Cloud Pergola: The Croatian Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes

As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present the completed Croatian Pavilion. Below, the curatorial team describes the exhibition in their own words. 

As part of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia introduced one of the world’s largest 3D printed structures. Cloud Pergola is an installation that crosses the boundaries of architecture, art, precision engineering, computational design and robotic fabrication.

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes

As part of the Cloud Pergola project, Croatian architect Alisa Andrasek created the design, that brings into dynamic convergence natural forces and man-made structures. Inspired by the complexity and beauty of cloud formations, Andrasek mathematically captured a snapshot of architectural fabric at high resolution as a complex synthesis of novel tectonics, complex porosity, light filtering and shadow casting. The structure was created using computational simulation, big data and robotic 3D printing by Ai Build.

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes

Ai Build, a London based company specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence was brought in to bring the intricate structure to life. Thanks to Ai Build’s advanced 3D printing software and hardware, the complex structure was seamlessly printed by robots in London and shipped to Venice in large pieces for assembly. The pavilion measures 3.3m in height and covers an area of 57.6sqm, making it one of the world’s largest structures to be 3D printed entirely by robots.

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes

Alisa Andrasek, designer, innovator, founder of Biothing and Professor of Design Innovation Technology (RMIT University), said: “Cloud Pergola is coming out of a deep lineage of my research on high resolution architecture, structures that are information-rich, co-designed with algorithms and AI, and built by robots. Resonating the complexity of cloud formations and weather events, this mathematized cloud reimagines curatorial call for the pergola, in itself an architectural filter that here becomes a form of synthetic weather itself. Movement through this n-dimensional architectural fabric generates a series of dynamic interference patterns, drifts and ruptures in visibility. Vectorial storm is captured through its structural fibers, pulling the visitor like an invisible gravity force, through an awe-inspiring experience.”

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes

Daghan Cam, co-founder and CEO of Ai Build, said: “This project is a glimpse of what architecture is evolving into with the advancements in technology. Traditionally architects used to design with the constraints of standard, labour intensive fabrication methods. Now we are giving designers the ability to produce almost anything with robots. This new paradigm in fabrication is opening up the possibility to produce very complex designs that are driven by data, performance and novel aesthetics. Cloud Pergola is the perfect example of a strong, lightweight structure with unseen aesthetic qualities made possible by likeminded designers, engineers, technology specialists”.

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes

Cloud Pergola will be on display at the Croatian Pavilion curated by Bruno Juricic, as part of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale), from 26 May - 25 November 2018.