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Lo Fab Pavilion: Robotically fabricated gridshell structure - Boston, MA

The Lo- Fab Pavilion, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston MA  – Where does lo-fab meet high-tech?


Developed for the Design Boston Biennial and on display on near Rowe’s Wharf on the Rose Kennedy Greenway from July 2015 (Scheduled for removal in Fall 2016), the Lo Fab Pavilion enabled students, practitioners, industry specialists, and community members to come together and teach each other through making. During the summer of 2015, MASS Design Group worked with students and Faculty from the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design, Center for Design Research on the iterative design, structural optimization, and fabrication of the experimental grid shell structure developed for the MASS Lo-Fab pavilion. In this case, formal complexity is resolved through functional complexity that emerges in both units of the structural system—the node and the strut—while each also maintains a level of simplicity appropriate to respective manufacturing processes and material properties. The structure was fabricated using state-of-the art collaborative robotic fabrication techniques and a merger of traditional craftsmanship and computationally driven manufacturing processes. In order to move from the computational design environment to one of material, the team worked in collaboration with Autodesk to develop a novel design-to-robotic fabrication workflow using the emerging visual scripting interface Dynamo. A custom robotically assisted welding process was developed to assemble 1880 steel parts making up 376 nodes and saving over three weeks of labor when compared to traditional processes. The process used during the construction of the Lo-Fab pavilion demonstrates that the use of advanced technology and respect for materials and manual skill are not mutually exclusive.

The Lo Fab pavilion was made possible through collaboration of the following:

Adam Allard, Alan Ricks, Armaghan Behza, Ashleigh Otto, Brendan Kellogg, Chip Clark, Cole Smith, Colin Grundey, Conor Byrne, David Barrett, David Scurry, Ed Coe, Giorgia Cannic, Gustav Fagerstrom, Jason Zawitkowski, Jeff Snyder, Jonatan Anders, Jonathan Rugh, Justin Lavallee, Kyle Barker, Lisa Hodson, Mark Leach, Martin Philipp Angst, Michael Murphy, Mike Steehler, Nathan King, Nathan Melenbrink, Nick Cote, Nikki King, Paul King, Robert Dunay, Robin Dörrie, Saeed Dornajafi, Soenke Naehr, Steve Bickley, Thatcher Bean, Valeria Poutous, Victoria Smith; and was completed with the support of the Autodesk BUILD Space.​

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