The MARS Pavilion is the first robotically built concrete structure in southern California and proof of concept for use of robots in the construction industry. Designed by Form Found Design in collaboration with Walter P Moore this pavilion is derived from a cantenary structure using concrete in its most natural state: compression. The pavilion awed onlookers at the Amazon MARS Conference in Palm Springs in March 2017 after years of design research, and was exhibited at the Architecture and Design Museum in the Arts District.
The design is based on a catenary chain model used in physics and geometry in which the catenary is the curve that a chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported on both ends. However in this design, the geometry is inverted so that the chain "hangs" upwards. Walter P Moore went beyond existing building code and design guides for the Mars Pavilion, as none were able to address the needs of this unique structure. Given that is concrete is weak in tension but strong in compression, the choice to invert the cantenary curve was integral to achieving the digital “chain model.” The inversion also resulted minimum tensile forces due to flexure.
Helix Steel Micro Rebar, a steel fiber material, provides the necessary flexible strength to support the structure while a uniform steel connection detail was used for consistent assembly. The micro rebar was used in conjunction with CTS Rapid Set Cement. Both Helix Steel and CTS generously sponsored the exhibit at the Architecture and Design Museum.