In March 2014, we profiled a project that was in the final stages of crowd-funding through Kickstarter, the Fiberwave Pavilion. Thanks, without doubt, to contributions from our esteemed readers, the project funded fully, and has been completed. To supplement the $6900 in Kickstarter funds, the students of Carbon_Lab (Illinois Institute of Technology School of Architecture) raised an additional $1000 by holding weekly bake sales, an unusual example of tradition supporting innovation.
The pavilion is perhaps more sculpture than shelter, but its architectural interest is undeniable. The entire structure is made from a single repeated shape, a lightweight carbon fiber shell, or scale. Each weighs about a pound, and is only 1/8″ thick. Add a weatherproof membrane and some squirt-in foam and a real shelter begins to take shape. It points the way towards structurally robust tile structures that could be shipped as kits in a few cardboard boxes.
From Alphonso Peluso, Studio Professor who led the project:
CARBON_Lab believes that fabrication is a method of optimization with powerful potential when applied to
design thinking. It introduces a new paradigm that connects the brain, hand, computer, and machine into
direct lines of communication. It is a derivative of design, just as sketching is a derivative of thought.
FIBERwave PAVILION was designed along these lines of thinking. The primary unit was initially inspired by
bi-valve shell structures, deconstructed and reconfigured into an adaptive unit in parametric modeling
programs. Specific integration and tessellations of this base shell led to the overall dynamic form, the wave,
which is designed to shift and morph when variably tensioned.
Through the fabrication of a full scale carbon fiber pavilion, the studios’ goal is to showcase the great
potential composite materials can bring to architectural expression. The pavilion design is comprised of one
geometric unit, ‘the shell’, repeated multiple times. The shell is extremely thin and light weight with an
overall thickness of 1/8” (2mm) and weighs 1lb (.5 kg). The shell connects laterally at two points to another
shell on either side with metal plates, creating flexible rows. The rows are then connected vertically by a
bolted pin connection. A specific pattern of row length and vertical connections creates a curving wavelike
structure called FIBERwave. The nature of the connections and the shell geometry allows the pavilion to
undulate and morph. FIBERwave in this sense is an adaptive, parametric model designed to change and
react to its environment over time.
IIT College of Architecture
Cloud Studio: Design as a Performative Material Practice
Studio Professor: Alphonso Peluso
Studio Participants: Joseph Bertucci, Cecilia Campos, Dijon Dunmore, Xinyun Huang, Jared James,
Ryan Kim, Dakotah Lucas, Jeffrey McQuiston, Nick Rienstra, Teresita Pineda,
John Seaman, Jeffrey Wigen
Project Year: 2014
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Photo Credits: Sherry Huang
3rd Party Collaborators: Chicago Composite Initiative http://www.chicagocomposite.com/
West Systems Epoxy http://www.westsystem.com/
CARBON_Lab is a student based design research studio within the College of Architecture at the Illinois
Institute of Technology devoted to the study of performative and adaptive physical fabrication. Directed by
Studio Associate Professor Alphonso Peluso, the studios’ current focus is engaged in working with
composite fiber materials, specifically carbon fiber, and utilizing their unique properties within architectural
Images by Sherry Huang, provided courtesy of Carbon_Lab