The first major retrospective of the most influential engineer of the 20th century and a site specific installation inspired by nature and fabricated by robots will be the highlights of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s (V&A) first ever Engineering Season, complemented by displays, events and digital initiatives dedicated to global engineering design. A newly-commissioned Garden installation by experimental architect Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer will launch the Season.
Elytra Filament Pavilion will explore the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making. Inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the Pavilion will be an undulating canopy of tightly-woven carbon fibre cells created using a novel robotic production process. The Pavilion will grow over the course of the V&A Engineering Season in response to data on structural behaviour and patterns of inhabitation of the Garden that will be captured by real-time sensors in its canopy fibres. At select moments, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the Pavilion’s construction live throughout the Season as new cells are fabricated in-situ by a Kuka robot.
Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design will explore the work and legacy of Ove Arup (1895-1988), the most significant engineer of the 20th century. Ove pioneered a multidisciplinary approach to design that has defined the way engineering is understood and practiced today. Spanning 100 years of engineering and architectural design, the exhibition will be guided by Ove’s writings about design and include his early projects, such as the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, as well as renowned projects by the firm including Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
It will also showcase recent work by Arup, from major infrastructure projects like Crossrail and novel technologies for acoustics and crowd flow analysis, to engineering solutions for open source housing design. Through previously unseen prototypes, models, archival materials, drawings, film and photography, as well as a host of new immersive digital displays featuring animations, simulations and virtual reality, the exhibition will uncover the untold design stories behind some of the world’s most recognisable buildings and the engineering trends shaping the world we live in. Source and images by Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A).