A 3D printed pavilion, study center for future Martian habitats


CATEGORY: Architecture and Art BRAND: MEAN

The MEAN architecture studio has designed an oasis in the middle of the Wadi Rum desert in southern Jordan. The team used generative design methods to simulate a holistic structure



MEAN Designed a 3D printed pavilion for welcoming visitors into the desert of Wadi Rum, south of Jordan. The space serves as an oasis of rest and communal gathering.Drawn to its otherworldly beauty,The desert of Wadi Rum in the south of Jordan attracts visitors from all over the globe.


The topography of Wadi Rum closely resembles that of Mars. This serene desert landscape had been a stage for many space-age movies such as ‘The Martian (2015)’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)’ and ‘The Last Days on Mars’.


Taking reference from the lightweight geodesic dome system of ‘Mars Camp’ which is located on a plot near the site, the design team envisioned a novel system of 3D printed panels that can be deployed onto a CNC bent, steel pipe system.


Designed with a unique overlap of Bedouin Heritage and Space-Age Technology.


Our team utilized generative design methods to simulate a holistic structure: a hybrid of a 3D printed polymer shell on 3D printed concrete topography.


Inspired by the ingenuity of the mobile architecture of the local Bedouins, we were inclined to simulate a tent-form using the ‘Mesh Relaxation’ parametric strategy, which generates a digital Catenary mesh geometry, in equilibrium.




Generated from a field of forces.

By grounding the tent form as a ‘diagram of forces’ emitting various ‘charges’ that correspond to seating areas, we looked at the phenomena of magnetic fields to unify those charges.


The company used the patterns emerging from the interaction of one space to another, to develop the floor plan of the pavilion. The physical phenomena of the magnetic force patterns between a number of nodes represents an opportunity for an interesting planning strategy.


To quantify this phenomenon into a digital algorithm simulating those patterns, the team wrote a script that adopts the ‘RK4 Method’, developed by the German mathematicians C. Runge and M.W. Kutta around 1900. The ‘flow-lines’  from the magnetic field simulation are projected onto a digitally simulated optimized mesh which is generated via a script that approximates centenary curves.


The script generates vector fields resembling magnetic forces which are then manipulated to subdivide the outer shell of the structure into panels that are within the printing range of a 6-axis industrial robot.


A stepping topography of 3D printed concrete platform creates a transition from the sandy site to the interior. The mesh is anchored towards the periphery of the stepped platform, creating welcoming archways for entries.


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