Geometry-based Understanding of Structures

Van Mele T., Lachauer L., Rippmann M. and Block P.
Journal of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures

The development of structures with complex, curved geometry is a complicated process in which spatial and structural considerations are often addressed separately. This paper describes the possibilities of an integrated approach to the form finding of such structures that is based on geometrical rather than analytical or numerical representations of the relation between form and forces. The approach adopts key principles of graphic statics and extends them with the latest research on form finding, structural design and optimisation techniques. Through a series of examples, the paper demonstrates that with implementations of this approach in constraint-based and parametric software, powerful tools can be created for shape and equilibrium explorations of two and three-dimensional structural systems. These tools provide continuous, bi-directional control over both spatial and structural characteristics, through an intuitive, visual language that is equally accessible to architects and engineers, and can be used in research and professional practice as well as in teaching.


    author  = "Van Mele, T. and Lachauer, L. and Rippmann, M. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Geometry-based Understanding of Structures",
    journal = "Journal of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures",
    year    = "2012",
    volume  = "53",
    number  = "4",
    pages   = "285-295",
    month   = "",
    doi     = "",
    note    = "",

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