Carapacks is the result of a design-build project that took place over multiple semesters at the Architecture Faculty of Biberach University. The team led by Simon Vorhammer, Dr. Jonas Schikore, Dr. Christina Jeschke, and David Ott developed a concept for implementing arbitrarily curved freeform surfaces as double-shell interlocking systems. The uniqueness of the hexagonal system lies in the fact that all components are free of curvature and torsion, and they possess perpendicular cut edges. This ensures efficient and cost-effective manufacturing using 2.5-axis CNC laser or water jet cutting technology.
The assembly process is straightforward and can be carried out by skilled amateurs without the need for heavy machinery. Labels and positions are embedded into the components, allowing the geometrically unique panels to be effortlessly assembled without the need for blueprints, similar to solving a puzzle. The planarity allows for space-saving stacking. For instance, all the individual parts of the construction study shown below can fit into the trunks of two station wagons. The digital parametric model makes it possible to define various input parameters such as overall shape, degree of enclosure, shell thickness, and segment size. This enables the almost instantaneous generation of manufacturing-ready kits for a wide range of initial geometries. To test the interlocking mechanism, a 1:1 scale pavilion was erected on the university campus during this summer, using 592 wooden elements. After a duration of approximately six weeks, it will be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere on the campus next year. The system is not limited to wooden pavilions but could also be applied to roofs and facades. Material durability can be ensured by selecting wood for outdoor use or employing other weather-resistant sheet-like materials as well as wood treatments. Water resistance could be achieved through an additional, externally situated transparent cover, such as ETFE.