ACMA proudly hosted the first-ever Composites Pavilion at the 2014 AIA Convention, with a CFRP and GFRP canopy designed by award-winning architect Greg Lynn and fabricated by Kreysler & Associates.

A variety of materials were showcased amongst the nearly 1,000 exhibitors at the 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention in Chicago, but the composites exhibits had a special highlight. They were the only booths housed under a canopy of the materials they promoted to the nearly 20,000 attendees at the convention in June. ACMA proudly hosted the first-ever Composites Pavilion at the AIA Convention, with a CFRP and GFRP canopy designed by award-winning architect Greg Lynn and fabricated by Kreysler & Associates.

Hanging from the ceiling above the Composites Pavilion, the canopy was designed to draw the crowd to the pavilion and provide a focal point for the area. “I was hoping [the canopy] would represent an object that was so uniquely made out of composites that wasn’t possible to do with any other material, and I think it accomplished that,” says Bill Kreysler, president of Kreysler & Associates and chair of ACMA’s Architectural Division. “It did attract attention, and it set apart the pavilion from all the other exhibits.”

The 20 x 16 x 5-foot canopy contains two GFRP structural rings, a smaller inner ring at the bottom and a larger outer ring higher up. Ninety-six CFRP ribbons arch out like water in a fountain, connecting the two rings.

The ribbons, made from unidirectional carbon fiber, were each 50 millimeters wide and one millimeter thick. The pieces were cut to length based on a computer model. A CNC machine was used to create the mold for both GFRP rings, which were fabricated using hand layup and featured a polyester laminating resin. More than 350 zip ties secured the intersections of the ribbons. Josh Zabel, director of digital fabrication at Kreysler & Associates, fabricated the canopy and helped install it at the convention.

The canopy had to meet all building code requirements, so it could not block any sprinklers on the ceiling. It also needed to be lightweight and easily transportable. It was shipped in pieces, then assembled in about half a day’s time at the show. The rings were bolted together, and the ribbons were fastened with the zip ties. The canopy was hung from nine points – six around the outer ring and three around the inner ring.