ArboSkin, Stuttgart 2013

Durable and Recyclable Bioplastics Facade Mock-Up

Production and Assembly

Duration: 3:16 min | © ITKE University of Stuttgart | Source: Vimeo


The bioplastics facade mock-up was created within the framework of Research Project Bioplastic Facade, a project supported by EFRE (Europäischer Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung/ European Fund for Regional Development). It demonstrates one of the possible architectonic and constructional applications of the bioplastic materials developed in the course of this project. The blueprint is based on a triangular net made up of mesh elements of varying sizes.

Research Project Bioplastic Facade:

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. Developed by project partner TECNARO within the framework of the research project, ARBOBLEND®, a special type of bioplastic granules, can be extruded into sheets which are further processable as needed: They can be drilled, printed, laminated, laser cut, CNC-milled, or thermoformed to achieve different surface qualities and structures and various moulded components can be produced.
The semi-finished products serve as cladding for flat or free-formed interior and exterior walls. The material can be recycled and meets the high durability and inflammability standards for building materials. The goal of the project was to develop a maximally sustainable yet durable building material while keeping petroleum-based components and additives to a minimum.
The ecological audit was completed by project partner ISWA (Institute for water engineering, water quality, and waste management). Furthermore, the materials’s resistance to microbial degradation was determined.Duration of the project:  December 20, 2011 – October 31, 2013
All rights of exploitation are on the side of the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design.

Mock‐Up Planning and Realisation:

ITKE (Institute for Structural Engineering and Constructive Design) ‐Prof. Dr.‐Ing. Jan Knippers, University of
Stuttgart, Germany; Department for Architecture and City PlanningProject management: Dipl.‐Ing. Carmen Köhler

Construction Management: Dipl.‐Ing. Manfred R. Hammer
Structural Design: Dipl.‐Ing. Thiemo Fildhuth
Student Design Team: Martin Loučka, Peter Kohlhammer, Adrian Grygar
Geometry Programming Martin Loučka
Realisation: Adrian Grygar, Serge Deisner, Maximilian Kurz, Martin Loučka,
Paco Motzer, Jan Tondera, Dennis Gerlach, Alexander Mironov,
Dominik Heizmann, Svenja,Felis, Maximilian Schäfer, Benjamin Fritsch
supported by Michael Tondera (Faculty workshop Architecture)
Facade materials: Dr. Michael Schweizer, TECNARO GmbH, Ilsfeld‐Auenstein
Pyramid Production: Frank Braun, Hans‐Peter Braun, BAUER THERMOFORMING GmbH
& Co. KG, Talheim

Consortium ResearchProject Bioplastic Facade

Project leadership, Materials Research + Building Applications
Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of  Stuttgart
Prof. Dr.‐Ing. Jan Knippers, Dipl.‐Ing. Carmen Köhler-Hammer
Environmental Technology + Ecological Audit
Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management 
Dr.‐Ing. Klaus Fischer
Product Design + Applications
Dipl.‐Ing. Eberhard Kappler
Material Development
Dr. Michael Schweizer, Dr. Lars Ziegler
Manufacturing Technology
Frank Braun, Hans‐Peter Braun

Project Funding

Sector Environmental Engineering, European Union, European Fond for Regional Development (EFRE)
Baden Wuerttember State, Minestry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector

ITKE, a “Landmark in the Land of Ideas”:

In Germany’s nation‐wide competition “Landmarks in the Land of Ideas 2013/14,” ITKE’s idea for the conception of bioplastic facades made from thermoplastic semi‐finished materials in the framework of Research Project Bioplastic Facade received one of fourteen awards in the science cateogry. For the first time, this competition had adopted a theme: „Ideen finden Stadt,“a pun on the German words “Stadt” (city) and “stattfinden” (to take place), resulting in a playful tension between “Ideas take place” and “Ideas take to the city.” The initiative “Deutschland ‐ Land der Ideen” / “Germany ‐ Land of Ideas” and Deutsche Bank confer these awards to honor ideas that suggest solutions for the challenges facing the cities and regions of tomorrow.
In the course of Research Project Bioplastic Facade, project leader ITKE and its project partners TECNARO, BAUER THERMOFORMING, spek DESIGN, andUniversity of Stuttgart’s Institute for water engineering, water quality, and waste management were able to answer the question how freefromable and recyclable semifinished products with a renewable resource content of more than 90% could be produced.
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