Engineering, Beauty and a Longing for the Infinite

This article originally appeared in Scientific American on October 22, 2019 and was written by Margarita A. Mooney.  I do not have copyright to this article so I strongly encourage you to click on the link and read it in its original version.  It describes so well the value of the 2019 summer course we taught and bringing engineering and beauty together.  Thank you Margarita … Continue reading Engineering, Beauty and a Longing for the Infinite

The art and engineering of curved folding

Curved crease origami is a special type of origami which folds along curved creases instead of straight ones. Due to the curved creases, the paper bends while folding, resulting in complex and beautiful forms that can be used in engineering applications from cars to novel architectural structures. It is no coincidence that the curved crease origami pioneer, David Huffman ,was also a computer scientist and … Continue reading The art and engineering of curved folding

DESIGN EXPERIENCE 2: drawing in the design process

Drawing connects the hand to the mind.  So it is no wonder that all exemplary designers (whether they are in fashion or in structures) are very skilled at making clear and convincing drawings to inform their own thought process, go into a dialogue with and convince the client. In this post I give you some advice on creating drawings and incorporating them into the design … Continue reading DESIGN EXPERIENCE 2: drawing in the design process

NETS AND DANCE: IN*TENSION

The Barry Onouye studio at the University of Washington (UW) highlights the intersection of architecture and structural design by inviting an outside structural designer to co-teach a studio + seminar. With the central theme of performance, this year’s studio explored tension-based structures, through tensioned and draped nets: we studied how nets can be imagined and built for visual and choreographic expression and this project won … Continue reading NETS AND DANCE: IN*TENSION

DESIGN EXPERIENCE 1: the role of constraints in the design process

Before joining academia, I worked in two (then) small and creative engineering design consultancies (Jane Wernick Associates, London, UK and Ney and Partners, Brussels, Belgium).  I had the good fortune of designing and building a number of awe-inspiring building and bridges.  You will find my portfolio with some works described in some detail here. In this series, I will walk you through a number of … Continue reading DESIGN EXPERIENCE 1: the role of constraints in the design process

What I am thinking: historian and structural engineer Tyler Sprague

Tyler S. Sprague teaches courses in structural design & architectural history at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.  He holds engineering degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Washington (UW) and worked professionally as a structural engineer before completing a Ph.D. in architectural history in the College of Built Environments at the UW. Sprague’s research investigates the intersection of architecture … Continue reading What I am thinking: historian and structural engineer Tyler Sprague

StoneMatters: QAMT/Analogy

Here we present the recent work QAMT/Analogy – Stone Matters by Elias and Yousef Anastas.We are always proud to showcase the amazing works of the Form Finding Lab alumni such as Yousef. Born as a reaction to a systematic misuse of clad stone in Palestine, Stone matters is an experimentation-based research project examining the potential of including structural stone within the language of contemporary architecture … Continue reading StoneMatters: QAMT/Analogy

NETS AND DANCE: Making the invisible visible

Throughout history engineers and artists have been fascinated by making the invisible visible. For example, the visual artist and polymath Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) wanted to understand and control the forceful flow of water and found great beauty in its eddies and swirls. He recorded the 3D nature of these flows in space and time, made them legible and expressed their visual impact through his … Continue reading NETS AND DANCE: Making the invisible visible

NETS AND DANCE: What can we learn from nature and art?

In the Barry Onouye architectural studio at the University of Washington, we are exploring how nets can be imagined and built for visual expression.  In my previous post, we discussed the mechanics of nets and exemplified their behavior with nets that we use in daily applications.  In this post, we turn our attention to how net can be topologically classified and how we see those … Continue reading NETS AND DANCE: What can we learn from nature and art?

Pier Luigi Nervi in Italy (part 1): his ribbed floor slab systems

Happy New Year to you all! I am on my way to Roma Tre University (Rome, Italy) to present our work on biomimetic morphing forms and participate in workshop on Hygroscapes. This year I have some very exciting and innovative projects ligned up which I will tell you about in my next posts. No better way to start the year than to write a post … Continue reading Pier Luigi Nervi in Italy (part 1): his ribbed floor slab systems