Transparent Komorebi pavilion is made from pliable plastic

Students from Harvard University and researchers from Tokyo University designed the Komorebi Pavilion, a fully transparent structure made from PETG modules.

In the project, the students were challenged to design a pavilion using non-traditional forms and irregular patterning to produce shimmering dappled light, called “komorebi” in Japanese.

PETG is a non-toxic, pliable plastic. The pavilion consists of nearly 800 identical ‘snowflake’ shaped modules, cut out of sheets using a water jet cutter. The units were then heat formed around CNC-routed positive moulds in a glass kiln to add rigidity. Once cooled, the modules were laid over the original moulds to ensure that each piece has the same curved form.

The pavilion was fabricated and assembled in 10 days. The shapes, made from PETG and 2.4 mm (3/32 inch) thick, could be slotted, notched and interlocked together in multiple ways, allowing construction without the use of fittings.

The individual units are linked via T-connections to form a continuous tension ring, wrapping the entire structure. The pavilion consists of two layers, an undulating inner one, and a smooth, continuous outside layer. The long arms of the module create a space frame that connects the inner and outer layer, without the need for extra pieces.

Photos: Harvard University