ArboSkin: Durable and RecyclableBioplastics Facade Mock-Up

ArboSkin: Durable and RecyclableBioplastics Facade Mock-Up

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ArboSkin: Durable and RecyclableBioplastics Facade Mock-Up

ITKE as Association

Mock‐Up: The bioplastics facade mock‐up was created within the framework of Research Project Bioplastic Facade, aproject supported by EFRE (Europäischer Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung/ European Fund for RegionalDevelopment). It demonstrates one of the possible architectonic and constructional applications of thebioplastic materials developed in the course of this project. The blueprint is based on a triangular net made upof 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 basedplanning, simulation, and production of cladding for buildings with complex geometries. Currently, materialsmade from petroleum‐based plastic, glass, or metal are used to encase such structures. Thermoformablesheets of bioplastics will constitute a resource‐efficient alternative in the future as they combine the highmalleability and recyclability of plastics with the environmental benefits of materials consisting primarily ofrenewable resources.

Collaborating materials scientists, architects, product designers, manufacturing technicians, and environmentalexperts 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 theresearch project, ARBOBLEND®, a special type of bioplastic granules, can be extruded into sheets which arefurther processable as needed: They can be drilled, printed, laminated, laser cut, CNC‐milled, or thermoformedto 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 materialcan be recycled and meets the high durability and inflammability standards for building materials. The goal ofthe project was to develop a maximally sustainable yet durable building material while keeping petroleumbasedcomponents 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.

Innovative Character of the Research Project: This research project marks the first occasion for development of bioplastic sheets that are made primarily ofrenewable resources, can be freely formed, and are furthermore designed for application in the building sectorand specifically for building exteriors. At the beginning of this project, such a product was not available on themarket. The conception of this material as flame‐retardant sheet material also aims at applications for buildinginteriors (spek DESIGN).

With this new development, we can therefore soon offer a product that addresses two trends: ‐ the increasing demand for resource‐efficient and sustainable building materials ‐ the increasing development of buildings featuring double‐curved geometries and planar facade componentswith 3D effects (relief)

Project Information: Duration of project: 20 Dec 2011‐31 Oct 2013 Mock‐Up Presentation: 17 Oct 2013

Mock‐Up Production Concept: Extruded sheets made of the bioplastic materials developed by TECNARO throughout the project arethermoformed into identical pyramidal moulding components.

Project partner BAUER THERMOFORMING is an expert at thermoforming thick‐walled bioplastic sheets. Thenecessary process of contour milling allows for multiple variations among the moulding components asidentical thermoformed parts can be processed differently using various CNC milling paths. This allows for thecladding of freeform areas with a single moulded component. The plastic waste that results from CNC millingprocess is regranulated and directly returned to the extruding process. At the end of their useful life, the facadesheets can be composted or disposed of almost carbon‐neutrally.

Mock‐Up Supporting Structure: The freeform bioplastic facade functions as a sheet material based shell structure with additional loadbearingand bracing ring carriers and joists. Contrary to common non‐loadbearing facade constructions, thisconstruction involves the loadbearing properties of the double curved skin (made of 3,5 mm thickbioplasticpyramids that are mechnically coupled) in the loadbearing and bracing processes of the entiresystem. On the one hand, this innovative measure shows the potential of modified bioplastics as a bracingmaterial (up to E≈4000N/mm²) suitable for exterior applications as it adds only a minor load due to its ownweight (13kN/m³); on the other hand, it allows for the construction of a facade that utilizes a minimizednumber of points of support and/or mounting brackets on the structural work behind it.

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Bel Air, Los Angeles, CA, USA - Build completed in 2019
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