What I am thinking: structural and mathematical wizard Chris Williams

Chris Williams is an Artistic Professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University. Chris joined Ted Happold’s group at Arup in 1972 where he worked on Frei Otto’s Multihalle gridshells in Mannheim and was responsible for the structural analysis and physical model testing. In 1976 he came with Ted Happold to the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. His research interests hinge on the … Continue reading What I am thinking: structural and mathematical wizard Chris Williams

Bio-inspiration: necessary abstraction in the study of biological adaptive structures (1/2)

In this first post of 2-part series on bio-inspiration I detail the design philosophy that has guided the study of plant movements reported in a recent publication on amplification of actuation in plants. The second post of the series details the 5 abstracted mechanisms of amplification of actuation in plant movements identified in the publication. The bustling trend of bio-mimicry has gotten the world of shape … Continue reading Bio-inspiration: necessary abstraction in the study of biological adaptive structures (1/2)

Shaken but overlooked: efficiency, economy and elegance in earthquake-prone areas

Are structures outside of the Euro-American canon being overlooked when we discuss structural art? In an essay that was selected as one of three finalist submissions for the 2018 SOM Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship, Tim Michiels argues through examples from Japan and Mexico, that extraordinary structures built in earthquake-prone areas do not always receive the attention they deserve. 1. Celebrated structural art is underrepresented in … Continue reading Shaken but overlooked: efficiency, economy and elegance in earthquake-prone areas

A problem in paradise: modeling and designing shark barrier cable nets

La Reunion, a French island in the southern Indian Ocean, is renowned for its surfing and beautiful beaches. However, this paradise has been suffering from a surge in shark attacks in recent years. Since 2011, there have been at least nineteen attacks, of which seven were fatal. The attacks peaked in 2013, which forced authorities to temporarily ban aquatic activities. As a result, the island’s … Continue reading A problem in paradise: modeling and designing shark barrier cable nets

What I am thinking: the budding glass engineer/artist Gregor Hortsmeyer

A native of California, Gregor Horstmeyer is an enthusiast of performance-based seismic design, in addition to glass, timber and concrete design. Growing up working in a glass blowing studio, he eventually combined his interest in glass with studies in engineering by writing a final year thesis on hyperbolic glass shell structures at the Form Finding Lab . Since joining Eckersley O’Callaghan in 2011, Horstmeyer has … Continue reading What I am thinking: the budding glass engineer/artist Gregor Hortsmeyer

Transistioning into our 2nd Anniversary!

As we enter into the 3rd year of the Form Finding Blog, we look back at all the inspiring people we have met and interviewed and all the amazing design and scholarship we have written about. Posts like “Assessing the stability of Masonry Structures Part 1 and 2” (research) and “Higrow – Hygroscopic properties of wood used as programmable matter in lightweight construction” (design) and … Continue reading Transistioning into our 2nd Anniversary!

Structures designed in the Low Countries: the ice shell Flamenco tower

With the cold weather upon us, we wanted to share this fascinating ice shell project with you. An international team of students and professors from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Summa College, the Netherlands, and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), China, have completed the largest ice shell ever after two years of preparation. TU/e and HIT realized this architectural ice structure, the “Flamenco Ice Tower”, … Continue reading Structures designed in the Low Countries: the ice shell Flamenco tower

Art and Engineering: testing he boundaries of the physical world: allowing large deformations

Structural engineers envision, design, and construct the bridges and long‐span buildings people depend on daily. Traditionally, the structural engineer’s approach has been to control and limit the stress levels, deflections, and natural frequency in structural systems. While the structural engineering discipline rarely challenges this dogma of limitation and control, this is a fundamental question in art. Many artifacts show that testing the boundaries of the … Continue reading Art and Engineering: testing he boundaries of the physical world: allowing large deformations

What I am thinking: structure-inspired artist Lancelot Coar

Lancelot Coar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, specializing in undergraduate and masters level design studio and construction technology lecture courses and is a researcher at the Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (CAST). His research includes the development of building systems using fabric formed concrete, fabric reinforced concrete, fabric reinforced ice structures, bending active fiberglass frames and post-tensioned wood. … Continue reading What I am thinking: structure-inspired artist Lancelot Coar

HyparGate: Italian researchers reviving the ancient art of stereotomy

Italian architects of the New Fundamentals Research Group (Polytechnic University of Bari) and engineers from Roma Tre University are designing and constructing innovative reinforced stone shells and reviving stereotomy, the ancient art of cutting stones. Using advanced modeling and analysis software, and robotic fabrication, the team, coordinated by Prof. Giuseppe Fallacara, has designed the HyparGate, the first discrete hyperbolic paraboloid made of stone. The HyparGate … Continue reading HyparGate: Italian researchers reviving the ancient art of stereotomy