Bending-Active Plates: Form and Structure – Book Chapter


La Magna R., Schleicher S., Knippers J.
Bending-Active Plates: Form and Structure.
Advances in Architectural Geometry 2016, 2016,
ISBN: 978-3-7281-3777-7

Aiming to support the current research on bending-active plate structures, this paper discusses the topic of form-finding and form-conversion and presents examples to illustrate the formal and structural potential of these design strategies. Following a short introduction into the topic, the authors reflect on the specific challenges related to the design of bending-active plate structures. While previous research has mainly focussed on a bottom-up approach whereby the plates first were specified as basic building blocks and the global shape of the structure resulted from their interaction, the main emphasis of this paper lies on a possible top-down approach by form-conversion. Here, the design process starts with a given shape and uses surface tiling and selective mesh subdivision to inform the geometrical and structural characteristics of the plates needed to assemble the desired shape. This new concept entails some constraints, and the paper therefore provides an overview of the basic geometries and mechanics that can be created by following this approach. Finally, to better demonstrate the innovative potential of this top-down approach to the design of bending-active plate structures, the authors present two built case studies, each of which is a proof of the concept that pushes the topic of form-conversion in a unique way. While the first one takes advantage of translating a given shape into a self-supporting weave pattern, the second case study gains significant structural stability by translating a given form into a multi-layered plate construction.

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