Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
AIA Pavilion in New Orleans, Louisiana
May 31st, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Gernot Riether is using digital design and fabrication techniques to reintroduce plastic as a building material for light-weight and inexpensive structures. The project provides a new aesthetic for environmentally friendly architecture, changing our perception of plastic from an environmentally problematic to a “green” material.
The project was selected for realization at an annual AIA call of entries that asked for an intervention that brings to life the historic city of New Orleans. Gernot Riether’s project suggested a series of event spaces sited within usually hidden, private courtyards. At night the pavilions would transform into event spaces and reverse the cities’ fabric: What was a private space during the day would become a public space for music and other events at night.
Using PETG as a material suggests a negative carbon footprint. PETG can be produced from sugarcane and can be recycled. Currently the chemical industry is changing it’s production of plastic fromfossil-fuel plastic to bioplasticwhich might make plastic the building material for the 21st century.
The pavilion is build from 320 different triangular cells. The edges of each cell are folded. Connecting the cells the folds form a complex geodesic system. The surface within the cell is transformed to respond to different functions such as seating, support for light fixtures, plant holders of rainwater collectors. The complex geometry of the cells allowed combiningstructure and envelope in a single material system.
Using scripting to design the pavilion and using a flexible mold to thermoform each cell allowedto customize each cell according to different functions and context.
To minimize the amount of material used for the envelope and to create a light-weight structure the envelope generates wormholes that act brace- and column-like and increase the surface tension. The formation of wormholes within the surface allowed to light weight structure of total 123 kg.
The pavilion reflects Gernot Riether’s 5 points that lead to a more environmentally friendly architecture:
1) Build from bio-materials that can be recycled.
2) Avoid typological thinking.
3) Combine digital and physical spaces.
4) Mass customize building systems and system components.
5) Let geometry emerge as a consequence of interactions, matter and material behavior.
Contact Gernot Riether Architects