A team of researchers have used algorithms to design a 2,700 square-foot tall peanut-shaped building in Germany.

Photo Credit: Roland Halbe

Photo Credit: Roland Halbe

A team at the University of Stuttgart's Institute for Computational Design used an algorithm to design a this peanut-shaped building. The building is 2,700 square feet tall with a beech wood shell. It has 243 unique geometric plates that use more than 7,600 finger joints to latch them together. Each plate is only 50 millimeters thick, which is thinner than an egg shell. 

The building is now the Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. The designers used a computational design process, which uses software to produce the optimal shape of a specific structure. For this specific building, the constraints and parameters were incorporated into a software designed by the team at ICD. The software then uses its algorithms to find the optimal shape. 

As with many technological advances, this algorithm-designed structure makes many wonder what part the human designer has to play. In this case, humans were needed to define the constraints that guided the building. This process, as ICD professor Achim Menges points out, can help to bring out the best in humans and the technology they design.

“We had all the input one can have, as we developed all the required software and codes ourselves,” he said. “It is incredibly liberating to not depend on the ‘black-box logic’ of given software, but rather think of computational processes as ‘designable.’ This allows us to explore design aspects that would otherwise lie outside of what we can engage with as architects.”

Learn more about how the Exhibition Hall was designed in the video below.