ArboSkin, Stuttgart 2013
Project Supported By: EFRE
ITKE can look back on numerous years of experience in both teaching and researching the computer based planning, simulation, and production of cladding for buildings with complex geometries. Currently, materials made from petroleum-based plastic, glass, or metal are used to encase such structures. Thermoformable sheets of bioplastics will constitute a resource-efficient alternative in the future as they combine the high malleability and recyclability of plastics with the environmental benefits of materials consisting primarily of renewable resources. Collaborating materials scientists, architects, product designers, manufacturing technicians, and environmental experts were able to develop a new material for facade cladding which is thermoformable and made primarily (>90%) from renewable resources.
Bioplastics are plastics made from renewable biomass sources such as starches, cellulose or other biopolymers, that offer sustainable alternatives to plastics derived from fossil fuels. The bioplastic used in the ArboSkin project is called Arboblend and is produced by German firm, Tecnaro, by combining different biopolymers such as lignin – a by-product of the wood pulping process – with natural reinforcing fibres.
The double-curved skin is formed by linking the pyramids together, with bracing rings and joists helping to create load-bearing walls. CNC-milling was used to remove sections from some of the modules, creating apertures in the facade. The waste material from this process can be re-granulated and fed back into the production process, while the plastic sheets can be composted at the end of their life.