Design Modelling Symposium at UdK - Berlin

Sean Ahlquist and Julian Lienhard presented their research, co-authored with Achim Menges (Univ. of Stuttgart - ICD) and Jan Knippers (Univ. of Stuttgart - ITKE), "..." at the Design Modelling Symposium 2013: Rethinking Prototyping at the UdK in Berlin, Germany on 30 September 2013.


This paper describes research for the development and implementation of a functionally and structurally intricate textile hybrid architecture, entitled M1, built in Monthoiron, France as a part of the La Tour de l’Architecte complex. The term textile hybrid stands for the mutual exchange of structural action between bending- and form-active systems based on textile material behaviour. The implementation of such a structural logic is critical to this particular project as its presence is minimally impactful to the site which houses a historically-protected and decrepit stone tower from the 1500’s, as shown in Fig. 1. The design by Leonardo da Vinci employed an innovative buttressing system to structure the tower without a significant foundation. The buttresses have since been scavenged from the site, though the M1 structure seeks a minimal footprint to protect areas where traces of the original buttressing structure still exist.

 To explore the complexities for minimal site imposition, lightweight material deployment and spatial differentiation, a set of multi-scalar and multi-modal prototyping procedures are developed. In both physical and numerical simulation, data towards eventual full-scale implementation is cumulatively compiled and calibrated, interleaving aspects of topology, material specification, force distribution and geometry. This paper defines prototyping as the interplay between modes of design in physical form-finding, approximated simulation through spring-based methods, and finite element analysis to form, articulate and materialise the textile hybrid structure. A particular feature in the exchange between and within these modes of design is the consideration of geometric input as a critical variable in the form-finding of bending-active behaviour.


Ahlquist, S., Lienhard, J., Knippers, J. and Menges, A.: 2013, Physical and Numerical Prototyping for Integrated Bending and Form-Active Textile Hybrid Structures. In: Gengnagel, C., Kilian, A., Nembrini, J. and Scheurer, F. (eds.) Rethinking Prototyping: Proceeding of the Design Modelling Symposium, Berlin, October 2013, pp. 1-14.