Designboom featured the AIRLab’s AirMesh pavilion that is on display at Gardens by the Bay. Original Link:

Commanding a prominent site in singapore‘s gardens by the bay, the team at AIRLAB has 3D printed a new temporary pavilion. titled ‘AIRMESH’, the space-frame structure is the materialization of five years of research on 3D printing in architecture, with the aim to achieve extreme lightness alongside optimized structural performance. assembled on site, the digitally-crafted belvedere is fully functional and open to visitors since the 30th of august, 2019.

To achieve this ultimate lightness, the AIRLAB team chose a robust tetrahedral structural configuration, which is able to disperse the load through more than 200 linear elements converging in 54 parametric bespoke 3d printed nodes. the ethereal pavilion sits gently in a green slope in the bayfront area of gardens by the bay, contacting the ground in eleven points to minimize the stress. the overall form is a ‘convex hull’ generated from four direction vectors, connecting the visitors to four key views of the surroundings: the dragonfly river, the SG50 dome, the entrance path and the iconic rooftop of marina bay sands.

The graceful structure is wrapped with two layers of white net which creates nuanced shades and filter the views, as well as materializing the projected LED lights at night. its visual lightness and thin materiality contributes to completely dematerialize the whole pavilion, and creates the essential contrast to frame the four selected views while letting the breeze and filtered sunlight permeate.

“As the first of its kind, it fosters singapore’s design and innovation edge. AIRMESH’s structural prowess pushes the limit of slenderness and therefore aims to inspire dare and curiosity in users.” – Carlos Banon, lead designer and SUTD professor.

The assembly of the structure of AIRMESH took only two days by five people, as a result of big technological innovation applied to the connection of the elements, being able to 3D print the threads inside the nodes to facilitate the assemblage with bolts concealed in the bars. only hex keys of different diameter are needed to assemble the entire pavilion.

“Over five years, we have developed a system whereby any form can be conceptualised, fabricated and assembled by means of computer code created in our lab. It unlocks immense possibilities for future architectural designs like transportation hubs, large span roofs and even skyscrapers.” – anna toh hui ping. lead researcher, AIRLAB SUTD.

“The system allows for tolerances of less than a millimeter and perfect fit of components, taking construction in stainless-steel to a next level of rapidity and performance. The structure has a weight of 700 kg, and despite its delicate and fine appearance, is able to withstand loads 16 times its weight – more than 11 tonnes. ‘with this new milestone, SUTD is proud to put singapore at the forefront of innovation in high performance 3D printing in architecture and structural design,” – Felix Raspall, lead designer and professor at UAI.