Archive for the 'UC Berkeley' Category

STUDIO ONE – Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication

Coming up this Fall


STUDIO ONE 2016/17 – Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication

STUDIO ONE is a one-year post-professional program for students with a professional (accredited Bachelor of Architecture) degree. A two-semester studio course makes up the core of the program intended for those interested in exploring innovative and experimental design issues through a research-oriented and multidisciplinary approach. It is supplemented by seminars, lectures, and workshops in architectural design, engineering, and natural sciences with the opportunity to take electives at the College of Environmental Design. Students who complete the program will receive a non-professional Master of Architecture degree.

For 2016-17, STUDIO ONE has the theme “Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication” and will be directed by Assistant Professor Simon Schleicher. The goal of the studio is to venture out into the unchartered territories and common frontier between architecture, engineering, and biology. It seeks to forge interdisciplinary and cross-professional alliances to provoke a novel design paradigm based on the integration of multifaceted methodologies and informed processes. The main focus in this respect will be on re-examining and merging the areas of biomimetics, computational design, structural analysis, material-based fabrication and construction.

The studio will follow an inquiry-oriented, experiment-based, and project-driven research agenda. Based on an intensive, critical, and analytical approach to cutting-edge design and construction methods, the studio aims to go one step further by taking inspiration from flexible and resilient structures found in nature. By closely investigating biological structures for their efficiency and adaptability and by abstracting their underlying construction principles into suitable architectural systems, the studio will challenge our present understanding with new bio-inspired fabrication and construction concepts. STUDIO ONE students will design and fabricate models and large-scale demonstrations that showcase the potential of biologically informed design concepts that anticipate a new foundation for lightweight, multifunctional, and sustainable architecture.


Form-finding and Design Potentials of Bending-active Plate Structures

Find here a link to my recent publication on “Form-finding and Design Potentials of Bending-active Plate Structures”. This work was featured at the Design Modelling Symposium 2015 in Copenhagen 


Project Videos: Out of Plane Exhibition

Compilation of videos featured at the “Out of Plane: Designing Flexible Structures” Exhibition at UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design, Department of Architecture.

Out of Plane: Designing Flexible Structures from Simon Schleicher on Vimeo.

Out of Plane Exhibition at UC Berkeley

Dear friends, thank you all for joining me for the reception of the Out of Plane Exhibition at UC Berkeley.
Many thanks to all our sponsors who supported this exhibition various ways:
CARA – California Research Alliance by BASF, Autodesk Pier9SOFiSTiK AGUC Berkeley Department of ArchitectureUniversity of Stuttgart Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE)
Finally, my special gratitude also to all the collaborators and helpers who helped me pull this of and contributed to this show with their amazing work!
If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, come check it out till November 25th.


Talk @MRS Conference in SF

Upcoming presentation at the MRS Conference on “Adaptive Architecture and Programmable Matter” in SF. Stop by if you are around. My presentation will be on Wednesday, April 8th at 2:30pm. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Student Presentation at Berkeley Circus 2015

Congratulations to my seminar students Jianjia, Yawen, Dairan, Shima, Eleanna, Kyle, and Andrew for presenting their exciting work at this years Berkeley Circus! And special thanks to our Distinguished Visiting Fellows Mary Comerio, Stefanie Hickl, Caitlin Brostrom, Mauricio Soto, Björn Hartmann, Guy Morrow, and David Friedman for your inspiring and constructive feedback, we will definitely build up on it for this semester’s “Bending and Folding Structures 2” seminar.


Lecture at Berkeley Circus 2015

If you happen to be near the College of Environmental Design (CED) on March 6th, stop by the Berkeley Circus. It will be a great opportunity to see current work of students and faculty. In addition, I will be giving a lecture at 12pm in room 104 Wurster Hall.

For more information visit the official website.


Course at UC Berkeley – Bending and Folding Structures 2

This follow-up course continues in explorations of the formal and structural possibilities of designing bending and folding structures. The flexural mechanisms and bending-active plate constructions that we envisioned during the winter semester will be pushed to the next level by developing a more holistic design approach, which aims to ensure their feasibility and practical implementation. This time, the class will have a closer look at topics like material bending, construction detailing, digital fabrication and assembly of elastically bent and curved-folded structures. We want to find out how these aspects could positively affect the functional­ morphological relationships that we discovered in our previously developed design proposals. The aim is to bundle different levels of information and to integrate this knowledge into one informed design framework. Once again, we will be using digital simulation tools like Kangaroo Physics and Sofistik® to playfully form-find and systematically optimize our structures. Additionally, we will pay particular attention to the structure’s unique material properties and fabrication constraints. We want to explore, for example, the possibility to control and gear the global deformation of a plate structure by superimposing a compliant texture that can adjust the structure’s flexibility locally. In this context, various manufacturing techniques could be used to generate differentiated structural patterns that have the power to affect the structure’s global and local compliance by creating zones of higher, lower, or even adaptable stiffness. The final goal for this class will be to show that our initial ideas for novel bending and folding structures can be pushed in scale to the size of functional mock-ups and larger scale demonstrations. The class is open for students who have already attended the previous course and are eager to further develop their ideas as well as to new students who are interested in technical implementation and digital fabrication.


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!!