Course at UC Berkeley – Bending and Folding Structures 1

“Bending & Folding Structures 1″

Folding structures have fascinated architects and craftsmen at least since the Bauhaus era. Origami techniques have been thoroughly investigated for their aesthetic qualities and used to better understand the interaction between form, structure, and movement in a playful way. Folding structures train the spatial imagination and stimulate one’s own geometrical and material experimentation. While bending and folding principles have long been implemented in many other areas such as fashion, product design, medicine, aviation, and space technology; their application in architecture has remained mainly theoretical until now as they were either too difficult or expensive to construct. Nowadays however, deployable or adaptive structures for architectural purposes have become more and more feasible, which has resulted in first built case studies. Importantly, two developments have triggered this change. With the application of modern computational design tools, it has become much easier to simulate complex transformations. And with the rise of high-performing elastic materials like fiber composites, a real alternative to common rigid-link mechanics is becoming available which creates the possibility for flexible and reversible motions in large-scale architectural applications. These developments shed new light on an old topic and enable a great starting point for new discoveries.

While the traditional goal for deployable structures is to achieve the smallest packing size, this course will investigate how the information of complex motion sequences can be embossed into the characteristics of initially planar surfaces such that a variety of controlled spatial transformations can be performed. In this context the class will push the boundaries by studying not only conventional straight-line folding, but also explore curved-line folding. This application combines bending with folding and thus offers the opportunity for promising hybrid structures. Since a purely geometrical, kinematical abstraction is no longer sufficient for their design, this class will look into new kinetic simulation techniques that also take external forces and material stresses into account. By using tools like Kangaroo and Sofistik® it will be possible to form-find and optimize new types of bending and folding structures.

This class will emphasize two research modalities. The first will focus on collecting and processing existing knowledge on bending and folding principles in nature and technology. The second will focus on gathering experience through hands-on physical models and digital simulations. The development and analysis of basic folding mechanisms will act as a starting point from which more complex movable tessellations will be developed. The final goal will be a small design proposal of a transformable facade cladding system.

for more information check CED’s website.


Joining the faculty of UC Berkeley

I’m very happy to be joining the faculty of UC Berkeley. Beginning this fall, I will be strengthening the team at the College of Environmental Design (CED).

My first class ARCH259 will be about “Bending & Folding Structures 1” – Super exciting!!


Lecture @IaaC: Video online

Lecture @IAAC

If you are in Barcelona, stop by at my lecture at the IAAC – Institute of advanced architecture of Catalonia. Location: IAAC Auditorium, Time: February 20th, 19:30h


Paper @CAD Journal, Special Issue on Material Ecology

Simon Schleicher’s latest research paper for the special issue of the CAD Journal on Material Ecologies has been published. The paper presents “A methodology for transferring principles of plant movements to elastic systems in architecture”. The paper is co-authored with Simon Poppinga and Thomas Speck of the Plant Biomechanics Group in Freiburg as well as Julian Lienhard and Jan Knippers of the ITKE.

Link to the paper:


Workshop @KOGE

Riccardo La Magna and Simon Schleicher from the ITKE are going to collaborate with Günther Filz from KOGE – Institut für Konstruktion und Gestaltung at the University of Innsbruck. Together we’ll be teaching two workshops on “Formfinding Processes” and “Idea & Realization”. Our goal is to explore the potentials of bending-active structures by implementing our newly developed design and simulation tools.


Flectofin® wins Gips-Schüle-Forschungspreis 2013

Our Flectofin® Team just won the Gips-Schüle Forschungspreis which is endowed with € 40.000. Congratulations to the ITKE in Stuttgart, the Plant Biomechanics Group in Freiburg, and the ITV Denkendorf for their successful collaboration! Check out the latest video about the Flectofin®.

Alle Nutzungsrechte liegen bei der Gips-Schüle-Stiftung.
Produktion von Senger | Prager


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