About This Project

Trabeculae Pavilion is a lightweight architecture that fuses advancements in Additive Manufacturing with bio-inspired computational design.

The project looks into 3D Printing for answers to the emerging problem of scarcity in material resources. The design is based on a computational process that finds inspiration in Nature, specifically in the materialization logics of the trabeculae, the internal cells that form the bone microstructure. From this investigation, custom algorithms have been developed to support the creation of a cellular load-responsive structure with continuous variations in sizing, topology, orientation and section, in order to maximize material efficiency.

The built pavilion is a load-responsive shell composed by 352 components covering a total area of 36 square meters, additively formed by a 112 kilometers-long extrusion of a high-resistance biopolymer, specifically developed with industrial partner FILOALFA® to elevate Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to construction purposes.

The innovative methods involved for the design allow for an efficient material distribution at multiple scales, which permits to obtain an extremely resistant and lightweight structure. The fabrication process of the building components was based on a Delta WASP printer farm installed in the Saperlab of Department ABC of Politecnico di Milano, where multiple production processes allowed for a continuous production for a total of 4352 hours. The use of an experimental extruder was introduced to shape stiff components within a minimized amount of time. The synergy of design, material and manufacturing technologies allowed the conceptualization of an innovative construction technique based on an additive process which builds architectural forms conceived with a load-responsive material organization.

This built demonstrator has been conceived and developed in Roberto Naboni’s doctorate in the Architecture Built Environment and Construction Engineering PhD Programme of Politecnico di Milano (XXIX Cycle) – supervisor: Prof. Ingrid Paoletti, tutor: Prof: Enrico De Angelis.


Promoted by ACTLAB: Prof. Roberto Naboni (University of Southern Denmark), Prof. Ingrid Paoletti (Politecnico di Milano)

Research, Design and Development Team: Roberto Naboni (Project Leader and Main Investigator), Anja Kunić (Computational Design), Luca Breseghello (Computational Design)
Fabrication and Construction Development: Mithun Kumar Thiyagarajan, Gabriele Seghizzi
In collaboration with: Francesco Martelli (Structural Analysis), ITKE – University of Stuttgart: Valentin Koslowski, Jan Knippers (Structural Analysis + Material Testing)
Collaborators: Verley Henry Côco Jr., Rahul Sehgal, Elena Kriklenko, Maia Zheliazkova, Hamed Abbasi, Francesco Pasi, Sibilla Ferroni Industry

Partners: WASP (3D Printers), FILOALFA® (Polymeric Materials)

Supported by contributions of: Saperlab – Laboratorio Unico Dipartimento ABC (Politecnico di Milano), MADE Expo

Address: Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
Completion: July 2018
Area: 36 m²
Weight: 335 kg
Weight to Area Ratio: 9.3 kg/m²
Overall Dimensions: 7,5m x 6,0m x 3,6m
Extrusion length: 112 km
Combined Printing Time: 4352 hours



Exhibition, Installation
3d printing, AEC industry, algoritm, biopolymer, Computational Design, Filoalfa, internal bone microstructure, milano MADE EXPO, WASP