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Shadow Pavilion by PLY Architecture, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

A biomimicry trial takes a seat in Michigan’s Botanical Gardens

Space frame pioneer Robert Le Ricolais once said: ‘The art of structure is where to put the holes.’ So perhaps he would approve of this experimental project to make a structure composed of nearly all holes by Karl Daubmann and PLY Architecture. Over 100 laser-cut aluminum cones of varying sizes form the building blocks for a freestanding pavilion set in the University of Michigan’s Botanical Gardens.

The organisational scheme for the cones explores the botanical concept of phyllotaxis: the dynamic process by which plants ‘self-organise’ to create specific forms. Beyond testing the limits of sheet aluminium, the cones also funnel light and sound to the interior, so that visitors can absorb the atmosphere of the surrounding gardens. Framing views out while taking the shape of an object in its own micro landscape, the Shadow Pavilion elegantly emphasises the immutable relationship between digital design processes and the growth patterns of living organisms.

Architect Ply Architecture
Photographs Courtesy of the architects

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