To catch the eye, steer the gaze, and focus attention. That is the idea behind this exhibition stand, designed and built by five architecture students at the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) under the supervision of Professor Werner Sobek at the University of Stuttgart.
The system serves as a filter between observer and object. The planar elements of the honeycomb-like structure are oriented at specific angles so that only a portion of the area behind the wall is revealed to the viewer. From the outside, only objects that lie within these defined focal points can be seen. Each of the items on display receives its own focal point, according to its size and location. Inside the wall the opposite effect is achieved — the view to the outside from the focal points is completely unobstructed, allowing a panoramic perspective as the honeycomb elements are aligned perpendicular to the observer’s eye.
Each element of the structure is unique, generated by algorithms based on the location of the wall and the locations of the items exhibited. Once generated, the element shapes were transferred directly to a CNC mill for fabrication. This process was performed using a custom-programmed plug-in for a 3D design software package. The honeycomb elements and their connectors were first generated in three-dimensional space. Two-dimensional drawings of the elements were then produced, and using CAM (computer aided manufacturing) software, translated into machine code for the milling process. Labeling the individual pieces was crucial, as the structure comprises 2142 different planar honeycomb elements connected by 1376 unique pairs of joint elements. To maintain order within the system, the honeycomb elements were numbered sequentially, while the connectors were labeled according to the elements they were joining.
The Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design is based on a targetted and interdisciplinary procedure, the institute deals with the conceptual and material-comprehensive development of all kinds of construction methods and loadbearing systems. The scope ranges from modern building techniques using textiles and glass to the advanced possibilities of traditional reinforced and prestressed concrete. From the details to the entire system the aim is to optimize form and structure in view of material and energy expenditure, durability and reliability, recyclability and environmental compatibility.
The use experiment and test equipment for the formfinding of structures/intra-network connected to the University Computing Center, for form generation and structural analysis, for word, graphics and image processing/library with approximately 5.000 volumes, comprehensive archives of photographs and literature on lightweight and concrete structures in architecture, civil engineering, technics and nature/studio equipment and laboratory for photography/ model- and mechanics-workshop.