X-Form: Tree Pavilion


  • Dingwen (Nic) Bao
  • Xin Yan
  • School of Architecture and Urban Design
  • School of Engineering
  • RMIT University


X-Form is a pavilion design that relates to the fields of architectural structure design and construction through the application of the generative design technique Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimization [BESO] and its integration of robotic large-scale 3D printing. It also reflects the origin of tree building culture and the fundamental concept of dwelling in eastern & western cultural consciousness and craftsmanship. The presented renders and photos are respectively rendering image, collage, 1:10 3d printed full model and 1:1 3d printed quarter model.

Key Features


Contributing to the fields of generative design, robotic fabrication and mass customization, ‘X-Form Tree Pavilion is an architectural installation that combines advanced topology optimization-based form-finding and large-scale robotic 3D printing. This research establishes a design and fabrication process involving a collaboration between architecture and engineering research groups through the creation of a full-scale topologically optimized pavilion prototype. The research advances on explorations of the modified topological optimization algorithm, design implications of 3D printed structural components and related design of connections. These technologies have the potential to be widely applied to the mass customisation and manufacturing in the building industry.


This research work further enables the creation of innovative, efficient and organic architectural forms needed to facilitate the realization of mass customization in the construction industry. ‘X-Form Tree Pavilion’ was exhibited at ‘FORM and FORCE: the 60th Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures’, 2019, and won the first prize of 5th International 3D printing and design competition in 2020.


The project set a new benchmark for design and fabrication method, it showcases the benefit of investing in professional design and construction area. It has already advanced the profession of design in Australia and the world. It builds up the innovation and technicality in design and fabrication. It not only comes from the most rational tree structure in nature but also from the most primitive living feelings in people\’s hearts.


X-Form Tree Pavilion advances the design process developed through a previous project, ‘X-Form 1.0’, to enable greater design freedom, efficiency and integration of multiple boundary conditions. The integration of an updated, BESO algorithm with 3D printing further enables the efficiencies of BESO to be realised within the built form. The project addressed the question of how the integration of BESO and additive manufacturing may enable the efficiencies of BESO to be realised within the built form, and enable the creation of innovative, efficient and organic architectural forms that facilitate the realization of mass customization in AEC industry.


This bionic form makes full use of the unprecedented flexibility of manufacturing complex geometry by 3D printing technology. It is not only public architecture but also an urban art installation. The design both echoes the traditional construction culture and shows rational beauty from nature. It is a combination of old and new. It keeps traditional culture and purses innovative technique.

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