Like the unassuming but architecturally versatile shipping pallet, a lot can be done with a humble beer crate. Well, maybe make that 2,000 beer crates, like this colourful, temporary experimental pavilion called Boxel, created by digital design students from the University of Applied Sciences in Detmold, Germany.
As part of a digital design course, a team of students built a competition-winning design by Henri Schweynoch, using computer modelling to create an almost invisible, freeform geometric system of slats and screws. The end result: a minimalist structure that appears to peel up from the ground and allows it serve as an open performance space.
Several static load tests were conducted in the university's materials laboratory to investigate the structural integrity of the donated beer crates, while specialized parametric software was used to optimize the positioning of the crates relative to each other. In the end, extra bracings were used in the upper portion of the structure, while concrete-lined boxes at the based helped stabilize and transfer the structural load. All in all, construction took a week.
Though structures such as these are fleeting creations (this one is slated to be taken down at the end of the summer), they are striking reminders that much can be done with everyday reclaimed materials (from shipping pallets to even non-recyclable cardboard) -- all that's needed is imagination.
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