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Stone matters: a pavilion made from stone

Natural stone used to be the most abundant construction material in Palestine, but it is now only used as a cladding material and the knowledge of building with stone is disappearing. In collaboration with research labs Scales and GSA Lab, architecture firm AAU ANASTAS created an innovative construction principle that allows for unprecedented forms for stone structures. Stone Matters is the first structure to emerge from the research.

An important part of the research by AAU ANASTAS is stone stereotomy, which are the processes of cutting stones.

According to the firm, the structures they create rely “on computational simulation and fabrication techniques in order to present a modern stone construction technique as part of local and global architectural language.”

The Stone Matters pavilion covers a surface of 60 square metres (646 square feet) and spans 7 metres (23 feet) with a constant depth of 12 cm (4.7 inch). The geometry follows the shape of a minimal surface on which geodesic lines are drawn and set the pattern of interlocking stones. The complete structure is made of 300 mutually supported unique stone pieces.

The structure represents a cultural challenge, as it has been entirely built with the available knowledge in the city of Jericho. The stones were processed in various factories to combine the existing techniques for new uses.

The pavilion was built with the help of polystyrene blocks. The blocks were roughly cut in one factory and transported to another for a robotic carving process.