Formfinding Thesis

Structures designed both as physical models and in simulation software can require several iterations of fine adjustments.In this thesis, we develop a form-finding application to reduce the iterative adjustments required when designing a tensegrity structure.

A shape often used as a support of this free-form architecture is the tree-like column or branching column.

A structure branching out and redirecting forces from a big roof surface to one single point.

‘Form-finding of branching structures supporting freeform architectural surfaces’ is the graduation thesis of the master track Building Technology at the University of Technology in Delft.

This thesis is made by Alex kouwenhoven in the time-span of three-quarter of a year and tutored by Andrew Borgart and Ate Snijder.

Chapter appendices have been placed immediately following the papers to which they refer.

In the majority of cases these were not included with the original texts, but have been added here to expand on points mentioned in the papers or dealt with during presentation.The thesis is submitted on the basis of papers published between April, 1974 and July, 1976 (chapters 2-8).Minor editing of the papers has been carried out for the sake of continuity of the thesis as a whole.In this thesis, a method of designing these complex structures is proposed.By an analytical approach, an efficient structural column can be made and multiple optimization strategies are proposed. In the final chapters of the thesis, an example of a design is made using this strategy. By minimizing the use of materials, a form that is economical, sustainable and aesthetically attractive emerges. Through the elimination of bending and shear forces in the structure, less material and reinforcement is needed.With the increasing complexability of the built environment, the challenges for both the architect and the engineer are becoming bigger.Architects tend to make new shapes or free-forms and the engineers are challenged to make it buildable. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. Inherently characterized by the interaction of geometry and forces, the unique nature of long span dome, shell, and membrane structures readily allows collaboration between architects and engineers in the examination of their optimal form.Unlike free forms which are defined mathematically, form-finding shapes rely on the structure and loads themselves for definition.


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