An installation made of hempcrete blocks to highlight the potential of bio-based materials in architecture.

On the occasion of the second edition of Build - From High Tech to Low Tech, a fair held on 2023 September at Casa da Arquitectura in Porto, Park Associati was invited to design and build a pavilion to enhance the role that bio-based materials play in the future of architecture. The structure, entirely assembled dry, aimed to explore the structural and aesthetic potential of hempcrete and how a parametric approach can enhance the efficiency of the construction process in low-tech applications. Once dismantled, the blocks used to make the installation were shipped to the construction site of a private villa under construction outside Porto.

  • Info
    • Location
    • Status
    • Year
    • Area
      Various dimensions
    • Design team
      Founding Partners: Filippo Pagliani, Michele Rossi Project Leader: Vincenzo Salierno Architects: Matteo Arietti, Alessandro Bentivegna, Giulio Dini, Costanza Nizzi Graphic design: Martha Serra Images and videos: Camilla Corato

The design process and assembly

The pavilion reinterprets the vernacular style of the Pantescan garden, taking the form of a hemp brick semicircle that protects a single plant element, evocatively representing the biosphere.

The installation had to be completed in just a few hours and entirely dry, necessitating the development of a parametrically designed installation method. The template used by workshop participants for self-construction was created in-house with a CNC mill and used on-site to "mathematically" control a process that, due to its inherently low-tech nature, would otherwise have compromised the final result of the work. The progressive rotation of the blocks, which achieves the desired armadillo skin effect envisioned by the designers (hence the name of the installation, "Tatu" – armadillo in Portuguese), was thus executed almost perfectly.

Bio-Based Materials

Bio-based materials are derived from renewable organic-natural resources such as plants, animals, and microorganisms. They can replace traditional materials in a wide range of applications, including packaging, textiles, consumer goods, and, in our case, products related to the construction industry. The use of this particular type of material in architecture can help reduce the environmental impact of buildings and promote a more responsible approach to the design process.

Photos and Video by: Park Associati
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