andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’, a black box that can be used as an exhibition gallery, an expo center, a performance arena, or even serve as a bar or a nightclub, and is designed to be placed in public gardens, exhibition grounds, or even in a city center.

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’

Fact File

Client: Abhay Mangaldas, Founder, Darwin
Architecture Firm: andblack design studio
Principal Architect: Jwalant Mahadevwala
Structural Consultant: Schafbock design+workshop
Lighting & Interior Design: Abhay Mangaldas
Photo credit: Vinay Panjwani
Product sold by: Darwin Projects
Awards: Silver Award, Design Intelligence Award 2022; Bronze Prize, Universal Design, Design Educates Awards 2023
Source: V2Com

The city of Ahmedabad was chosen to showcase a prototype of 12 meters in diameter in several cultural events to investigate user demand for an architectural product – a black box theatre and an exhibition gallery; with a maximum occupancy of 100 people.

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’

Materials and Assembly

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’
Darwin Bucky is designed as a prefabricated kit that can be dry-assembled onsite and disassembled when required. It is made of materials like steel, wood, aluminum, and glass and does not require a plinth or a foundation to build on, or heavy equipment for transportation and erection - factors that make the product ideal for locations where road access is difficult, electricity is scarce, and excavation is undesirable.

Lightweight, insulated modular panels are prefabricated and flat-packed for efficient transportation. In addition to skeletal stability, the conical shape and triangulated planes on the fascia respond well to the desired acoustics.


A spacious 520m³ is achieved through a unique shell structure that is assembled on-site. A flat-pack system of 1mm thick folded metal insulated panels can be transported in a shipping container. Ridges mapped throughout the form anchor the structure to the base pedestal. The tectonics allows for an open floor plan of 116m², while the dynamic silhouette of the space contribute to a unique spatial experience for the occupants.

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’

The ridges of the structure are designed for load distribution, electrical conduits, and ambient lighting, with unique joinery for waterproofing. The doorway is placed at the highest point on the intermediate ridge, extending outwards to form a threshold. A brick base binds the staggering edge and complements the metal structure. Windows are provided on the bottom half of the form for air circulation, and a unique window panel is designed to pivot along its central axis; aligning with the tessellated structure.

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’


To support a multi-functional space, Darwin Bucky has an in-built lighting system, audio-visual set-up, exhibition framework, and air-conditioning system. All services are integrated to develop a unique structure, adaptive to any climatic condition.

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’

Cost efficiency

Darwin Bucky is an economical option in today’s expensive real estate as it can hold a variety of events in the same space or reuse the same enclosure at multiple locations. The system’s adaptability allows the designer to develop multiple iterations by adjusting the size of 12 meters or 18 meters, and by forming a single unit or multiple interconnected units.

The durability and cost of Bucky are comparable to that of a conventional building. It is designed to encapsulate a space with half the material required by conventional structures, thus optimizing the use of steel to achieve material and cost efficiency.

andblack design studio unveils ‘Darwin Bucky’


During the process of constructing this unusual form, fabricators and installers acquired new skills and expanded their expertise. Furthermore, while using Darwin, an artist can create a variety of configurations of the display, stage, and audience interactions, and let the audience experience a new sight in every visit from this versatile space.

A diverse team of designers, digital fabricators, and local craftsmen brought the project together. The artists painted “Gond” on the outer surface, a traditional painting technique from a remote village in India, with mythological characters as a commentary on today’s society.