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Arno Pronk, Eindhoven University of Technology the Netherlands
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Competition and exhibition of innovative lightweight structures:

An invitation for artists, designers, engineers, and researchers

Organized by the new IASS Working Group 21 “Advanced manufacturing and materials” 

in close cooperation with
the IASS Symposium 2019 and the Structural Membranes 2019 Conference, Barcelona.

60 years IASS and 16 years Structural Membranes

After the success of the 2015 IASS expo in Amsterdam, WG21 is organising a new exhibition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the IASS and 16 years of the Structural Membranes conference series during the joint international conference Form and Force 2019 of both organizations, which will take place in Barcelona from 7 to 10 October 2019.

History - IASS-Expo 2015


Internationally recognized and celebrated artists, designers, engineers, and researchers in cooperation with top universities from all over the world are invited to participate in a contest and exhibition of innovative lightweight structures. The structures must display a strong vision of structural design and innovation. They should demonstrably be the result of structural engineering focused research projects. It is our ambition to have an exhibition that shows new insights on structural typologies, through the design of a pavilion. The pavilions will be exhibited during the joint IASS - Structural Membranes Form and Force 2019 symposium in Barcelona. During the conference the jury of the contest, chaired by Sigrid Adriaenssens , will award a prize to the most innovative realized structure. 

The winning team will be awarded a prize of €1000 and certificate signed by the jury.

Competition brief

The competition brief is to design an innovative lightweight pavilion, of maximum external dimensions 4x4x4m. It must be transportable and fit into six boxes each with a maximum external size of 1x0.75x0.65m and maximum weight of 32kg (total pavilion 192kg). The structure should reflect structural engineering research of the submitting team. Each structure will be judged by examining the production techniques, materiality, level of structural innovation, constructability, transportability, architectural expression, overall originality, and transfer with art of the finished pavilion. The choices of materials, manufacturing methods, erection techniques, and so forth are at the entire discretion of each team. Innovative ideas and prototype methodologies that push the boundaries of construction are strongly encouraged.

Competition entries

All entries to the competition are made by completing the online application form available on the WG21 website,

Competition timeline

The pavilion contest consists of three phases:

Phase 1 – Initial proposals

  • March 2018: Provision of design rules and other conditions.
  • October 2018: 2D model of the expo venue will be provided on website.
  • 20th December 2018: Submission of initial team proposals, allowing safety check by local authorities (it is possible to submit a preliminary design first and the final design later.)
  • On request the submission of the preliminary proposals is extended to 20 January 2019
  • 31st January 2019: Acceptance of proposals and payment of contribution. WG21 (the organizers will send an invoice to the team or sponsor of the team.

Phase 2 – Detailed design and construction

  • February-August 2019: Realization by each team of their pavilions as a “transportable kit”. This stage will include detailed design submissions to IASS and WG21.
  • Monday 30th September – Sunday 6th October 2019: Building of pavilions in Barcelona, undertaken by each team.

Phase 3 – Exposition

  • Official opening of the exposition Monday 7th October 2019
  • Exposition paper session during IASS Structural Membranes Symposium.
  • Award ceremony during closing of the Symposium.
  • Friday 11 October removal of pavilions by each teams.


During the Form and Force 2019 symposium there will be a special session organized by WG21 about the exposition. All participants will be invited to submit a paper about their pavilion. Papers will be reviewed by the scientific committee of the symposium. After acceptance, papers will be published in the symposium proceedings. A special issue of the IASS journal on the 2019 exposition is planned in 2020. All participants are invited to submit a paper for this special issue of the IASS journal.


During the 2019 Symposium the jury will select one winning pavilion. The prize of €1000 will be awarded at the symposium. The jury will judge the structural pavilions against the following criteria:

  • Structural innovation
  • Materiality
  • Production methods
  • Constructibility
  • Transportability
  • Expression
  • Originality
  • Transfer with art

The jury will be consists of:

  • Sigrid Adriaenssens (Chair)

  • Mark Burry
  • Kai-Uwe Bletzinger

  • Irmgard Lochner

  • Chris Williams


The cost for the exhibited structures and organization of the expo will be covered in full by the participating teams. The teams are allowed to invite participating companies, universities etc. to contribute to the exposition by sponsoring in money or in kind (materials and services).
The designs may be produced and realized in cooperation with the supporting company. Companies will have the opportunity to highlight their contribution by showing logos and by providing information about their activities during the Expo. The fee for the participating teams will be calculated using the following formula:

For instance, the participation fee for a team from Eindhoven, the Netherlands, will be €671.35; for a team from Melbourne it will be €279.33. This fee is for entry to the competition only and does not include registration at IASS 2019.
At least one member of every participating team must represent the team at the IASS-Structural Membranes symposium in 2019 by registering as a presenting author and paying the corresponding registration fee.

Practical matters and conditions

1.The contest is open for all participants: artists, architects, engineers, universities, students, professors, companies, groups, individuals, etc.. All pavilions have to be prefabricated in the workshop of the participants and transported to the Barcelona venue by the participating teams.

2.All structures will be standing on the ground.

3.The material used has to fit in six (imaginary) boxes that can be transported as “regular” luggage by an airplane, i.e. a maximum of 1x0.75x0.65 m/32 kg per box. The maximum weight is 192 kg. This also applies to the teams in Spain. The teams have the option to produce elements at fab‐labs in Spain as long as size and weight of all the elements satisfy the above‐mentioned criteria.

4.The venue of the exhibition is at the crown plaza hotel in Barcelona. There will be space for at least 20 pavilions. The maximum size of the envelope for the structure is 4 x 4 x 4 meter. All pavilions will be standing on the ground. (There is no possibility for suspended pavilions). Electricity for the pavilions (lighting, sound or electrical motors, etc.) can be supplied if requested.

5.Irrelevant or impossible proposals may be refused.

6.The jury will invite only the proposals with the highest quality to be erected in Barcelona.

7.WG21 reserves the right to cancel the exposition or withdraw the prize for the winner as promised in case of financial shortage due to a lack of sponsorship or participants.

8.From Autumn 2018 teams can ask WG21 to provide a digital 3D model of the expo venue. Teams can ask for a particular place for their pavilion on the venue. The organization will allocate the places in order of entry. The location of the pavilion will be confirmed definitively after payment of the competition fees.

9.The participating teams are responsible for the transportation, packing and transportation costs of the pavilion. They should deliver the materials and services necessary to realize the pavilions on site.

10.The participating teams must ensure the safety of their pavilion. Each team will be required to sign a document about the safety, ownership and responsibility of the pavilion prior to its erection. The organisers have the right to refuse the exposition of the submitted pavilion in case of danger and if the realized pavilion on the symposium is essentially different from the proposed pavilion in December 2018.

11.The proposal submitted before 15 December 2018 will be checked by the facility department of the venue, the organization of the contest and local authorities on safety. Teams will be required to respond to any comments from local authorities.

12.All the pavilions will be published in a digital catalogue of the contest and exhibition. The winning pavilion will be published in international magazines on design, architecture and structure.

13.The teams are free to find sponsoring for the realization of their pavilion. The names of the supporting sponsors can be displayed at the exhibition of the pavilion, the online community and catalogue.

14.The pavilions remain property of the teams during the exhibition. The venue may be open to the public 24/7. The organizers of the exhibition are not responsible for any damage done to a pavilion by visitors. Further, the organization of the exhibition is not responsible for any damage on the expo venue or injuries to the visitors related to the exhibition of the pavilions.

15.After the symposium the pavilions have to be removed from the expo and disposed of according to local regulations. Any costs associated with removal or disposal are the responsibility of the team.

16.In the case of dispute between the jury, the organization of the contest and a team, an arbitrator has to be found that is acceptable to all parties. This arbitrator will be a member of the scientific committee of the 2018 IASS symposium.


This contest is organized by Working Group 21 in close cooperation with the symposium organisers of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Universitat Politècnica de València. The complete information about the contest, rules, jury, etc. will be announced on our website

Working Group 21:
Advanced manufacturing and materials

International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures 

IASS Symposium 2019

60th Anniversary Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures  

Structural Membranes 2019

8th International Conference on Textile Composites and Inflatable Structures

Form and Force Expo Pavillions

How to register and submit an abstract to the Invited Session:

Instruction Download