RTM Funding recieved for Morphable Architectures

Prof. Sean Ahlquist and Prof. Wes McGee (Architecture) with Prof. Henry Sodano (Aerospace) received the Research Through Making Grant from the University of Michigan - Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning for their project "Morphable Architecture: Explorations from fiber structure to material behaviour and architectural system". 

The proposal is focused on basic research advancing the field of textile-reinforced composites, and the methods by which all facets of the material are fabricated. Textile-reinforcement refers to textiles manufactured via weaving, braiding, knitting or loose-fiber configurations, comprised of high-performance yarns such as glass fiber, carbon fiber and aramid.4 The textile-reinforcement is set within a formwork and impregnated with either a thermoset or thermoplastic matrix (binder) to form a composite material. This research explores (a) yarn construction through the development of a custom-built machine for spinning fibers, (b) knitted textiles, as reinforcement and inflated formwork, through the use of the FabLab’s CNC knitting machine, and (c) robotically-controlled deposition of matrix materials to form the composite structures.

Research Through Making Program

Since its inception in 2009, Research Through Making enables faculty to engage in architecture research or creative projects that are predicated on making. Seed funding is competitively awarded annually for up to five projects. Faculty collaborate with students to produce projects that ultimately lead to a public exhibition in the Liberty Annex Gallery. Through the years as the projects have evolved, the research has broadened and many have gone on to win national awards (P/A Awards, R+D Awards, ACSA Awards, AIA awards, etc.) and be published, presented and exhibited through out the world. Research Through Making is one of the most innovative architecture research programs in the country, and provides important funding that allows students to work with faculty on innovative research projects and bring that knowledge back to the classroom and into their futures as designers.

AwardsSean Ahlquist