Structural Surfaces

The seminar explores the use of structural surfaces in architecture, with reference to furniture and product design. It focuses on folded surfaces, pre-stressed surfaces and curved surfaces or shells, discussing issues of scale, materials, structure, manufacturing and construction in relation to design.A historic overview will provide the context for a discussion of structural surfaces, while at the same time introducing fundamental principles. Folding introduces students to basic notions of creating stiffness with surfaces through planar geometric manipulations, using materials such as glass, concrete, plywood, and steel. We will explore the parametric design of folded surfaces using digital design development environments. Stress introduces planar, synclastic and anticlastic pre-stressed surfaces made from rigid (concrete and cementitious composites) and non-rigid materials (structural fabrics, PVC and others). Form-finding of anticlastic pre-stressed equilibrium shapes is taught using both physical and computational tools. Curvature reviews the geometry of single-curved, ruled and complex surfaces with an emphasis on understanding the relation between geometry, scale and stiffness. Simple geometric shapes and equilibrium shapes are introduced, along with historical and current form-finding methods. Examples from areas other than architecture and product design will be discussed.The underlying principles for the design of surfaces are illustrated with examples and case studies ranging from smaller products and furniture to large architectural structures, design projects and individual research. A workshop component offers both computer lab sessions as well as hands-on exercises. Prerequisites:GSD 6201 and GSD 6202 \’Design and Analysis of Building Structures\’ or equivalentGSD Core Building Technology Sequence or equivalentBasic 3-D computer modeling skills