Computational form finding for fabric formworks: an overview and discussion

Veenendaal D. and Block P.
Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on flexible formwork
Bath, UK

It is well known that the shape of a structure determines its mechanical behaviour and that this principle of ‘form follows force’ can be used to structurally inform architectural design. Taken to its extreme, the result is a form-active structure that is shaped so that under load no bending exists, only axial or in-plane compression and/or tension stresses. Examples of such structures are shells, cable-net or tensioned membrane roofs and tensegrity. The shape of form-active structures is not known in advance and requires a process called form finding or shape finding. Flexible fabric formworks present a new application for form finding with the distinction of being a construction method rather than a structural typology. Existing form-finding applications have yielded over half a century of research into computational form finding methods. This paper will discuss how form finding can be applied and adapted to the design of fabric formworks and what aspects come into play. Early implementations of fabric formwork design tools will be shown to demonstrate the possibilities of computer design for this building technology and presented as the basis for further discussion.


    author    = "Veenendaal, D. and Block, P.",
    title     = "Computational form finding for fabric formworks: an overview and discussion",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on flexible formwork",
    year      = "2012",
    editor    = "Ohr, J. et al.",
    volume    = "",
    number    = "",
    pages     = "368-378",
    publisher = "",
    address   = "Bath, UK",
    month     = "June",
    doi       = "",
    note      = "",

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