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Funicular Shell Design Exploration

Rippmann M. and Block P.
Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the ACADIA
Waterloo/Buffalo/Nottingham, Canada

This paper discusses the design exploration of funicular shell structures based on Thrust Network Analysis (TNA). The presented graphical form finding approach, and its interactive, digital-tool implementation target to foster the understanding of the relation between form and force in compression curved surface structures in an intuitive and playful way. Based on this understanding, the designer can fully take advantage of the presented method and digital tools to adapt the efficient structural system to the specific needs of different architectural applications. The paper focuses on simple examples to visualize the graphical concept of various modification techniques used for this form finding approach. Key operations and modifications have been identified and demonstrate the surprisingly flexible and manifold design space of funicular form. This variety of shapes and spatial articulation of funicular form is further investigated by discussing several built prototypes.

This contribution was awarded the 'Best Student Paper' at ACADIA 2013.


    author    = "Rippmann, M. and Block, P.",
    title     = "Funicular Shell Design Exploration",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the ACADIA",
    year      = "2013",
    editor    = "",
    volume    = "",
    number    = "",
    pages     = "",
    publisher = "",
    address   = "Waterloo/Buffalo/Nottingham, Canada",
    month     = "September",
    doi       = "",
    note      = "",

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