What would you print with free access to a 3D printer and resources? My imagination is running wild between custom accessories and a tiny house! Architecture firm, MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network), did just that and designed a complete 3D printed pavilion to welcome visitors from all over the world into the mystical desert of Wadi Rum in Jordan. Fun fact about Wadi Rum – it looks so much like the Martian landscape that it has served as a stage for multiple space movies, even for ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, a cult classic!
The Desert Pavilion was created to be a communal oasis of heritage and micro-ecology. When you look at the renders, the structure is a blend of local Bedouin architecture with space-age technology. The design team has envisioned an innovative use of 3D printed panels by deploying them onto a CNC bent steel pipe system. To simulate a holistic tent-like structure, the team used a hybrid of 3D printed polymer shells on 3D printed concrete topography with the ‘Mesh Relaxation’ parametric strategy.
“We used the patterns emerging from the interaction of one space to another, to develop the floor plan of the pavilion. The physical phenomena of the magnetic force patterns between a number of nodes represent an opportunity for an interesting planning strategy,” explains the design team when talking about the use of field lines and supporting pipes to form funicular touch-points around which seating areas are laid out. Desert trees and shrubs are planted in the center to regulate the flow of atmosphere inside.
The outer shell is made of panels that overlap without gaps and also create a mosaic-like aesthetic that optimizes 3D printing. These tessellated panels filter light inside the unique space while keeping the ventilation window open. For night time, there are linear lighting fixtures installed aligned with the force field patterns to create gentle ambient lighting. The same funnels also act as wells of natural light during the day which is then beautifully diffused throughout the space – sounds like plants + good lighting which makes it a perfect photo spot! After all, the purpose is to create art in the form of architecture where locals and tourists can gather to tell stories, rest, and celebrate the desert in its most authentic state. Another fun fact – it can also be used as a case study for future Martian habitats!
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