Origami Shelter Project

The Kinetic Structures Laboratory (KSL, www.nd.edu/~athrall) in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame (ceees.nd.edu) has developed a novel deployable origami shelter with integrated energy planning and management. This research was motivated by the rising priority for reducing fuel consumption for heating and cooling military shelters. To address this need, the KSL has designed a concept for a folding, rigid wall structure inspired by the art of origami. It is comprised of sandwich panels which provide a high-strength to weight ratio and thermal insulation. The structure folds to a compact state for transportability. To develop this concept, the KSL has performed structural analysis according to design loads and optimized the shape for structural performance and energy efficiency in heating and cooling. The concept has been demonstrated through the erection of a full-scale prototype.   To see the full-scale prototype, please visit:


We regret that we won’t be able to attend the IASS 2015 Symposium, but wanted to share our latest research developments with the community.



Ashley P. Thrall, PhD
Myron and Rosemary Noble Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
University of Notre Dame
Website: www.nd.edu/~athrall

Postdoc Position in Kinetic Structures Laboratory

The Kinetic Structures Laboratory (www.nd.edu/~athrall) in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame (ceees.nd.edu) has an opening for a Postdoctoral Research Associate.  The lab is devoted to investigating the behavior, design, and optimization of a wide variety of deploying structures. Current and recent projects including finding new forms for movable bridges, designing rapidly deployable shelters, and optimizing deployable bridges with applications for the military, the developing world, and disaster relief. A Postdoctoral Research Associate would contribute to both numerical modeling and experimental validation of ongoing projects.  Ideal candidates should have a Ph.D. in structural, mechanical, or architectural engineering.  Previous experience in one or more of the following fields is desirable, but not required: deploying structures, experimental testing, finite element modeling, and optimization.  The position is open until filled, but interested candidates are encouraged to apply by June 30th.  Candidates interested in this position can apply by email with a detailed resume and contact information for three references to:

Dr. Ashley Thrall

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

University of Notre Dame

159 Fitzpatrick Hall,

Notre Dame, IN 46556


IASS 2015 in Amsterdam interest group

The IASS 2015 conference (International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures) will be organized in Amsterdam in 2015.

It will be organized by Arno Pronk (TU Eindhoven), Andrew Borgart (TU Delft) and yours truly, who will be supported by a larger organizing committee from The Netherlands (if you are interested, let us know).

Please subscribe to the LinkedIn interest group if you are interested in being up-to-date with the latest developments, or join any discussions:

The theme of the conference is still under discussion, but I am sure that the topics of computation, geometry and the latest design developments will have a prominent place.


New study group: Active Bending

First of all, happy new year to you all!

We have some great news! The SMG has a new study group on Active Bending. For more information, please contact the study group leader: Christoph Gengnagel, gengnagel@udk-berlin.de or read more below.

On behalf of the SMG board,
Jeroen Coenders

Active Bending

Study group leader: Christoph Gengnagel, gengnagel@udk-berlin.de
co – leader : Julian Lienhard, j.lienhard@itke.uni-stuttgart.de

The study group ‘Active Bending’ aims at uniting structural engineering researchers and practitioners that share the approach of exploiting elastic bending as a means to generate curved geometries from initially straight or planar building elements. This newly formed Study group presents itself as a new subject within the Structural Morphology group, seeking to provide an active exchange platform for fellow researchers. The Study group will officially start at the IASS conference in Seoul 2012, the general aims of the group will be presented by the study group leaders together with a review of the current state of the art of active bending approaches in various application fields.

Shell building

Movie on what Andrew and some of his students have been up to at a workshop:


SMG 2011 more pictures

In the gallery below you can see more pictures of the Structural Morphology Seminar 2011 in London, UK during the weekend of September 17 and 18.

SMG session at IABSE-IASS symposium 2011 in London, UK

We just had our SMG session at the IABSE-IASS symposium 2011 in London, UK, chaired by Andrew Borgart and myself.

I would like to share the titles and presenters of the talks:

  • A framework for comparing form finding materials – Diederik Veenendaal (ETH Zurich)
  • All-glass shell scale models made with an adjustable mould – Arno Pronk (TU Eindhoven)
  • Computation & geometry in structural design & analysis: proposal for the Computation & Geometry WG15 study group – Roel van de Straat (Arup)
  • Curved Crease Folding – A Review on Art, Design and Mathematics – Duks Koshitz (MIT)
  • Research of the Study Group Transformable Structures – Niels de Temmerman (VU Brussels)
  • Practical advances in numerical form finding and cutting pattern generation for membrane structures – Falk Dieringer (TU Munich)
  • Generative Models Utilized for Superior Design Development – Jonathan Mirtschin (Geometry Gym Ltd)

Many people attended, thank you all!