Working methods: Definition of form
The aim of form-found structures is to obtain the best bending-free state of stress. Starting from an assigned initial shape, the optimal geometry is obtained manipulating the form until it matches the objective of membrane-oriented structural behaviour. Force and shape of the structures form a direct relationship and are the key to lightweight systems using high strength materials.
In contrary to formfinding the structural shape could also be set by several design parameters following an architectural purpose. For instance, the shape of a regular mesh could be deformed in space by attractor and repulsor points in analogy to magnetic fields. Of course, mesh relaxation methods could be applied in a second step archiving a semi optimized structural form.
Parametric design allows the generation of shapes by several design parameters. 2D or 3D drawings could be produced and adjusted in real-time. Small tools provide direct transfer between CAD, structural design software and spreadsheet applications and thus and optimal workflow in the digital design process.
Structural Design applications
Optimised structures and lightweight design often require several iteration steps. In each step the section properties are adapted to achieve the most efficient utilisation of structural material. Special attention is carried out on buckling through non-linear analysis leading to economic and energy-saving structures.
Besides static optimisation, almost all lightweight structures require special consideration of their dynamic behaviour. For instance, footbridges should be designed avoiding eigen-frequencies that coincidence with the footfall frequency of pedestrians, while high rise buildings need to withstand earthquakes without failure of the main structural system.
High quality architecture is also expressed through its attention to details. Appropriate structural detailing is one of the essentials of our work. All projects are developed based on initial hand sketches and CAD/CAM plans optimising structural behaviour combined with high-end aesthetics.