Irina Miodragovic Vella (University of Malta), Steve DeMicoli (DeMicoli & Associates, dfab.studio) and Toni Kontik (ETH Zurich) combined design forces to create a one-of-a kind, awe-inducing pavilion for the 2014 Malta Design Week. The wide, parabolic vault is made out of 413 plywood panels connected through an interlocking system.
Due to its connected nature, each panel supports and is supported by its neighboring panels. Because of that, no fixings or other falsework were needed during construction. As a result, the same forces that would bring the structure down are used to keep it up.
The pavilion is a modern reinterpretation of a historical masonry structure. The material is distributed along the flow of forces, with the spaces between panels becoming a place for the modulation of light and wind. It becomes an example of historic architecture being embraced by modern technology, where a design’s performance goes beyond its initial requirements.