibition Road Engineering Residency supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, a themed Friday Late, a series of lectures, talks and gallery tours, as well as a Symposium about biomimicry, design and engineering with a keynote lecture by Achim Menges.

by Magda Pirowska

The exhibition Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design runs from  June 18 –  November 6, 2016. Tickets will go on sale in April 2016. Admission £7 (concessions available). V&A Members go free. Advance booking is advised – this can be done in person, online vam.ac.uk/EngineeringSeason; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies).
This exhibition is made possible with the cooperation of Arup.
The Elytra Filament Pavilion will be on display in the John Madejski Garden from May 18  – November 6, 2016. Admission is free.

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