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An Open Letter of Thanks from Doug Noble ie the Completion of USC's CARAPACE PAVILION

We Did It!

Thank you for your generous support of the multiple-award-winning Carapace Pavilion. As a result of your help, we received more than enough financial support and we were able to re-cast the bad panel. We completed and installed the Carapace last month at Joshua Tree National Park. It is certainly the best work I have ever done with students here at USC. Here is a link to an exciting one-minute time-lapse YouTube video showing the final installation. There are also a few dozen images on Instagram (, and I will be adding more soon. The Carapace was designed and built by students and faculty of the USC School of Architecture.

Collaborative design-build

Anticlastic double-curved geometry

Diagrid structure

CNC milling on campus

Performative parametrics

Paperless (almost)

One mold, five panels, three types

Custom software scripting


Finite element analysis

Curved tubular structure

Digital design and fabrication

Extreme structural overhang

Staggered moment connections

Response to rock formations

Cholla cactus skeleton inspiration

Color-calibrated site analysis

Zero-maintenance for 100+ years

Extreme climate

One truck + one trip to the site

Native-cultures artifact protection

Ultra-thin-shell concrete

No standard rebar

Fully prefabricated offsite

No foundation digging allowed

Trucking size and weight design

Design for one-day installation

Project and cost management

Thank you again for helping us complete the Carapace Pavilion. Hundreds of students were able to participate hands-on in the design and fabrication of this wonderful project!


Douglas E. Noble, Ph.D., FAIA

Fellow of the Facade Tectonics Institute

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

School of Architecture

University of Southern California

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