Silk Pavillion – CNC Deposited Silk & Silkworm Construction at the MIT Media Lab

Created at the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, The Silk Pavilion explores the relationship between digital and biological fabrication on product and architectural scales. The primary structure was created of 26 polygonal panels made of silk threads laid down by a CNC (Computer-Numerically Controlled) machine, followed by a swarm of 6,500 silkworms spinning flat non-woven silk patches as they locally reinforced the gaps across CNC-deposited silk fibers.

Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to generate a 3D cocoon out of a single multi-property silk thread (1km in length), the overall geometry of the pavilion was created using an algorithm that assigns a single continuous thread across patches providing various degrees of density. Overall density variation was informed by the silkworm itself deployed as a biological “printer” in the creation of a secondary structure.

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