Could Andblack Design Studio's 'Darwin Bucky' Revolutionize Moveable Architecture?

Darwin Bucky’, is a prefabricated structure that can be easily assembled and disassembled on-site.
Darwin Bucky’, is a prefabricated structure that can be easily assembled and disassembled on-site.Vinay Panjwani

In rural India, moving circuses and ‘melas’ (fairs or carnivals) still operate through large tents that are set up temporally and can be packed up once the event is over and moved to another town. Applying the same principle while taking inspiration from American architect Buckminster Fuller, who was known for his lattice shell structures, andblack design studio's latest project is rooted in the philosophy of coexisting with nature as opposed to trying to dominate it.

‘Darwin Bucky’, is a prefabricated structure that can be easily assembled and disassembled on-site. Made from conventional materials like steel, wood, aluminium, and glass, it offers the same durability and cost-effectiveness as traditional buildings, while eliminating the need for foundations, heavy machinery, and cranes. This makes it ideal for remote locations with limited access, electricity, or suitable ground for construction.

The form and aesthetics of Darwin Bucky are driven by its structural performance. Bucky utilizes half the material required by conventional structures thanks to its lightweight insulated modular panels, which are prefabricated and flat-packed for efficient transportation. The conical shape and triangulated planes contribute to the structure's stability and desired acoustics.

Darwin Bucky revolutionizes architecture by treating it as a product. This allows investors to maximize the value of expensive real estate by hosting various events in the same space or relocating the structure to different locations. The adaptable design enables the creation of various configurations, all of which are made possible by adjusting the size (12m or 18m) and form (single unit or multiple interconnected units). The construction process itself fosters the development of new skills and expertise among fabricators and installers. Artists can create diverse configurations for displays, stages, and audience interactions within this versatile space, offering the audience a unique experience with every visit.

This project fosters a positive social impact by creating a space for community gatherings and interaction, as well as a place to rebuild connections lost during the pandemic. The collaboration between computational designers, digital fabricators, local craftspeople, and Gond artists exemplifies the project's inclusive nature.

Bucky achieves a balance between materiality and cutting-edge design advancements, while also incorporating traditional metalworking techniques. A computational model allows for customization of the diameter and height. The unique shell structure, assembled from 1mm thick folded metal insulated panels, creates a spacious 520 cubic meter volume. Ridges strategically placed throughout the form anchor the structure to the base and distribute loads, house electrical conduits and ambient lighting, and incorporate unique joinery for waterproofing. An integrated lighting system, audio-visual setup, exhibition framework, and air conditioning system also transform Darwin Bucky into a truly multifunctional space that can adapt to any climate.

Holding potential as a space for art/music performances, art exhibitions, social events and even as a nightclub, Darwin Bucky represents a sustainable and innovative approach to architecture, promoting impermanence, adaptability, and a positive social and ecological impact through parametric design.