OUT OF PLANE: DESIGNING FLEXIBLE STRUCTURES
This collaborative exhibition presents simulations, sketch models, and large-scale demonstrators of novel architectural forms and structures made possible through the creative exploration of bending and folding principles. It showcases the work of Asst. Prof. Simon Schleicher and students from the ITKE at the University of Stuttgart and UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture. With modern computational design tools and innovative elastic materials available to architects today, deployable flexible structures are ever more possible. The exhibit takes on an integrative approach of physical form-finding and computer aided structural design: adopting mechanisms long avoided by engineers, such as the bending and buckling of thin plates as well as harnessing the idea of cross-connecting multiple layers, which taken by themselves may be too soft, but in their combination allow the construction of complex, lightweight, and strong structures. Highlighting an additional advantage to this research direction as it scales up in application: these structures were generated from simple planar parts, fabricated using conventional flatbed processes, and assembled without the necessity for skilled labor. The challenge at hand is in the design stage as it is difficult to anticipate the deformation from two-dimensional to curved geometries. The work presented here explores that challenge deeper and illustrates the elegant structural possibilities made possible through this innovative approach.