WG15-Structural Morphology

Working Group 15, the Structural Morphology (SMG) of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) focuses since its foundation in 1991 on the relationship between geometry and structures. The SMG has as mission statement the “Innovation of building structures through research on form, material and fabrication”. The SMG focuses its research activities on Geometry, Form – Force relationship, Form – Mobility relationship, Computation, Technology transfer and Prototyping. The working group supports the formation of ad hoc study groups that focus on specific topics around the research focus and stimulates researchers from inside and outside the SMG to participate in these study groups.

The study groups provide a platform for researchers, engineers and designers to communicate and share knowledge in the various research fields linked to structural morphology. Members of the SMG and IASS are encouraged to contribute to the study groups by performing research, publishing articles related to the research fields, informing other members of interesting activities worldwide, discussing new niches in research and other activities aimed at knowledge sharing and dissemination.

The SMG flyer can be downloaded by clicking on this document: SMG flyer.pdf.

SMG Board

Study groups

Computation & Geometry

Study group leader: Masaaki Miki, University of Tokyo, masaaki@mikity.jp.net and Masoud Akbarzadeh, ETH Zurich, akbarzadeh@arch.ethz.ch

The study group Computation and Geometry aims at supporting research in computational geometry in structural engineering by bringing expert researchers and practitioners together in order to increase and share knowledge in this field. Research themes are related to digital design and the description of structural geometry based on computational methods and techniques. Also, the use of computational methods and tools in the creation of structural geometry will be explored. This study group is welcome to the people who are majoring in the different fields other than architecture such as Computer Graphics and Mathematics.

Transformable Structures

Study group leader: Niels De Temmermann, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, niels.de.temmermann@vub.ac.be

The research objective of the study group Transformable Structures is to bring together expertise and to expand knowledge related to the geo­metric design and structural analysis of transformable structures within the field of architectural and structural engineering. The transforma­tion of such structures, intended to meet changing requirements, is done by using mechanisms (deployable/foldable) or reconfigurable components (demountable kit-of-parts).

Adaptive Formworks

Study group leader: Arno Pronk, TU Eindhoven, a.d.c.pronk@tue.nl

The research objective of study group Adaptive Formworks is to research, test and promote adaptive formwork for the production of buildings and building elements with a complex geometry.

The group is supported by the International Society of Fabric Forming ISOFF and has members in more than ten countries. If you want us to publish your work in this field, please send us your paper.


Study group leader: Tomohiro Tachi, Tokyo University, tachi@idea.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp

The research objective of the study group Origami is to bring new ideas, based on origami research, to the flield of structural design and fabrication technologies. The goal of the study group goes well beyond the application of origami patterns in design. The aim is to innovate structures and fabrication technologies through the fundamental understanding of the dynamic and geometric characteristics of origami.

Curved Surface Structures

Study group leader: Phillipe Block, ETH Zurich, block@arch.ethz.ch

The research objective of the study group Curved Surface Structures is to determine and explore the fundamental relationship between geometric and mechanical properties of shell and membrane structures. Unlocking this secret will give an understanding of the behaviour of shell and membrane structures and thus the means to design and construct shells and membranes with efficiency of performance and elegance of form.

Active Bending

Study group leader: Christoph Gengnagel, gengnagel@udk-berlin.de,
co – leader: 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.

Graphical design and analysis

Study group leader: Philippe Block, pblock@ethz.ch

SMG-GDAThe research objective of the study group “Graphical design and analysis” is to further methods that use geometrical representations of structural behaviour, such as Graphic Statics. Graphic statics employs reciprocal form and force diagrams that represent and visualize the relation between a structure’s geometry and its internal force distribution. Such an explicit, geometric connection between shape and force flow allows precise control of the equilibrium of structural systems, both for flexible force-driven design as for robust structural optimisation. Recently, a lot of exciting new developments have happened in this (historic) field of research with increasing relevance and direct applications to modern design and engineering practice. The “Graphical design and analysis” study group’s aim is to discover lost knowledge and techniques, develop novel methods and tools, share practical case studies, and, in general, to educate architects and structural engineers of the power of graphical approaches in structural design and analysis, to promote their use. 


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