Paris, City of Bridges, a tour.

In Fall 2017, we experienced how the River Seine is central to the enjoyment of the capital of France, Paris. In an earlier post, we interviewed the French bridge designer Marc Mimram about his design philosophy and he showed us the elegant design of the Passerelle Solférino. However no less than 37 bridges straddle the water of the Seine and provide a link between the … Continue reading Paris, City of Bridges, a tour.

How can we learn about shells and membranes?

Recently the American Shell Builder Jack Christiansen (1937-2017) passed away. With many other shell builders ( like Luigi Nervi (1891–1979), Eduardo Torroja (1899–1961), Anton Tedesko (1904–1994), Félix Candela (1910–1997) and Heinz Isler (1926–2009)), a large body of knowledge about the design and analysis of shells has disappeared. Furthermore, a recent study of current US academic curricula showed that few US Civil Engineering Departments offer courses … Continue reading How can we learn about shells and membranes?

Structures in the low countries: Cupola over the Dutch Maritime Museum

Last week I had the pleasure of recording a MOOC Lecture with Prof. Garlock on Contemporary Vaults.  This MOOC lecture will be offered in Spring 2018 and I will provide you the details in due time. Much to my excitement we got to spend more than 12 hours underneath the steel/glass cupola of the Dutch Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  When I worked for … Continue reading Structures in the low countries: Cupola over the Dutch Maritime Museum

Blow-Up Bulwark

This article was originally published on November 2, 2017 on Urban Omnibus We associate inflatable structures with ludic landscapes like the bounce castle and hippie hangout. Impractical techno-utopias all. But for engineer Sigrid Adriaenssens and her Form Finding Lab, inflatables could offer a very practical response to the growing threat of storm surge flooding and the uncertainty of climate change. More air bag than pleasure dome, … Continue reading Blow-Up Bulwark

While We Wait: how stereotomy enables meditation

While We Wait is a meditative installation by Bethlehem-based architects Elias & Yousef Anastas about the cultural claim over nature in Palestine. Yousef is a Form Finding Lab alumnus. The towering structure consists of small elements of stone from different regions of Palestine, fading upwards from earthy red to pale limestone. The stone elements are shaped by both revolutionary and traditional techniques: they are designed on … Continue reading While We Wait: how stereotomy enables meditation

What I am thinking: differential geometer and structural engineer Allan McRobie

On Wednesday, the academic bookshop Heffers at Cambridge (UK) was packed for the book launch of “The seduction of Curves: the lines of beauty that connect mathematics, art and the nude”. The author Allan McRobie is a Reader in the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge, where he teaches stability theory and structural engineering. He previously worked as an engineer in Australia, designing bridges … Continue reading What I am thinking: differential geometer and structural engineer Allan McRobie

IASS 2017: Highlights from Hamburg

At the end of September, hundreds of students, university faculty, industry experts, and innovators convened in Hamburg, Germany for the annual International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) symposium. Apart from the numerous technical presentations, those in attendance were also treated to a series of excellent and inspiring keynote presentations. Check out some of the big picture ideas from the plenary sessions below. Biological Design and … Continue reading IASS 2017: Highlights from Hamburg

Structures in the Low Countries: the footbridge Lichtenlijn in Knokke

This is the first post in a series on Structures in the Low Countries where I am spending time this Fall doing research and meeting interesting people. On a beautiful Fall afternoon, I stumbled across the Lichtenlijn footbridge in Knokke Heist, a resort town at the Belgian coast. The bridge reminds us of sails, the wind and waves.  It connects the dike and a nature … Continue reading Structures in the Low Countries: the footbridge Lichtenlijn in Knokke

Reporting from IASS 2017 – Severe Conditions & Disasters

Last week at the IASS the Form Finding Lab was very involved in the session on severe conditions & disasters. The session was chaired by our own Sigrid Adriaenssens and close collaborator Prof. Ruy Marcelo Pauletti from the University of Sao Paulo, and many more collaborators presented their research. The revue of familiar faces started with Eftychia Dichorou from the University of Cambridge. Dichorou presented … Continue reading Reporting from IASS 2017 – Severe Conditions & Disasters

How to form find shells that withstand earthquakes? We asked Tim Michiels who was just awarded the prestigious Hangai Prize.

Yesterday our PhD Candidate Tim Michiels was awarded the Hangai prize for his “Outstanding paper by a young talented researcher under 30”  at the annual symposium of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) in Hamburg. Tim presented his research titled “Parametric study of masonry shells form found for seismic loading”  during the plenary session on Tuesday. Tim’s award marks the 3rd consecutive  … Continue reading How to form find shells that withstand earthquakes? We asked Tim Michiels who was just awarded the prestigious Hangai Prize.