Designed as a prefabricated kit of parts, Darwin Bucky redefines the practice of architecture as a product through customization, ease of assembly and reuse.
We are all temporary visitors to this planet; it is important that we don’t leave any footprints that may impact future generations. We must therefore cohabit with nature and not inhabit it. Permanently impermanent buildings are the future. Keeping that in mind, Darwin has been designed as a prefabricated kit of parts that can be dry assembled on site (and disassembled when required). It is made from legacy materials like steel, wood, aluminium and glass. The durability and cost of a Darwin is comparable to that of a conventional building. It does not require a plinth to build on, heavy equipment to transport or cranes to erect. Hence, a Darwin product is ideal for locations where road access is difficult, electricity scarce and excavation is undesirable.
The form ideation is guided by its structural performance. The aesthetics are thus a derivative of a performative design approach. Darwin Bucky is designed to encapsulate a space with half the material required by conventional structures. Lightweight insulated modular panels are prefabricated and flat-packed for efficient transportation. In addition to skeletal stability, the conical shape and triangulated planes on the fascia respond well to the desired acoustics.
Darwin Bucky redefines the practice of architecture as a product. It enables the investor to capitalize on today’s expensive real estate by organizing a variety of events at the same space or reusing the same enclosure at multiple locations. The system’s adaptability allows the designer to develop multiple iterations by adjusting the size (12m or 18m) and form (single unit or multiple interconnected units). Along the process of constructing this unusual form, fabricators and installers acquire new skills and expand their expertise. Furthermore, the artists can create a variety of configurations of display, stage and audience interactions in this versatile space, and the audience benefits from a new experience with every visit.
The project becomes a positive activity generator where the community can come together, interact and revive the connection lost during the pandemic. Although a diverse team of computational designers, digital fabricators and local craftsmen collaborated on the project, it became truly secular when Gond (a traditional painting technique from a remote village of Central India) artists painted the outer surface with a mythological character as a commentary on today’s society.
Bucky aims to strike a balance between materiality and technological advancements in the field of design, and engages the craft knowledge of metal as a material. A computational model is set up to
allow customization for diameter and height, both coded as independent variables.
The spacious volume of 520 cu m is achieved through a unique shell structure, assembled using 1mm thick folded metal insulated panels as discrete elements. Ridges mapped throughout the form anchors the structure to the base pedestal. The tectonics allow for an open floor plan of 116 sq m, while the dynamic silhouette of the space breaks monotony, further contributing to a unique spatial experience for its occupants. The ridges are designed for load distribution, electrical conduits and ambient lighting with unique joinery for waterproofing.
To support a multi-functional space, Darwin Bucky is accompanied with an in-built lighting system, audio-visual set-up, exhibition framework and air-conditioning system. All services are integrated to develop a unique structure, adaptive to any climatic condition.
Photo credit: Vinay Panjwani
Project: Darwin Bucky, Ahmedabad
Architects: Andblack Design Studio