Over the last two weeks, the Masters of Advanced Architecture students participated in an intensive Masterclass with Sean Ahlquist from the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
Here is an excerpt from the brief describing the task at hand.
“The challenge in designing tension-active systems (where that application of tension force defines a material’s shape) is that their forms do not follow simple mathematical geometric descriptions. This does offer an advantage, though. By avoiding the discreet definition of geometry, and concentrating on the simulation of how force influences form (defining material behaviour), we can more thoroughly investigate the different formal and functional possibilities of tension-active structures – we are not locked into a particular geometric strategy. This is what we can call “form without geometry.” Utilizing a program that has been developed with Particle Systems and Springs in Processing, we will investigate, in this workshop, the variation and manipulation of the fundamental relationships between form and force.
This workshop will involve a series of experiments in developing computational and physical models for multi-capacitive tension-active architectural systems. The functionality will emerge from a system comprised of tensioned textile (termed ‘membranes’) and tensioned mesh (termed ‘cable-net’) elements. As a tension-active system, the form and arrangement of these materials elements is dictated primarily by the application of tension force. We will also concentrate, beyond the formal qualities of these translucent lightweight structures, on the ability to apply photo luminescent materials to the membranes so that they may act as energy gathering and light emitting surfaces.”
The masterclass resulted in the installation of two tension-active structures, one suspended in a four-storey atrium. The students were required to experiment with physical models and computational models before assembling the final works. Feel free to visit the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building UTS on Harris Street, Ultimo to see the installation.
I would like to thank Sean for coming down to Sydney – His extensive knowledge and enthusiasm was well received by the students and staff at UTS.