Prototyping Biomimetic Structures for Architecture – Conference Proceeding


Schwinn T., La Magna R., Reichert S.,
Waimer F., Knippers J., Menges A.
Prototyping Biomimetic Structures for Architecture.
Prototyping Architecture,
London, Building Centre, 2013

Technology has always been a catalyst for design innovation in architecture. One example of technical advancement that still has a profound impact on architectural design today is the introduction of structural analysis in the second half of the 19th century. Since then, almost all architectural structures are based on the paradigm of calculability. This has led to a certain set of construction typologies that are still predominant today, even though the limitations of calculability no longer exist. Each typology is based on well-defined rules for the development of its geometry and the calculation of internal forces or other functionalities. It has its own boundary conditions and limitations that allow for solutions only within a specific framework. This catalogue of a limited number of structural typologies still has a profound influence on architecture, as it has become so deeply entrenched in design thinking that it still confines our conception of architectural tectonics, even beyond merely structural concerns. The introduction of computational design and digital fabrication offers the technical means to break through these barriers, which raises the question about a rigorous and systematic design strategy that allows the strategic exploration of new systems beyond existing typologies.

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