Trabeculae Pavilion at Made Expo 2017


Politecnico di Milano presents a preview of Trabeculae Pavilion at Made Expo 2017, an experimental architecture which fuses 3D Printing with biomimetic research. From the 8th until the 11th of March, within the BSmart! area, in Pavilion 10 of Fiera Milano-Rho, will be introduced an innovative prototype of lightweight architecture which demonstrates the revolutionary potential of computational design and 3D printing for constructions. The project is the synthesis of a research concentrated on the use of Additive Manufacturing to provide novel solutions to the emergent necessity for a reduction in the exploitation of material resources.


New additive manufacturing techniques

The pavilion is a full-scale demonstrator entirely 3D printed with a high-resistance biopolymer developed together with industrial partner Filoalfa, in order to elevate Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to construction purposes. The fabrication process of the building components is based on a printing farm of WASP Delta printers (Delta WASP 4070 e Delta WASP 60100), capable of delivering high accuracy within a continuous production process. The use of the new SPITFIRE extruder  is introduced to shape stiff components within a minimized amount of time. The synergy of design, material and manufacturing technologies allowed the conceptualization of an innovative construction technique based on an additive process which builds architectural forms conceived with a load-responsive material organization.


The pavilion is fabricated by ACTLAB – Politecnico di Milano with a production center based on a printer farm of WASP delta robots


The building components are printed with the new SPITFIRE extruder and realized with a high-performance biopolymer developed with Filoalfa

Advanced and efficient architecture

“The last decades have witnessed an exponential growth in the demand of raw materials due to the rapid industrialization of emerging economies and the high consumption of materials. This research looks at biological models and the opportunities offered by the new additive production technologies in order to find sustainable solutions to the exploitation of materials. Our objective is to explore a new type of non-standard architecture: advanced, efficient and sustainable,” declare Roberto Naboni, architect and researcher at Politecnico di Milano, and Ingrid Paoletti, Associate Professor in Building Technology at Politecnico di Milano. “We looked into Nature to understand how lightweight and resistant structures work with a minimized material use. Studying the internal bone microstructure, we have created algorithms which allow us to generate three dimensional cellular structures, varying in topology and sizing, with the precision of a tenth of millimeter”


The cellular structure of the pavilion varies in porosity, orientation and topology to enhance its mechanical behaviour, Following the role model of the internal bone microstructure.

Component generated live at Made Expo

At Made Expo 2017 will be presented the interdisciplinary research process which involved the fields of computational design, biomimetics, advanced manufacturing and material engineering. A full-scale prototype of lightweight skin system will be exhibited accompanied by a production centre with 3D printers generating live the components of the Trabeculae Pavilion, which will be subsequently completed and exposed at Politecnico di Milano.

Info: Roberto Naboni