Material driven design for a chocolate pavilion

Alexander Jordan, Sigrid Adriaenssens, Axel Kilian, Mark Adriaenssens, Zachary Freed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper presents a study of chocolate's structurally unusual material properties and a parametric design-to-construction approach for an architectural chocolate pavilion. Chocolate's rheological properties suggested exploration of four structural typologies: a pneumatic form, an inverted branching form, a saddle form, and an inverted hanging cloth form. Material tests revealed a compressive strength/weight ratio 24 times smaller than standard concrete. To use unreinforced chocolate, this restriction dictated a form with minimal bending: an inverted hanging shell with voids. An integrated form-finding, void-optimization and mold layout process was employed to minimize self-weight. Pre-casting planar pieces allowed for best control of material quality but added further design constraints. Prototypes demonstrated how the parametric workflow allows design exploration driven by adjustable material constraints, further integrating design and construction into an interdependent process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-12
Number of pages11
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
StatePublished - Apr 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Chocolate
  • Form finding
  • Optimization
  • Parametric structural design


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