V&A Installation by Achim Menges with Jan Knippers

Victoria & Albert Installation by Achim Menges, West London Museum Architecture, Images

V&A Installation by Achim Menges

Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V&A London Museum, England, UK

14 Jun + 7 May 2016

Elytra Filament Pavilion by Achim Menges at the V&A

Elytra Filament Pavilion by Achim Menges at the V&A

Design: Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann, Jan Knippers and Thomas Auer

V&A to present Engineering Season including major exhibition on Ove Arup and V&A Installation by Achim Menges with Jan Knippers

V&A Engineering Season
18 May – 6 November 2016

Elytra Filament Pavilion from above

The first major retrospective of the most influential engineer of the 20th century and a site specific installation inspired by nature and fabricated by robots will be the highlights of the V&A’s first ever Engineering Season, complemented by displays, events and digital initiatives dedicated to global engineering design. The V&A Engineering Season will highlight the importance of engineering in our daily lives and consider engineers as the ‘unsung heroes’ of design, who play a vital and creative role in the creation of our built environment.

A newly-commissioned Garden installation by experimental architect Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer will launch the Season. Their first ever public commission in the UK, Elytra Filament Pavilion will explore the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making. Inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the Pavilion will be an undulating canopy of tightly-woven carbon fibre cells created using a novel robotic production process.

Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V&A

The Pavilion will grow over the course of the V&A Engineering Season in response to data on structural behaviour and patterns of inhabitation of the Garden that will be captured by real-time sensors in its canopy fibres. At select moments, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the Pavilion’s construction live throughout the Season as new cells are fabricated in-situ by a Kuka robot. Menges’ and Knippers’ institutes at Stuttgart University are pioneering the integration of biomimicry, robotic fabrication and new materials research in architecture and have recently completed several innovative projects in Germany.

Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design will explore the work and legacy of Ove Arup (1895-1988), the most significant engineer of the 20th century. Ove pioneered a multidisciplinary approach to design that has defined the way engineering is understood and practiced today. Spanning 100 years of engineering and architectural design, the exhibition will be guided by Ove’s writings about design and include his early projects, such as the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, as well as renowned projects by the firm including Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Elytra Filament Pavilion by University of Stuttgart

Arup’s collaborations with major architects of the 20th century pioneered new approaches to design and construction that remain influential today, with the firm’s legacy visible in many buildings across London and around the world. It will also showcase recent work by Arup, from major infrastructure projects like Crossrail and novel technologies for acoustics and crowd flow analysis, to engineering solutions for open source housing design.

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 exhibition will uncover the untold design stories behind some of the world’s most recognisable buildings and the engineering trends shaping the world we live in.

Elytra Filament Pavilion by Achim Menges at the V&A

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “We may not know it, but engineers organise the world we live in. Our lives are reliant on visible and invisible systems conceived, built, run or facilitated by the many disciplines of contemporary engineering. The V&A Engineering Season is a clear statement in our renewed interest in industrial design and the engineer. It builds on our industrial design heritage and reflects the crucial role of engineering in the development of the V&A. Through collaborating with pioneering engineers and architects, such as Achim Menges and progressive consultancies such as Arup, the season will celebrate the wonder and importance of engineering in our lives.”

Achim Menges, said: “Remember the impact that the first industrial revolution here in England had on architecture, as strikingly expressed in the Victorian Greenhouse? With Elytra: Filament Pavilion, we aim to offer a glimpse of the transformative power of the fourth industrial revolution currently underway, and the way it again challenges established modes of design, engineering and making. Built entirely from robotically produced fibrous systems, the Pavilion will intensify the visitor’s experience of the V&A’s Garden by providing a differentiated and evolving space. Its intricate, filament canopy is at the same time architectural envelope, load-bearing structure and environmental filter, which will extend and transform over time.”

A series of major cutting-edge engineering projects from around the world by British engineering firms such as AKT II, Atelier One, Buro Happold, Expedition Engineering and Jane Wernick Associates will be showcased in the free display Mind over Matter in the V&A + RIBA Architecture Gallery opening on 15 June 2016. These projects reflect London’s status as an engineering capital and Britain as a world leader in creativity and design. 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 lunchtime and evening lectures; talks and gallery tours, as well as a Symposium about biomimicry, design and engineering with a keynote lecture by Achim Menges.

V&A Installation by Achim Menges

V&A Engineering Season
18 May – 6 November 2016
vam.ac.uk/EngineeringSeason | #vamEngineeringSeason

Elytra Filament Pavilion Installation by Achim Menges at the V&A – Background Information

The exhibition Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design runs from 18 June – 6 November 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 at the V&A; online at vam.ac.uk/EngineeringSeason; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies).

Elytra Filament Pavilion is created by Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann (ICD University of Stuttgart / Achim Menges Architect), Jan Knippers (ITKE University of Stuttgart / Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering) and Thomas Auer (Transsolar Climate Engineering / TUM). Commissioned by the V&A, it will be on display in the John Madejski Garden from 18 May – 6 November 2016. Admission is free. This exhibition is made possible with the cooperation of Arup

Jübergtower Hemer, Germany
Birk und Heilmeyer Architekten BDA / Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering
Jübergtower Hemer
photo © Christian Richters
Tower engineered by Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering

About Achim Menges

Achim Menges is a registered architect and professor at Stuttgart University where he is the founding director of the Institute for Computational Design. He is also currently Visiting Professor in Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His work based on an interdisciplinary approach in collaboration with structural engineers, computer scientists, materials scientists and biologists and demonstrates an innovative alliance between the fields of architectural design, engineering and natural sciences. His practice and research focuses on the development of integrated design processes at the intersection of morphogenetic design computation, biomimetic engineering and computer aided manufacturing that enables a highly articulated, performative built environment. His projects and research have received many international awards and form parts of several renowned museum collections, including that of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. www.icd.uni-stuttgart.de; www.achimmenges.net

Related installation on e-architect:

University of Stuttgart ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014-15
Design: Universität Stuttgart team

Institute for Computational Design (ICD) – Prof. Achim Menges
Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) – Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Knippers
University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning

University of Stuttgart Research Pavilion 2015
photograph : ICD/ITKE University Stuttgart
University of Stuttgart Research Pavilion

Victoria & Albert Museum

Date: 1852
Design: various architects

Location: South Kensington, west London
Address: Cromwell Gardens / Exhibition Road

Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Entry Facade – 1909, designed by Aston Webb:
Victoria & Albert Museum Building
photo © Nick Weall

Internal Court – Cafe on north side (pictured), Shop on south side:
V&A Court
photograph © Adrian Welch

Entry – 1909, designed by Aston Webb:
V&A façade
photograph © Adrian Welch

More recent architectural interventions:

Victoria & Albert Museum Jewellery Gallery
Design: Eva Jiricna Architects
V&A Jewellery Gallery
photograph : Katsuhisa Kida

Victoria & Albert Boilerhouse Yard, Exhibition Road:
Design: AL_A
V&A Boilerhouse Yard
render © Amanda Levete Architects

V&A Medieval and Renaissance galleries
Design: McInnes Usher McKnight Architects
Medieval & Renaissance Galleries
photo © Alan Williams

V&A Booktower
Design: Rintala, Eggertsson, Jenssen
V&A Book tower
photo from architects

V&A Museum Women’s Amenities
Design: Glowacka Rennie Architects
Victoria & Albert
picture © Arch Image Photography

V&A European Galleries – Europe 1600-1800 galleries
Design: ZMMA
V&A Museum Europe 1600-1800 gallery
picture from V&A Museum

Renewal of main entrance rotunda, new shop, tunnel, sculpture galleries
Design: Eva Jiricna Architects
V&A Building Entry
photographs © Adrian Welch

Victoria & Albert Museum Gallery
Design: Gareth Hoskins Architects
Victoria & Albert Architecture
V&A Gallery London : image by Morley Von Sternberg


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.

London Architecture

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

London Architecture – key builidngs in the British capital

London Architecture Walking Tours – building walks

London Architect Offices

Royal Albert Hall

Victoria Architecture

Museum Designs

Victoria & Albert Museum London

Buildings close to the Victoria & Albert Museum London

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum
picture © Adrian Welch

Darwin Centre
Darwin Centre London
photograph : Torben Eskerod

London Science Museum
Museum of the Future Building
picture from architects

Victoria & Albert Extension proposal architect : Daniel Libeskind (abandoned 2004)

Victoria & Albert Museum Building : Dundee proposal

London Museum Buildings

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Elytra Filament Pavilion by Achim Menges at the V&A London, UK – page

Website: London