The “Silk Pavilion” Combines Digital and Biological Architecture

Alessia Andreotti
August 3rd 2013

To explore the connection between biological and digital fabrication, the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab studied the behavior of silkworms and designed the Silk Pavilion, a machine that creates a geodesic structure with the support of 6,500 computer-guided insects.

The overall geometry of the pavilion was based on by the silkworm's ability to generate dimensional cocoons, and developed using an algorithm that assigns a single continuous thread across patches providing various degrees of density.

The concept of using silkworms for structural engineering, however strange, has a number of benefits.
“The project speculates about the possibility in the future to implement a biological swarm approach to 3D printing," explains professor Oxman. "Imagine thousands of synthetic silkworms guided by environmental conditions, such as light or heat, supporting the deposition of natural materials using techniques other than layering. This will allow us to exclude waste and achieve increased control over material location, structure and property”.

Find more at MIT.

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Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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