FlexMaps Pavilion 2.0

New architectural challenges

The FlexMaps 2.0 is an interdisciplinary research project that builds on the previous experience, the FlexMaps Pavilion (link: http://vcg.isti.cnr.it/activities/pavilion/), in which the concept of FlexMaps has been successfully applied on architectural shapes.

The FlexMaps 2.0 is a wooden structure, whose shape has been selected among a set of possible shapes to challenge the realization of a complex topology within a restricted indoor space. The selected anticlastic design geometry is a non-developable vaulted surface with three outer arch profiles and a central hole.

The structure exploits the strengths of the FlexMaps systems of using mesostructured spiral geometry. Thus, it is possilbe to produce bespoke panels with variable stiffness by only modifying the geometrical parameters of the spiral without changing the material.

Project data

78Flat panels
3Base supports


FlexMaps 2.0 at the UTS Faculty of Architecture

24 February 2020 - 06 March 2020

FlexMaps Pavilion at the UTS School of Engineering and IT

06 March 2020 - (currently there)


The anticlastic shape of the structure fits a volume of 3.41 x 3.02 x 2.71 meters. The arches have different heights and are linked to a central hole using saddle-shaped surfaces, which merge reciprocally. The surface inverts the curvature sign as it approaches the ground on three different lines of support. The workflow includes shape design, optimization, FEM verification, 2D layout design and digital fabrication.

The quadrangulation is the first step of the optimization pipeline and aims at determining the size, and the position of the spirals since each quad contains a spiral. Then, the FlexMaps algorithm optimizes locally the spiral patterns that can bend to assume double curvature. Due to fabrication constraints, target quad edges of 0.2 m have been selected. Moreover, for aesthetic reasons, the design optimization space of input parameters has been restricted to have a constant width of 15 mm and a twist range of 40-180°. The final design has been validated by means of a two-step nonlinear FEM analysis.


The structure has been fabricated at the UTS Advanced Fabrication Lab by milling 15mm plywood sheets using a CNC machine. The ground edges have T-shaped extremities and are embedded into three-layered ring beams. A wooden flooring made of interlocking tiles has been designed to provide restraint to the thrust forces at the base. The naked edges of the structure have been stiffened with 6-mm edge beams that additionally keep the structure in the correct position during the assembly phase. The structre has been assembled at The Space, UTS School of Architecture, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. Then, it has been moved to the UTS Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology.

Work Group

Francesco Laccone

Luigi Malomo

Paolo Cignoni

Nico Pietroni (UTS)

Tim Schork (UTS)

Dane Voorderhake (UTS)

Lucy Wang (UTS)

Nathan Gonsalves (UTS)


This research was partially developed during the Short Term Mobility (STM) of Francesco Laccone, hosted by Nico Pietroni at the UTS.

The STM scholarship was founded by the CNR (CNR prot. Num. 0071741/2019 of 17/10/2019)