Sun-Powered textiles

Fabrics with self-cleaning properties can last longer, require less maintenance and even reduce air pollution.

Sunlight can damage many types of fabrics, yet it can also have a beneficial effect on textiles that are enhanced with self-cleaning technologies. Thanks to functional coatings and pioneering research, self-cleaning properties—powered by the sun—are extending the life of textiles and decreasing maintenance costs.

Sunlight can damage many types of fabrics, yet it can also have a beneficial effect on textiles that are enhanced with self-cleaning technologies. Thanks to functional coatings and pioneering research, self-cleaning properties—powered by the sun—are extending the life of textiles and decreasing maintenance costs.


Self-cleaning textiles are basically functionalized textiles either due to chemistry or innate biology. The hydrophilic self-cleaning coatings are based on photocatalysis: when exposed to light, they are able to break down impurities.

Two kinds of self-cleaning textiles are available. The first core technology is considered anti-stick or hydrophobic, and this type is often called antimicrobial, according to Reinhard Liu, operations manager at TitanPE Technologies Inc., a leading nano photocatalyst maker and the first hydro-synthetic photocatalyst manufacturer in Shanghai, China.

AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, features 19,000m2 of SHEERFILL® I with EverClean® Topcoat on the retractable portion of the roof. Photo: Saint-Gobain.

Liu explains that with this first type of technology, the goal is to develop textiles that do not allow pollutants to stick to the textile. “There are several chemicals that can do this in the world,” Liu says. “This technology is a dirt repellent, not ‘self-cleaning.’” The goal is to prevent dirt and microbial elements from sticking to and “dirtying” textiles and interior or exterior applications.

The second type of technology is hydrophilic and photocatalytic. “In this type of technology, we want the textile to have hydrophilic features, so we can clean it by water, even without using a cleaning agent,” Liu says. “The photocatalytic component can help decompose organics on the textile under the sun. This technology is actually self-cleaning, because we use rain and water to clean it automatically.”

TitanPE has some commercial anti-stick products, but the company’s major R&D is focused on hydrophilic and photocatalytic technology. Called TiPE™ self-cleaning nano coat, the special nano photocatalyst technology can be applied to the exterior of buildings to prevent mold, moss or dirt buildup. The coating can also improve the air around the building by purifying nitrogen oxide (NOx) generated by passing automobiles.


Detergents and cleaning agents reduce the surface tension of water and lower the contact angle on fabric surfaces. TitanPE Technology calls it the hydrophilicity feature. TiPE nano coat’s hydrophilicity will simulate this feature, so that a single water wash on the surface can achieve the same effect as a traditional cleaning with detergent.

The Lampton Shopping Center in Thailand features a PVC-coated fabric display coated with photocatalyst. Photo: Taiyo Kogyo Corp.

According to Liu, when the surface of nano-level photocatalytic film is exposed to light, the contact angle of the photocatalyst surface with water is reduced gradually. As explained in the TiPE nano coat self-cleaning application manual, after enough exposure to light, the surface reaches super-hydrophilicity. In other words, it does not repel water at all, so water cannot exist in the shape of a drop, but spreads flatly on the substrate. The hydrophilic nature of titanium dioxide (TiO2), coupled with gravity, will enable the dust particles to be swept away following the water stream (rain), creating the key feature of self-cleaning and easy-cleaning.

Our self-cleaning technology has been used on buildings for several years, with many clients using water/oil repellent technology first and then turning to us,” Liu says. “But for textiles, it is just a beginning. Water- and oil-repellent technology is still much higher in sales, but we are pushing it to change.”

Evidence shows the older hydrophobic treatment chemicals to be harmful to the environment, Liu notes. “We want to use a safe and long-lived technology to develop a new commercial market. It needs to be safe, healthy, environmentally friendly and also inexpensive,” he says.

The first PVC-coated fabric with TiO2 was developed by Taiyo Kogyo Corp., Osaka, Japan, in 1997. Taiyo Kogyo has been selling the products commercially since 1998. Other companies also sell hydrophobic and anti-stick products, including 3M, St. Paul, Minn., and Daikin Industries Ltd., Osaka, Japan.

Liu says, “For the hydrophilic/ photocatalytic market, it is just in the beginning.” TitanPE is a leading researcher in the area, but Liu adds that much research is happening in the U.S., which includes activity at universities and some pioneering companies.


“One is the oxidative decomposition reaction of organic contaminants triggered by the redox reaction of TiO2, and the other is hydrophilic property induced by UV light, whereby UV irradiation on TiO2 produces hydrophilic groups (OH groups) on the surface of TiO2 and makes the surface hydrophilic and thus gives the surface high wettability,” Toyoda says.

The hydrophilic effect allows natural rain to wash off dirt from the surface. The TiO2 top coating solution was prepared by anatase titanium dioxide crystals and is bound with an inorganic binder that largely increases the adhesion strength to the substrate.

A PVC-coated fabric with a double-layered structure.According to Dr. Hiroshi Toyoda of the Technical Research Center at Taiyo Kogyo Corp., TiO2 photocatalytic coating technology for the PVC-coated fabric shows excellent self-cleaning effects on its surface under irradiation by UV light.

According to Toyoda, because the fabric with TiO2 stays cleaner than traditional architectural fabrics, cleaning fees can be reduced and the translucency stays high, minimizing the need for further artificial lighting, which in the end will reduce energy costs for the owner.


At the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan, the “Mountain of Dreams” display

featured a PVC-coated fabric with TiO2 coating. Photo: Taiyo Kogyo Corp. An example of this coating technology is Saint-Gobain’s Sheerfill® architectural membranes, which stay clean, white and bright even in very challenging environments. The fact that the fluoropolymer coating is easily rinsed clean by rain or plain water ensures a long service life with little regular maintenance, according to Michael Lussier, architectural sales and market manager at Saint-Gobain, Malvern, Pa.

“When our EverClean® Photocatalytic Topcoat was introduced to the market, our ‘easily cleaned’ coating became truly ‘self-cleaning,’” Lussier says. “By adding photocatalytic titanium dioxide to the topcoat, and simply exposing the material to sunlight—which is easy to do on a roof—a layer of activated oxygen forms at the surface, helping to reduce NOx pollution and breaking down organic contaminants. Since the TiO2 is a catalyst, it is not consumed in any of the reactions and remains available to provide the self-cleaning properties for the life of the membrane. Saint-Gobain has invested significant time, effort and money into applying the technology to our specific products.”

Lussier says that eliminating surface dirt on architectural structures is paramount, so when UV light hits the EverClean photocatalytic TiO2-based surface, hydroxy radicals (.OH) and superoxide radicals (O2-) oxidize(decompose) allorganicsubstances. Rain or water washes them away, keeping Saint-Gobain’s Sheerfill surfaces white. Maintenance cleaning is eliminated, as is the use of environmentally deleterious cleaning agents.

“The TiO2 layer is required for the PVC-coated fabric, which is used for the self-cleaning application,” Toyoda says. “It should be provided with a high photo-redox reaction ability to eliminate an oily plasticizer which migrates to the outermost surface.”

Canada Harbor Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, contains 10,000m2 of SHEERFILL® II with EverClean®. Photo: Saint-Gobain.

Saint-Gobain is one of the market leaders with respect to self-cleaning permanent architectural membranes. The company partnered with TOTO Ltd., Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, in the development of the EverClean Photocatalytic Topcoat product; TOTO is a technical leader in the use of photocatalysts across a wide variety of products and materials.

As Lussier explains, the process of coating polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) onto fiberglass requires very high processing temperatures. “Finding the right TiO2 that is compatible with our materials and our processing was very challenging,” Lussier says. “It is not enough to simply add ‘TiO2’ to the coating—only the right TiO2, added in the optimum ratio, applied in the optimum manner, will provide the desired performance.”

It’s important to note that PTFE is unaffected by UV and virtually all chemicals and pollutants; the PTFE coating provides protection of the underlying fiberglass fabric, which is strong and unaffected by UV.

Adding catalytic, nano metal oxide particles to obtain self-detoxifying filter substrates is an area of focus at the Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory at Texas Tech University (TTU), Lubbock, Texas, according to Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D. Ramkumar is a professor at TTU’s Institute of Environment and Human Health.

“While conducting this study, we observed self-assembly phenomenon in PU nano fibers, which mimicked honeycomb structures,” Ramkumar says. “These provide more surface area and hence can be better filter substrates.”


Compared to other materials that do not provide the same performance with regard to lifetime, fire safety and low maintenance needs, Sheerfill does require a different approach with fabrication and installation. Fabricators, architects, designers and owners need to understand the unique properties of the material and how to utilize it to its full potential.

The purpose of self-releasing properties of interior and exterior textiles is to minimize or completely eliminate the need for ongoing care and maintenance of these textiles and coatings. With the EverClean topcoat, cleaning will seldom be needed. When cleaning is necessary, Saint-Gobain provides simple guidelines that include using water, mild pure soap and a soft brush.


As Liu explains, if we look at the “real” self-cleaning aspect of textiles, from hydrophilic and photocatalytic perspectives, the current commercialization of these textiles is still on a small scale.

“We are doing some commercializing of projects for this, but it is still on a very small scale—compared to first direction hydrophobic products in the moment, but it has a big potential. After all, it will provide extra bio-pollutant control ability, which traditional self-cleaning— hydrophobic—can’t. It will allow real self-cleaning applications in hospitals, for example,” Liu says.

Continueddevelopmentsareexpanding. For instance, Saint-Gobain is developing new products to address the evolving needs of the market. These needs include the use of colors, materials with higher light transmission, mesh fabrics for shading and facades and the desire to be “green,” all while maintaining or improving the aesthetics of the final structure and providing comfort for the occupants and users.

“There is good scope for the field,” Ramkumar says. “However, one has to look into cost benefit analysis. If we are targeting consumer textiles, cost also plays an important role. End users get a value-added product. Fabricators develop new lines of value added and high performance products. But, that said, the industry has to be always cognizant of the cost factor.”

Liu predicts strong interest in further commercializing the application for building textiles, air purification and water treatment to remove harmful chemicals.

“There will be increased growth in self-cleaning textiles for use in hospitals to help control bacteria, super bugs, mutant viruses without using heavy metal,” Liu says. “There will also be further development in textiles for strong active smell control ability—to remove smoke, human body smell, sweat smell.”

Future focus will be on biomimicry, wearables and sustainable products, according to Ramkumar. He notes that the advanced fabrics industry needs “to look outside the box and borrow ideas happening in non-textile and allied fields.” For example, developing porous textiles using the supercritical fluid concept.

“While current products focus on the photocatalysis triggered by UV light, we are developing novel photocatalysis that can be triggered by visible and infrared light,” Toyoda says. “This may provide further benefits to the current technology in order to find new applications.”

The terms used within the self-cleaning textile industry are numerous. Some of the key terms to know include:

  • Bioactive textile:
    Contains an active substance with a permanently antimicrobial effect.

  • Photocatalysis: 
    The acceleration of a photoreaction in the presence of a catalyst. In catalyzed photolysis, light is absorbed by an adsorbed substrate.

  • Nanotextiles:
    Textiles engineered with small particles that give ordinary materials advantageous properties.

  • ETFE coated:
    Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a fluorocarbon-based polymer designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range.

  • Lotus effect:
    Self-cleaning properties that are a result of ultra-hydrophobicity; dirt particles are picked up by water droplets due to the micro- and nanoscopic architecture on the surface, which minimizes the droplet’s adhesion to that surface.

Can we generate electricity by under-water Kites?

It has been around for quite some time – the fact that one can generate electricity using kites and balloons, but can we really generate it with underwater kites rather than the prevalent turbulent currents? 

There are some fascinating proposals already for power generation using tethered kites and balloons… Why not indeed, because that is exactly what two independent teams of researchers are doing, one from


Sweden and the other from Worcester Polytechnic Institute

USA [Source: Discovery News].

A Massachusetts research program just got a nice big grant from the National Science Foundation to work on harnessing ocean currents and tidal flows using underwater kites. The potential: Power equal to about 10 nuclear power plants.

This kite-flying dream is being led by David Olinger, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute specializing in wind and wave turbines. In the past, he and his students developed a very inexpensive kite-powered water pump for developing nations. Now he’s looking to create small tethered, undersea kites that can “fly” quickly in currents. The NSF recently awarded Olinger’s new research program $300,000.

Olinger cited the Gulf Stream, the massive underwater current flowing from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean. That power potential is estimated at about 20 gigawatts, or about 10 nuclear power plants. ”Just as wind turbines can convert moving air into electricity, there is the potential to transform these virtually untapped liquid ‘breezes’ into vast amounts of power”.

Olinger’s system has similarities to the underwater kites designed by the Swedish company Minesto. However, Minesto plans to tether the kites to the ocean floor while Olinger’s group would attach them to a floating system. Each Minesto’s kite also has a wind turbine attached while Olinger will look at potentially removing the turbine and placing the electrical generator on the floating platform instead.

Just as traditional kites use air currents to generate lift, underwater kites use water currents to generate hydrodynamic lift. The tethered motion of the underwater kite generates electricity as water flows through an attached ducted turbine.

Water currents tend to be much more reliable and predictable than air currents so the expectation is that using water currents to generate electricity should be a more dependable power source. Also, given that water is approximately 800 times denser than air, the underwater kites can be much more compact for a similar power output compared to airborne kites. On the downside, water tends to be a hostile environment for machinery (especially metals). Also water is a relatively good conductor, so extra precautions are necessary for transmitting electricity…

The King’s Cross – what a PPP project can be.

While Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji Station and Mumbai Central remains the depressing mess it has always been for half a century, with the minimal eye-wash we call “development” such as the Hafez Contractor’s attempt at grilling sweaty mumbai travellers on a spit under a leaky polycarbonate concept that doesn’t follow the gothic nor Pompidou, Londoners now travel with comparative ease beneath the white-painted steel tubes rising in a half-dome at King’s Cross Station.

The new roof is a contemporary engineering spectacle, yet very much in the spirit of London’s great Victorian iron-and- glass rail extravaganzas. It just goes to show that the railway (though much of it already shed its mass by getting sold to the public) is still very much vibrant in its responses to travellers needs and comfort in transport is still a very big public issue. It is the inspired solution to expanding King’s Cross when a tangle of crisscrossing Tube lines seemed to leave no place to grow.

As mumbai keeps sinking hundreds of crores into middlemen and supposedly widening, refurbishment and improvement of some corridors and making new entrances — it barely is a Band-Aid for an area mobbed by over million passengers every day. Monsoons make it worse, and the summers destroy the commuter’s morale.

It’s worth having a look at how the elegant $880 million Western Concourse of the 1852 King’s Cross depot addresses so many challenges for just its 150,000 daily passengers. It is also worthy to look at the means employed, the elegance, the sincerity of addressal of all problems collectively and sustainably.

Architect John McAslan & Partners, working with the engineering firm Arup, faced two problems. To simplify connections between the train and six Tube lines, the new Western Concourse had to be built on the west side of the old station. That meant placing it above a new London Underground Ltd. ticketing concourse, which had been built without room to place supports for the latest addition.


McAslan and Arup found an elegant solution for the support problem, placing 17 massive piers outside the box of the London Underground concourse. Atop them they set the semicircle of crisscrossing steel tubes that rises 66 feet in a tall funnel shape with a 230-foot radius.

The diagonal-grid construction looks lightweight and seems to settle gently upon the piers. It triples passenger accommodation, according to information provided by the project. Under the spreading roof, McAslan tucked a mezzanine where cafes offer nice views of the pulsing flow of passengers below.

The location of the new concourse, well away from the frontage on busy Euston Road, would strike us as odd until you understand that it puts passengers a short walk to connections at the adjacent St. Pancras station, rather than unload them all out into a mess.

Simultaneously, Foster & Partners built an elegantly functional light- filled shed behind St. Pancras in 2007, to cover platforms extended to accommodate Eurotunnel trains, regional-rail lines and long-distance trains operated by Network Rail.


The transformation of King’s Cross Station for Network Rail involves three very different styles of architecture:

Rre-use, restoration and new build. The train shed and range buildings have been adapted and re-used, the station’s previously obscured Grade I listed façade was precisely restored, and a new, highly expressive Western Concourse has been designed as a centrepiece and the ‘beating heart’ of the project. When the station opened to the public on 19 March 2012, King’s Cross became a new, iconic architectural gateway to the city, ready for the 2012 London Olympics. The design re-orientates the station to the west, creating significant operational improvements and reveals the main south façade of Lewis Cubitt’s original 1852 station.

Although the Western Concourse is probably the most visually striking change to the station, JMP’s work on the project also involved a series of layered interventions and restorations including the restoration of the Eastern Range building and the revitalisation of the Main Train Shed, Suburban Train Shed and Western Range buildings.


The centrepiece of the £500m redevelopment is the new vaulted, semi-circular concourse to the west of the existing station. The concourse rises some 20m and spans the full 150m-length of the existing Grade I Listed Western Range, creating a new entrance to the station through the south end of the structure and at mezzanine level to the northern end of the Western Concourse, thereby at

7,500sqm the concourse has become Europe’s largest single-span station structure, comprising of 16 steel tree form columns that radiate from an expressive, tapered central funnel. The graceful circularity of the concourse echoes the form of the neighbouring Great Northern Hotel, with the ground floor of the hotel providing access to the concourse.

The Western Concourse sits adjacent to the façade of the Western Range, clearly revealing the restored brickwork and masonry of the original station. From this dramatic interior space, passengers access the platforms either through the ground level gate-lines in the Ticket Hall via the Western Range building, or by using the mezzanine level gate-line, which leads onto the new cross–platform footbridge.

Located above the new London Underground northern ticketing hall, and with retail elements at mezzanine level, the concourse will transform passenger facilities, whilst also enhancing links to the London Underground, and bus, taxi and train connections at St Pancras.

The concourse is set to become an architectural gateway to the King’s Cross Central mixed-use developments, a key approach to the eastern entrance of St Pancras International. It will also act as an extension to King’s Cross Square, a new plaza that will be formed between the station’s southern façade and Euston Road.


The station’s Main Train Shed is 250m long, 22m high and 65m wide, spanning eight platforms. The restoration includes revealing the bold architecture of the original south façade, re-glazing the north and south gables and refurbishing platforms The two barrel-vaulted roofs are refurbished and lined with energy-saving photo-voltaic arrays along the linear roof lanterns, while a new glass footbridge designed by JMP extends across the Main Train Shed, replacing the old mid-shed Handyside bridge and giving access to every platform as well as the mezzanine level of the concourse.

JMP’s design integrates the main and suburban train sheds for the first time, creating a completely coherent ground-plan for passenger movements into and through the station. Improvements to the Suburban Train Shed located to the north of the Western Concourse and Western Range buildings have enhanced the operation of its three platforms (the busiest in the station during peak-hours).

Read more about the plan and the vision in this document.

The Story of 99 Failures – Tokyo University Digital Fabrication Lab

Blogging after a year is a shameful aspect for any blogger. But to tell you the truth, a 3 year old and new employees and teaching and office and travelling and a hell of a lot amount of laziness never leaves enough time to write and update a blog. Which more often than not has to do with laziness and a tad bit of too much Facebook.

© Hayato Wakabayashi
Well this time’s article has to do with a student – teacher – professional collaboration of the types we seldom see, and would be a treat to see it more often and in more ways. This was a extension and expansion of the 1st year master studio project of Obuchi Lab, the University of Tokyo, as collaborative research with Obayashi Corporation. 

The objectives were to examine experimental design/ fabrication/ assembly/ construction processes which cannot be done solely by either a school or a professional practice and to explore possibilities related to the production of a new set of “problems” which could act as a catalyst for innovative architectural design research. Hence the name of the project – “99 failures” 

99 Failures” can be interpreted as “Ninety Nine Research Agenda Items”. One of the ultimate goals was to produce a pavilion that would introduce a new set of problems which students, researchers, and professional architects could share and pursue to expand the architectural discourse.

The global geometry of the pavilion was determined through a combination of digital simulations and a series of scale model tests. Digitally, roughly 50 variations of different possible geometries that would allow the structure to unfold into a flat plane were tested which would work as a stable structure when formed into the target shape. 

A geometry which fulfilled this technical requirement and gave the opportunity to provide an interesting spatial quality both inside and outside the pavilion. 

 Working back and forth between digital and physical assembly simulations and finely calibrating the structural/unfolding performance of the final target geometry, they used very thin stainless steel sheets for the compressive components to achieve a super lightweight structure. 

The components were fabricated like inflated metal “pillows”; each component was composed of three metal sheet layers. The middle sheet was the thickest of the sheets to give extra stiffness. All of the component edges were welded together and sealed, thus making the inflation process possible while also ensuring each component was watertight. The components were hydraulically inflated to act as a compressive structural element.

255 unique compressive components were all networked to work as a coherent, integrated structural system. Their shapes were drawn in a program which we custom-created solely for this project.

Amongst other factors, the following were considered when designing the shapes of components:

1)  Geometrical constraints due to global composition

2) Coordination between components to avoid undesirable overlap/conflicts between components (both when completed and when hung)

3)  Compatibility with welding jigs when fabricated with a robot arm

4)  Secure capability to be inflated with hydraulic pressure (which directly influences structural performance of component)

5)  Maximum porosity (as a pavilion) to allow light and minimize loading from wind pressure.

© Hayato Wakabayashi

Polyhedral Meshes Improve CFD

 Polygon Surface Mesh vs Triangle Surface Mesh

Converting a tetrahedral mesh to a dual mesh will:

Reduce the number of volume elements
Increase the size of each volume element
Increase the number of faces (cell neighbors) per volume element

The increased element size and increased number of neighbors per element proves to be a significant benefit. If you compare the results from a tetrahedral mesh to the results from a dual mesh with the same number of cells, then the dual mesh will in general:

Converge faster with fewer iterations
Converge more reliably to lower residual values
Produce results with higher accuracy

The next release of the Caedium CFD software system will provide an option to automatically convert a RANS Flow volume mesh to a polyhedral mesh – also known as a dual mesh. Solving the RANS equations on the dual mesh compared to the equivalent tetrahedral mesh typically leads to higher accuracy results with both faster and more reliable convergence.

Polyhedral Volume Mesh Slice
Tetrahedral Volume Mesh Slice

(re-posted from the CAEDIUM blog)

Assembly One Pavilion / Yale School of Architecture Students

© Chris Morgan Photography’
The Yale ‘Assembly One’ pavilion is the younger, smaller, more carefree sister to Yale’s building project – a 40-year old tradition in which first-year students design and building a house. It is the product of a seminar and design studio in which students focused on alternative ways in which contemporary buildings can come together and the potential architectural effects computational and material techniques can offer. The ‘Assembly One’ pavilion is designed to act as an information center for New Haven’s summer International Festival of Arts and Ideas and therefore was developed with the following characteristics in mind: dynamism, visual transparency and visual density.
© Chris Morgan Photography

Dynamism: The structure is suited to a performance festival – solid and massive from one angle, lightweight and almost entirely porous from another, it alternately hides and reveals its contents.
Visual Transparency: Constructed from thin  sheets, the pavilion opens up on two sides for ventilation and security, focusing views toward the festival’s main stage.
Visual Density: Over 1000 panels create shifting effects of reflection and color as visitors move around the pavilion, creating less of a timeless image of shelter than an unstable, engaging heart of the festival.

“We treated the tenets of digital fabrication as basic assumptions – our ability to efficiently produce variable and unique components and the cultural implications of moving beyond standardized manufacturing. But, we were less concerned with the uniqueness of the objects we created than on the novel types of tectonic expression they allowed.”The Festival Pavilion was designed and built by  students.

Project Founders: David Bench, Zac Heaps, Jacqueline Ho, Eric Zahn
Project Managers: Jacqueline Ho, Amy Mielke
Design & Fabrication: John Taylor Bachman, Nicholas Hunt, Seema Kairam, John Lacy, Veer Nanavatty
Design: Rob Bundy, Raven Hardison, Matt Hettler
Faculty advisor: Brennan Buck
Assistant: Teoman Ayas
Consultant: Matthew Clark of Arup, New York

Generous support was provided by Assa Abloy, the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and the Yale School of Architecture. The Pavilion is on view on the New Haven Green until the end of June.
© Chris Morgan Photography

Mach 3 bubble shock waves

The best way to recover from a week of overeating, movie watching and napping? Is to sit back and watch some cool physics videos.

We have another featured video from last week’s Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting in San Diego, CA.

The video below shows what happens when a Mach 3 shockwave slams into a helium bubble. Researchers needed a supercomputer cluster to simulate the phenomenon, revealing how density and vorticity (more on that after the jump) evolve during the process.

Video Credit: Babak Hejazialhosseini, Diego Rossinelli and Petros Koumoutsakos from the Computational Science and Engineering Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Simulations in the video focus on two key physical qualities: density and vorticity. Density, as you’re probably aware, is simply the amount of mass per unit of volume. In the video, the high density regions are orange whereas the low density areas are blue.

Vorticity, however, is not quite as simple. Vorticity represents how a fluid is rotating at a specific point, and it has similarities to angular momentum. Vorticity has both a magnitude (or length) and a direction.

In the video, the researchers show the strength (magnitude) of vorticity at the various points, but not its direction. If they showed the direction at each point, there’d be a ton of tiny arrows pointing in a variety of directions.

With the aid of these simulations, researchers can learn the complex dynamics behind the shockwave’s propagation. But what’s the point of looking at these shockwaves, aside from making awesome videos?

One technique cited in the video, shockwave lithotripsy, could benefit from this research. For this medical procedure, doctors direct shockwaves to shatter kidney or bladder stones into many smaller pieces. Now that’s my kind of treatment.

Posted by Hyperspace

Catalan Free-form Vault design from ETH Zurich

A stunning Catalan free-form vault has been designed and build by students during a one week workshop organised by Prof. Deplazes and Prof. Block from ETH Zurich. RhinoVAULT has been used for the design of the complex compression-only shape. For details, visit the homepage of the BLOCK Research Group.

Tutorial for flow over a doubly curved surface

To simulate an incompressible, steady-state, turbulent flow over a double-sided membrane. View velocity vectors, velocity magnitude color maps, monitor lift and drag forces, and export results for ixForten 4000.

Caedium Membrane CFD Simulation

Caedium Membrane CFD Simulation


In this tutorial, you will learn how to:
  • Specify fluid conditions on a single volume for an incompressible, steady-state, turbulent flow simulation
  • Specify boundary conditions on faces
  • Specify meshing parameters
  • Generate a velocity magnitude color map
  • Generate velocity vectors
  • Create lift and drag force monitors
  • Monitor residuals to determine flow simulation convergence
  • Export results for ixForten 4000


  1. You have activated the Caedium RANS Flow and Viz Export add-ons, or Caedium Professional.
  2. You are familiar with Caedium essentials.
  3. You have either:
The geometry within Caedium should appear as shown below.
Double-Sided Membrane

Prepare the Volume

Right-click an edge of the volume, double-click the first volume (volume_2) in the Select dialog and then select Properties from the menu. In the Properties Panel, select the Volume tab  and set theName to flow-volume.
Volume Name Property

Create Membrane Group

Create a group for the membrane and its shadow so that later on in this tutorial you can monitor the integrated drag and lift forces.
Right click on the membrane base edge. In the Select dialog selectface_6-shadow, press the Ctrl key and select face_6 in the Selectdialog, click OK, select Group, and then select Properties.
In the Properties Panel, select the Group tab  and set Name tomembrane.

Specify the Substance Settings

Specify the Fluid Conditions

Select the Physics Tool Palette. Select Substances->Air. The Properties Panel will show the default properties for air. To enable incompressible turbulent (viscous) flow the State->Rotational and State->Viscousproperties should be set to Yes (their default values), and the State->CompressibleState->Heat Transfer and State->Transient properties should to be set to No (their default values).
Air Properties
Drag and drop the Substances->Air tool onto an edge of the volume. Select Done to set air as the fluid inside the volume.

Set the Reference Velocity for the Simulation

The reference velocity will be used to initialize the simulation and to specify the free stream velocity boundary condition. In this tutorial you will set a reference velocity of [8.66 5 0] m.s-1, from 10 m.s-1 @ theta = 30 degrees to give [10 * cos(30), 10 * sin(30), 0].
In the Properties Panel set Substance: Air->Properties->Phase: Single->Reference->U: Fixed Value->Value to be [8.66 5 0] and press Enter on the keyboard.
Reference Velocity Property

Set the Non-Orthogonal Corrections for the Simulation

In the Properties Panel, expand the Substance: Air->Solver: RANS Flow->Solution property, and then set Non-Orthogonal Corrections to be 0.
Non-Orthogonal Corrections Property

Specify the Boundary Conditions

Wall Conditions

Drag and drop the Conditions->Wall tool onto an edge of the volume. Double-click flow-volume->Faces in the Select dialog and select Doneto create walls on the outer surfaces of the volume.
A Wall condition is a solid surface through which fluid cannot flow.
Wall Properties

Inlet-Outlet Conditions

Drag and drop the Conditions->Inlet-Outlet tool onto edge_8 (blue). In the Select dialog select face_1, press Ctrl and select face_5 in theSelect dialog, click OK, and select Select/Deselect. Select edge_7 (red) in the View Window, in the Select Dialog select face, press Ctrl and select face_4, click OK, select Group, and select Done.
Inlet-Outlet Edges
In the Properties Panel, set Name to be circumference, and set Physics: Inlet-Outlet->Type to be Free Stream.
An Inlet-Outlet condition of type Free Stream allows the fluid to enter or leave the flow domain.
Free Stream Properties

Slip Condition

Drag and drop the Conditions->Slip tool onto an edge of the face shown in green below, double-click face_3 in the Select dialog and select Done.
Slip Face
A Slip condition ensures the flow velocity remains tangential to a face.
Slip Properties

Specify Meshing Parameters

You do not need to apply any volume or boundary condition prior to focusing on the meshing process – all that is required is an active Substance on your flow domain.

Face Mesh

First you will focus on the surface mesh to avoid the extra time required to create the volume mesh.
To see individual surface mesh elements during the meshing process, right-click on the View Window background, double-click sim->Faces, and select Properties from the menu. In the Properties Panel, set Style toFlat.
Faces Style Property
Select the Results Tool Palette. With all faces still selected from the previous operation select the Scalar Fields->A (area) tool, click Add A at the bottom of the Properties Panel and select Color Map.
The request for the A color map will cause all the faces to be meshed.
Face Mesh
Zoom the view using the mouse wheel to focus on the membrane mesh.
Membrane Face Mesh
Select the Physics Tool Palette and select the Conditions->Accuracytool. In the Properties Panel set Accuracy to Custom and set Resolutionto 100. Drag and drop the Conditions->Accuracy tool onto a membrane edge, double-click face_6 in the Select dialog, and select Done.
Applying the Accuracy tool will cause all the faces to be remeshed which will take a few seconds.
Fine Membrane Face Mesh

Volume Mesh

To see individual volume mesh elements during the meshing process, right-click on any edge in the View Window, double-click flow-volume, and select Properties from the menu. In the Properties Panel, turn off theTransparent property and set Style to Flat.
Volume Style Properties
Select the Results Tool Palette. With the volume still selected from the previous operation double-click the Scalar Fields->Vol Ratio (volume ratio = actual volume/ideal volume) and select Color Map.
The request for the Vol Ratio color map will cause the entire volume to be meshed which will take a few seconds.
Volume Mesh
Drag the upper threshold slider to the left in the View Legend to examine the cells with the lowest quality (lowest value in the blue range).
Volume Mesh Threshold
If you were to see clusters of low quality cells attached to the geometry then that is a sign that you need to improve the mesh in that region using the Accuracy tool. Fortunately this mesh does not suffer from low quality element clusters and you can proceed on with the simulation.

Display Initial Velocity Color Map

Drag and drop the Vector Fields->U (velocity) tool onto the View Window (view) background, double-click sim->Faces, select Color Map to create contours of velocity magnitude on all faces.
Velocity Color Map
In the Properties Panel, set Style to Smooth.
Smooth Velocity Color Map
Check that the velocity magnitude value (shown in the View Legend color bar) matches the value you expect as confirmation that your reference velocity is correct.

Display Initial Velocity Vectors

Drag and drop the Vector Fields->U (velocity) tool onto an edge of the circumference faces, double-click the circumference group in the Selectdialog, and select Arrows to create arrows colored by velocity magnitude.
Check that the arrows are oriented in the direction you expect as confirmation that your reference velocity is correct.

Create New Drag Result

Given that the air direction for this simulation can vary, i.e., it is not aligned with the X-axis, you need to create a new result for the drag force = Sum(F:X.Cos(theta) + F:Y.Sin(theta)), where F is force per element and theta is the angle between the air direction and the X-axis in the XY-plane.
The steps to calculate the new drag result are:
  1. Create a scalar constant theta
  2. Create Cos(theta) and Sin(theta)
  3. Create F:X.Cos(theta) and F:Y.Sin(theta)
  4. Create F:X.Cos(theta) + F:Y.Sin(theta)
  5. Create Sum(F:X.Cos(theta) + F:Y.Sin(theta))

Create Scalar Constant theta

In the Toolbar, click the New button  and select Result.
In the Create Result dialog, select the Constant tab. For Units, selectAngle.
Click Create to create a scalar.
In the Results Tool Palette, select Scalar Variables->Scalar (the scalar variable you just created), click on it again to make its name editable, and change Scalar to theta.
In the Properties Panel, set the Value of theta to 30. Press Enter on the keyboard to apply the changes to the Properties Panel.

Create Sin(theta) and Cos(theta)

In the Create Result dialog, select the Unary tab. Select Sin from the list. Drag Scalar Variables->theta from the Results Tool Palette and drop it onto the target in the Create Result dialog and click Create to createSin(theta).
Perform the same procedure again but select Cos from the Unary operators list to create Cos(theta).

Create F:X.Cos(theta) and F:Y.Sin(theta)

In the Create Result dialog, select the Binary tab. Select Multiply from the list.
In the Results Tool Palette, select Vector Fields->F (force). In the Properties Panel set Scalar to X.
Drag and drop Vector Fields->F onto the left-hand target in the Create Result dialog. Select Scalar to specify the X-force-component as the left-hand variable for the equation.
Drag Scalar Variables->Cos(theta) from the Results Tool Palette and drop it onto the right-hand target in the Create Result dialog and clickCreate to create (F:X x Cos(theta)).
In the Results Tool Palette, select Vector Fields->F (force). In the Properties Panel set Scalar to Y.
Drag and drop Vector Fields->F onto the left-hand target in the Create Result dialog. Select Scalar to specify the Y-force-component as the left-hand variable for the equation.
Drag Scalar Variables->Sin(theta) from the Results Tool Palette and drop it onto the right-hand target in the Create Result dialog and clickCreate to create (F:Y x Sin(theta)).

Create F:X.Cos(theta) + F:Y.Sin(theta)

In the Create Result dialog, select the Binary tab. Select Add from the list.
Drag and drop Scalar Fields->(F:X x Cos(theta)) onto the left-hand target in the Create Result dialog. Drag and drop Scalar Fields->(F:Y x Sin(theta)) onto the right-hand target in the Create Result dialog and clickCreate to create ((F:X x Cos(theta)) + (F:Y x Sin(theta))).

Create Sum(F:X.Cos(theta) + F:Y.Sin(theta))

In the Create Result dialog, select the Unary tab. Select Sum from the list. Drag Scalar Fields->((F:X x Cos(theta)) + (F:Y x Sin(theta))) from the Results Tool Palette and drop it onto the target in the Create Resultdialog and click Create to create Sum(((F:X x Cos(theta)) + (F:Y x Sin(theta)))).
Close the Create Result dialog. In the Results Tool Palette, select Scalar Variables->Sum(((F:X x Cos(theta)) + (F:Y x Sin(theta)))) and rename itDrag.

Create Force Monitors

Drag Monitor

Drag and drop the Scalar Variables->Drag tool onto a membrane edge. Double-click the membrane group in the Select dialog and selectMonitor.
Drag and drop the Drag Monitor tab over to the right-hand edge of the Caedium application window to split the window into two parts as shown below.

Lift Monitor

In the Results Tool Palette, select Vector Variables->F (force). In the Properties Panel set Scalar to Z.
With the membrane group still selected from the previous Drag monitor creation, double-click the Vector Variables->F tool and select Monitor.
Drag and drop the F Monitor tab over to the right-hand edge of the Caedium application window to split the window into three parts as shown below.

Create Residuals Monitor

Left-click in the View Window to give it focus. Drag and drop the Special->Residuals tool onto a membrane edge. Double-click flow-volume in theSelect dialog and select Monitor to create the residuals monitor.
Drag and drop the Residuals Monitor tab over to the top-right-hand edge of the Caedium application window to add the monitor to the drag monitor tab row as shown below.
Residuals Monitor

Run the Flow Solver

The number of flow (simulation) solver iterations is determined by multiplying the number of simulation time-steps (default = 5) by the number of iterations per simulation time-step (default = 100). The number of simulation time-steps is determined by dividing the simulation duration (default = 5 s) by the simulation time-step (default = 1 s). After each simulation time-step (equivalent to 100 iterations by default) the results will be refreshed. For this simulation the defaults are fine and will result in a total of 500 iterations.
To run the flow solver, click Play  on the Toolbar.
If you wanted to interrupt the flow solver, you would re-click the Play button; the solver would then stop at the end of the current simulation time-step.
Let the solver complete its run. Note the updates of the velocity vectors, velocity color map, the forces monitors, and the residuals monitor as the simulation progresses.
Solver convergence is indicated by:
  • The Residuals Monitor shows the solver residuals decreased with increasing iterations smoothly and progressed below 0.001, i.e., over 3 orders of magnitude reduction
  • The Drag and F monitors both show convergence close to single values with increasing iterations
To make it easier to differentiate between the inner and outer membrane results, select the membrane base edge, in the Select dialog double-clickface_6 (inner results), and select Properties. In the Properties Panel, turn off the Transparent property.
Shaded Inner Membrane Face
If you change the reference velocity flow direction then you will also need to change theta used by the drag monitor. Select the View Window background, in the Select dialog double-click sim. In the Properties Panel select the Simulation tab  and set Constants->theta accordingly.

Export Results to ixForten 4000

ixForten 4000 can import CFD results from Caedium as Alias/Wavefront (.obj) for the geometry and as Comma Separated Values (CSV) for the Pressure Coefficient (Cp) data.

Create New View

Click the New button on the toolbar and select View to create view_1.
New View

Export the Membrane as .obj

Select the membrane base edge, in the Select dialog double-click face_6, and select Properties. In the Properties Panel turn off the Transparentproperty.
Shaded Membrane
Right click on the View Window (view_1) background, in the Select dialog select sim->Edges, press the Ctrl key and select sim->Axes in theSelect dialog, and click OK. In the Properties Panel turn on theTransparent property.
This should leave only the membrane face visible ready for export.
In the Menu Bar, select File->Export…. In the Export dialog set Save as type to Alias/Wavefront (*.obj), set the File name to membrane-cp.obj, and click Save.
In addition to the membrane-cp.obj file the export operation will also save a membrane-cp.mtl file.

Export Cp Data as .csv

Drag and drop the Scalar Fields->Cp (pressure coefficient) tool onto the shaded membrane face in view_1. In the Select dialog double-click themembrane group, and select XY Plot to create a plot of the Cp values on the membrane faces.
Cp Plot
Select File->Export…. In the Export dialog set Save as type to Plot Series (*.csv), set the File name to membrane-cp.csv, and click Save.

Flow Over a Double-Sided Membrane

Submitted by symscape on September 17, 2012 – 14:04

Symscape, Computational Fluid Dynamics for All has been working with our team to find a optimum workflow for wind fluid flow on tensile surfaces. After months of work we have made available a connection between ixForten 4000  and Caedium Professional platform.

ixForten 4000  models can be easily  exported to Caedium  for wind flow analysis  and after running the simulations, Cp values and P values are reimported into ixForten 4000  for non-linear structural analysis.

This connection between ixForten 4000  & Caedium opens a wide range of new possibilities in the design of membrane and tensile structures making the Platform ixForten 4000 Premium + Caedium  the most valuable tool for workflow.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art – Oslo

The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is a privately owned Contemporary Art gallery in Oslo in Norway. It was founded and opened to the public in 1993.

The collection’s main focus is the American appropriation artists from the 1980s, but it is currently developing towards the international contemporary art scene, with artists like Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Matthew Barney, Tom Sachs, Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson and Cai Guo-Qiang. The museum gives 6-7 temporary exhibitions each year. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art collaborates with international institutions, and produces exhibitions that travels worldwide.

The museum created a stir in the international art world in 2002 when it purchased the American artist Jeff Koons’s monumental sculpture in gilt porcelain of the pop star Michael Jackson with Bubbles, his favorite chimpanzee, for USD 5.1m.
In Oslo natural light is precious, particularly in the winter months. Using the available light was therefore the driving concept for The Renzo Piano Building Workshop when designing  the Tjuvholmen Icon Complex.

The three buildings are covered by the sweeping curved roof that comes right down to the park. Other materials are few and include timber cladding a reference perhaps to the traditional buildings of historic Norwegian fishing villages such as the beautifully preserved Hanseatic buildings of Bryggen in Bergen.
The roof is glazed and layered in such a way as to allow as much wintertime natural light into the museum and other buildings as possible. The light is filtered and defused to render the interiors, and exhibits naturally and with the welcome side effect of saving on electricity.

 The project is composed of three discrete buildings, a gallery an office and a culture centre and is set out along a new axis that connects the city to the sea along new canals ending in a floating dock. Along this route is a new outdoor sculpture park.

Photos: Nic Luhoux

The Astrup Fearnley museum is now officially open. The entire centre will provide a valuable cultural space for Oslo.

Caedium v4 Sneak Peek: Tensile Membrane Structure Analysis

Membrane Displacement Calculated by ixForten 4000

Model: courtesy of SobreSaliente Ltda, 
Cp data source: Caedium Professional

By the time this is out, the next version of Caedium will be able to perform a CFD simulation of a tensile membrane structure and then export surface pressure coefficient (Cp) data for structural analysis in ixForten 4000. This exciting development will allow ixForten 4000 users to perform non-linear stress analysis to better determine membrane displacement with more precise wind pressure loads than previously available, leading to more cost efficient structures and supports.

As an example of the new capability, Gerry, first exported the original membrane, from ixForten 4000 using the Wavefront file format (.obj). Next Gerry imported the Wavefront geometry into Caedium, configured the flow volume and physics, and then ran the CFD simulation.
Caedium v4 Membrane CFD Simulation: Streamlines

Caedium v4 Membrane CFD Simulation: Streamlines

Caedium v4 Membrane CFD Simulation: Surface Pressure Coefficient (Cp)

Caedium v4 Membrane CFD Simulation: Surface Pressure Coefficient (Cp)

Next Gerry exported the Cp surface data and corresponding surface mesh from Caedium for import back into ixForten 4000.

Membrane Cp Displayed in ixForten 4000

Membrane Cp Displayed in ixForten 4000

As the final stage of the process, Gerry ran a non-linear structural analysis in ixForten 4000 using the Cp data as the boundary loads for the membrane. The results from the ixForten 4000 simulation are shown as displacement contours in the image at the top of this post.

The results have been quite encouraging and Now, the CFD module has slowly been integrated in the gold version of the software.

Adaptive Construction: A timber tensile roof that adapts to loads

Structures have always been designed for an exact maximum stress; this type of stress, however, generally only occurs very rarely and then only for a short period. As a result a large part of the building materials used today therefore serves these extremely seldom peak loads and is effectively seldom used. 

The aim of ultra lightweight structures developed at the University of Stuttgart is therefore to achieve a drastic saving of materials and a better reaction to dynamic loads through an active manipulation of the structure. In the case of the Stuttgart wooden shell this manipulation is achieved through hydraulic drives: these drives rest on the points of support of the shell and generate movements that compensate in a specific way for deformations and material stresses caused by wind, snow and other loads.

Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) and Institute for System Dynamics (ISYS) of the University of Stuttgart in cooperation with Bosch Rexroth have realised an adaptive structure on a large scale for the first time. The shell made of wood is supported at four points. Three of these points can be moved individually by hydraulic cylinders and freely positioned in space. Sensors record the load status at numerous points on the structure. Targeted movements of the points of support counteract variable loads (for example through snow or wind) and thus reduce deformations and material stresses. Compared to conventional, passive structures this considerably reduces the use of materials for the shell. The load balancing takes place through a Rexroth control system which was especially developed for hydraulic drives. The core task of the control system is to implement the complex hydraulic control tasks of the shell structure. In this way the supporting structure can react to a change in the load status within milliseconds.

An active vibration dampening and the adaptation to changing loads can be applied in many areas of construction, for example in stadium roofs, in high-rise buildings, in wide-spanning façade constructions or in bridges. The results of the research project at the University of Stuttgart thus enable a completely new construction method which not only saves resources but at the same time also considerably increases the performance of supporting structures. The active dampening of dynamic loads (for example from the effects of wind, earthquake or explosions) namely enables not only a drastic reduction in weight but furthermore also reduces material fatigue and damage to the structure.

In order to be able to actively compensate loads and vibrations, these influencing factors initially have to be precisely recorded resp. predicted; a second step would be to calculate the necessary counter-movements in real time (and likewise promptly to implement them). Researchers from the University of Stuttgart developed simulation models for this purpose, enabling an exact prediction of the behaviour of the structure. The material stress as well as the vibration behaviour under static and dynamic exposure is thereby taken into account. These simulation models serve as a basis for the development of control concepts which calculate the necessary counter movements on load and vibration compensation depending on the recorded measured values. These movements are then precisely implemented through the hydraulics.

Read more about it Here and Here

Project participants: 
Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart 
Prof. Werner Sobek, Stefan Neuhäuser, Christoph Witte, Dr. Walter Haase

Institute for System Dynamics (ISYS), University of Stuttgart 
Prof. Oliver Sawodny, Martin Weickgenannt, Dr. Eckhard Arnold
Bosch Rexroth AG, Lohr a. Main 
Dr. Johannes Grobe, André Fella

Stefan Neuhäuser: Tel.: 0711 685-63705, 
Martin Weickgenannt: Tel.: 0711 685-66960,
André Fella: Tel.: 09352 18-1010, 

Bamboo: From Green Design to Sustainable Design

The book “Bamboo: From Green Design to Sustainable Design” by Rebecca Reubens is now on the market and available on Amazon, Flipkart and at stores in India and overseas. 
The introduction for her book was written by Prof. Ranjan, which i am including below. 
The book focuses on the links between design, craft and sustainability, expanding the scope of design and opportunities for designers. It inspires designers to move beyond ‘green’ or eco-design, into the realm of holistically sustainable design by focusing on bamboo – an ancient, renewable material – which has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, in both design and sustainability. The book highlights bamboo’s versatile applications and their impact on ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability. The Sustainability Checklist included here will empower designers to guide and evaluate their designs – and move from green design towards sustainable design. The Princ e Claus Fund supports this publication for its treatment of sustainability’s many facets, unlike others that only recognize the ecological meaning. The Fund believes that culture is a basic need and the motor of development, and so actively seeks cultural collaborations founded on equality and trust, with partners of excellence, in spaces where resources and opportunities for cultural expression, creative production and research are limited and cultural heritage is threatened.
About the Author

Rebecca Reubens trained formally as an industrial designer. She now works at the intersection of design, craft and sustainability. A large part of her work has been for the development sector, with international bodies such as INBAR and UNIDO, in Europe, Asia and Africa.

She also has her independent practice, through her design firm Rhizome, which believes that renewable materials crafted into contemporary designs are the route to holistically sustainable products. Rebecca is currently pursuing her PhD at the Design for Sustainability subprogram at the Delft University of Technology on the links between sustainability, design and development, through the medium of bamboo.


Rebecca Reubens has asked me to write an Introduction for her new book that attempts to bridge three fields that I am deeply interested in and in which I too have been working for a very long time now. The three fields are Design, Bamboo and Sustainability, all of which are extremely complex in their own right and there is little real understanding of the issues and approaches within each of them in the modern world due to a paucity of published research here. Modern design has been around for some time having evolved from its roots in the industrial revolution but it has unfortunately become a form of consumerist expression by industry and the profession and the real human development angle is all but forgotten and we need to rediscover this aspect as a fresh approach. Bamboo is still quite unknown tomodern  industry and the design profession although it is a grand old material of traditional societies across Asia and Latin America. Finally, Sustainability has arrived with a bang at the policy level since we are faced with the excesses of industry and governence that has caused both global warming and climate change as well as social unrest which is a product of our selfish ways, all needing a serious rethink and I am happy to see these three issues being addressed here in this book.

In the world of traditional societies in Asia, Africa and Latin America there exists a demonstrated deep understanding of all three subjects since these have been used in an evolutionary manner by local communities for many centuries. These continue to exist as a living culture in their rural communities and lifestyles even today but I must say that modern communication and changing aspirations is affecting these towards rapid extinction. Just as our plant and animal species are being depleted by massive modern exploitation of resources these pearls of traditional wisdom are being lost just as rapidly by human neglect. Here I must draw particular attention to the Apa Tani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh who have over many centuries of development in their niche valley in the Eastern Himalayas demonstrated a sustainable lifestyle that is based on the careful cultivation and utilisation of bamboo, timber and an integrated water management system for agriculture that is as yet an unknown value in modern life around the world.

Design, on the other hand, is a natural human activity that evolved with man over the ages but it has now has been relegated to the precincts of a professional marketing priesthood that manages the activity in the marketplace of our global economy. Design as it was deeply understood by traditional societies as a broad based human imaginative activity has been relegated to the back burner since we have chosen to follow the specialized path of science and the trained manager since they provide rational answers for everything and modern man and their society can only decide based on explicit knowledge while design in most cases is felt or tacit knowledge and is based on instincts that are better judged by sensitive interpretation rather than by the application of cold logic. This is why I felt compelled to set up my blog titled “Design for India” where I could debate the other dmensions of design that are much needed in India today.

Bamboo, has been nurtured by traditional societies across Asia and Latin America and its varied species provide a natural material that had wide spread use in thousands of traditional applications in many parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America where it was abundantly grown but with the arrival of industrial revolution and the spread of Western know-how the dominant materials of our economies started depending on minerals like stone, limestone and cement, metals like steel and copper, synthetics such as plastics and petrochemicals and some economic agricultural commodities such as cotton and jute. Bamboo was therefore neglected by the colonial leaders as the spread of technology and formalized knowledge also meant the reduction of local knowledge in materials that were already in wide and sophisticated use in Asia and Latin America, particularly bamboo which was considered the ‘poor mans timber’ while the emphasis and official attention of the Government in India shifted to timber and wood during the heydays of the British Raj.

Sustainability is the hallmark of most settled societies that evolved slowly over thousands of years and gradually built up their lessons of stable and predictable agriculture and lifestyles that were quite in sync with the beat of natures’ processes. However with the arrival of power assisted technologies and communication man could do a lot more and much faster and the race for the dominance of nature commenced in real earnest and each nation tried to outdo the other in their race for global dominance in economy, power and social well being, all measured by growth and growth alone. However, the destruction of pristine rain forests in search for minerals and material wealth and the release of toxic gasses into the atmosphere has had its natural consequences and we are on the threshold of rediscovering the concept of sustainability in the face of the threat of human extinction, a threat that is imminent, if corrective strategies are not adopted by the worlds citizens and their political leaders on a most urgent basis. Sustainability is then a call for a return to a steady-state economy that echoes nature in all its involved and intertwined processes.

This impending crisis places this particular manuscript at the centre of the debate where all three subjects can play a meaningful role and in trying to address and bridge these three difficult but critical fields that promise to bring long term benefits that can counter the problems of our uncontrolled developments of the past few hundred years. Design strategies will need to be explored and design itself will need to be understood and applied by political leadership across the world along with the subjects of science, technology and management and design at a deep level will play a huge role in the reversal of global warming and the move towards sustainability in the days ahead. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant material known to man and we will need to learn to use it in new and improved ways to supplement our vast needs for materials across many areas of application and much research would be needed to fill the gaps in our knowledge along with an urgent attempt to codify and garner the traditional wisdom that still exists across the bamboo culture zones of the world, particularly in Asia and Latin America. Sustainability too is a subject of current scientific and political interest and there is much that we need to understand about the symbiotic processes that live and work in nature and then be able to use this understanding back into our own ways of living and doing things in the future.

This manuscript, “Bamboo: From Green Design to Sustainable Design” by Rebecca Reubens stands as a brave attempt to bridge the huge gap and I am sure it will encourage others to follow in the much needed integrative research and design actions that is needed in the days ahead. Rebecca studied design at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and then joined National Institute of Design (NID) in the Furniture Design discipline where I used to trach teach till I retired in 2010. She started her own journey into bamboo when she took on the subject as her Diploma Project as a student of Furniture Design at NID. We had a challenging project handy as part of the Bamboo & Cane Development Institute (BCDI)project that I was heading in 2001 and she has stayed with the subject and journeyed far as a member of the International Network of Bamboo & Rattan (INBAR) field team and now she has taken it on as her subject for her PhD Thesis at TU Delft in Design and Sustainability through the medium of Bamboo. She also went on to set up her own enterprise to work with local communities in Gujarat and from this to learn the significance of human effort at the grassroots using Design, Bamboo and Sustainability as her driving principles and to learn from this experience that which is not yet stated in any book so far, lessons from real life experiences from the field. All three much needed today and I wish her success.”

from MP Ranjan’s Blog…

‘Honey Scape’ Landscape Pavilion

Architects: Gonçalo Castro Henriques, X-REF Architectural Research & Development
Location: Ponte de Lima, Portugal
Client: Municipality of Ponte de Lima
Partners: X-REF, BÖ01 project management, Dagol Lda
Collaboration: Paulo Teodósio, Pedro Torres e Pedro Negrão (MergeLab), Helder Carvalho
Project Area: 280 sqm
Project Completion: 2012

Honey Scape is a dreamy temporary pavilion made of interlocking hexagonal sheets (or combs) of alveolar polycarbonate that create a dazzling display of light and shadow. “The combs act in part as the voussoirs of a parabolic arc supporting each other,” the designers explained. This allows them to “adopt a configuration of a double curvature surface… and adjust its size to their relative position in the structure.”

The components were digitally fabricated and constructed on site using metal connectors and a cable system. The resulting low-tech, 280 square meter pavilion commissioned by the municipality of Ponte de Lima and completed earlier this year heralds a new type of bio-tech art. Its main purpose, in addition to introducing a new aesthetic into the public realm, is to establish ultimate synergy between people and the built and natural environment.
Golden Honey Scape Pavilion Mimics a Giant Honeycomb in Portugal Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building A low-tech construction system was developed to build this complex structure. The system was complemented with metal connectors and a cable system on site. As it happens in the hives, this system required cooperative work to be assembled and became a reality. Networking and self-organization, which have inspired artificial intelligence, also inspired this solution. It offers bio-tech-art for a symbiosis between human and nature.
The installation avoids mimicking or confronting the landscape, rather seeking a man, nature and technology synergy. The structure recreates the honeycomb rules adapting to a lightweight double-curved surface in alveolar polycarbonate. The hexagonal geometry of the honeycomb is set according to three references – the parabolic arch, the double curved surfaces and the process of material adaptation. So the combs act in part as the voussoirs of a parabolic arc supporting each other, adopting a configuration of a double curvature surface (hyperbolic paraboloid), and adjusting its size to their relative position in the structure. The combs are larger at the base, decreasing in size and height towards the top of the structure. The generation and manufacture of the components relied on the use of scripting and digital fabrication.

Built after winning an international landscape competition at Ponte Lima, Portugal, Honey Scape is temporary landscape pavilion by Gonçalo Castro Henriques of X-REF. This installation intends to shelter the visitor, captivating him by a dream-like atmosphere with aromatic plants. This atmosphere is defined by a light and transparent structure, based on a honeycomb, creating a dynamic of light and color throughout the day. More images and architects’ description after the break.

© Alexandre Delmar / JF Fotografia

DSSH Bridge Powered by the Sun, Purifying the Air

This shape-shifting helix bridge is a flexible tensile structure, by applying more tension to different points, a technological dynamic deformation can be achieved in response to the people crossing the bridge. It becomes a living element that responds to its use.  Not surprisingly, this design won the first prize at the Building to Building Pedestrian Bridge International Challenge.
The tensile skin incorporates Foldable Photovoltaic Solar Panels capturing energy from the sun to generate and supply electricity from a clean and sustainable energy. This makes the bridge self-sustainable. To go beyond green, the design includes Plants that clean and purify the air, transforming the pollution of the city in pure oxygen. Plants and the Breathable Membrane make a greener environment and a clean pedestrian tunnel.

Urban Redevelopment Project at Tainan Main Station Area


Architects: Maxthreads
Location: Tainan, Taiwan
Project Team: Max Yang, David Millar, Samya Kako
Competition Organizers: Bureau of Development Tainan City Government, Taiwan (R.O.C.) & INTA (International Urban Development Association)
Prize: Second Prize

The second prize winning vision for the Urban Redevelopment Project at Tainan Main Station Area responds to the extending aim of positioning Taiwan in general, and Tainan city in particular, as a major historical based tourism destination. Designed by Maxthreads, their strategy attempts to contribute to Taiwan’s economic diversification from its current infrastructure lead planning system. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Tainan main station master plan is imagined as a cultural based community and nature intervention, with sustainable residential development and the potential for natural habitat areas. It aims to be a cultural and vibrant edutainment intervention as well as a secluded haven of peace and tranquility. Tainan main station is conceived as a new gateway of Taiwan’s history.

The proposal aims to reconcile community and biodiversity. It will act as an eco-transitional urban device, transferring and linking the diversity of the surrounding urban districts and programs. The concept behind the master plan proposal derives from the area’s original function as transportation node. The proposal will maintain the areas historical identity, whilst providing a boundary free and a self-sufficient urban planning, incorporating a number of sustainability systems.

Grand Theater Qingdao

Architects: gmp architekten
Location: Qingdao, Shandong, China
Design Team: Meinhard von Gerkan, Stephan Schütz, Nicolas Pomränke
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 60,000 sqm
Photographs: Christian GahlArchitects: gmp architekten
Location: Qingdao, Shandong, China
Design Team: Meinhard von Gerkan, Stephan Schütz, Nicolas Pomränke
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 60,000 sqm
Photographs: Christian Gahl

The Grand Theater is situated on the eastern side of the city of Qingdao between a bay in the Yellow Sea and Mount Laoshan (1,130m above sea level). Because of the unique situation of the massif directly by the sea, the Laoshan ridge is often wreathed in clouds, which gives the landscape a unique, often mystical, setting.

The style of the building relates to the mentioned natural spectacle, with the massif and the lightness of the clouds reflected in the appearance of the Grand Theater. It rises from the landscape like a mountain — a cloud-like roof seems to wreathe the four buildings. The raised terraces in the surrounding park are reminiscent of a mountain plateau, and take their bearings both from the sea and the mountains.

In addition to the opera house a concert and a multifunction hall as well as a media center and a hotel are integrated into the complex.

The foyer of the opera house offers direct views of the sea. Audiences can enter the auditorium on two levels, either via the lower level, giving access to the large cloakrooms and the lower circle, or via the main foyer.

Stadion Miejski Wroc?aw

Architects: JSK Architekci 

Location: Wroc?aw, Poland
Architect In Charge: JSK Architekci 
Design Team: Zbigniew Pszczulny, Mariusz Rutz, Piotr Bury (project manager)
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: JSK Architekci

Project Area: 248,401 sqm
Landscape Architect: RS Architektura Krajobrazu
Structure: Schlaich Bergermann und Partner (steel structure), Matejko i Partnerzy Biuro Konstrukcyjne (RC structure)

UEFA’s decision to select Poland and Ukraine as the hosts of EURO 2012 encouraged the city of Warsaw to organize an architectural competition for the new stadium which would hold 40 thousand seats and be prepared to host group matches of EURO 2012.  21 renowned architectural practices were invited to compete. Polish practice JSK Architekci was awarded with the first prize and in October 2007 the office was granted the commission to deliver the project.

Development site is 7km outside of Wroclaw city centre. Existing infrastructure surrounding the new stadium was improved by the new motorway bypass and the new tram line providing additional access to the site from west and north. Stadium development had a positive impact on the economical growth of the surrounding neighbourhood with plans of further development i.e. a new office park and the first in Poland shopping mall strictly adjacent to the stadium.

Concept design
The stadium building and its surrounding were designed to present both interesting architectural form and fulfil requirements of economical exploitation yet providing maximum functionality and flexibility. The design of the site plan emphasizes the main building of the stadium making it a dominant feature in the surrounding space. Platform surrounding the stadium on the entrance level (6m above the ground) descends gently (4% fall) to the ground level under the street overpass allowing a comfortable and collision free pedestrian connection to the railway and tram station to the south, also covering level 0 of the stadium plot with VIP entrance, driveway and parking places. Separating main stream of pedestrians from the remaining vehicular circulation routes created a friendly and welcoming entrance zone to the building.

This plateau provides the pedestrians with an extensive space and a roof for the parking lot and the service road. The plateau from the north western side is woven by with the rising plateau of the car park. This rising roof level of the car park hides the one for a shopping centre tied area. Conceived as a single tiered stadium with a uniform stand bowl, makes it possible for the spectators to be aware of a sporting event in a more exciting way. Despite the great building scale it has been successful to keep an intimate atmosphere on the whole stand. So we can experience a unique atmosphere. This stadium in its scale is one of the few with a single tier.

A clear and apparent scheme of the functional design makes a fluent admission into the stadium building possible. The bowl of the semicircular stand is attainable from 2 promenades on 2 levels. Numerous turnstiles which allows us to run onto the lower promenade are placed in a complete radius of the building. The upper promenade is easily attainable with the help of open stairwells. Both promenades form a kind and comfortable space with all possible welfare facilities (catering trade, toilets, first help, police). For a luxury the promenades were wrapped by a transparent membrane. On the one hand it offers protection of bad weather conditions, on the other hand it is closing the building form visually. The number of pillars was reduced considerably so that spacious and open promenades could be created.

Building rentable area organizing system is quite unique. Conventional designs usually locate rentable areas underneath tribune structures, Wroclaw’s stadium separates them from the structure by creating a promenade and a massive void allowing visitors admiring tribunes from underneath. Along promenades toilets and retail units ready to service 40 thousand visitors were located. Open staircases leading spectators up to the top level strengthen the feeling of openness and allow for the exposed reinforced concrete structure to be admired. Standing out mesh membrane is characteristic for the new Wroclaw stadium. It consists of a polytetrafluoroethylene covered fibreglass and is pushed on 5 ring beams of steel. The 5 ring beams refer by the horizontal geometry to the well-known Wroclaw’s modern architecture.

Stadium design was based on UEFA and FIFA guidelines supplemented with the experience of EURO 2006. All the tribune seats are roofed and provide unobstructed view of the pitch. Both promenade levels are duly serviced. On its western side business club and VIP hall were located.  Zone for footballers and media has been envisaged as well. Level +3 holds lodges with the conference rooms featuring rows of seats facing the stadium arena. Stadium will also be home to sport bar, offices, physiotherapy centre, fitness club, discotheque, casino etc. Diversification of available services allows the building to be used all day long.

The main bulk of the stadium building consists of three main elements:
– Tribunes construction of reinforced concrete.
– Steel construction of the roofing structure, with its oval shape repeated in the form of three rings at varying angles surrounding the building.
PTFE covered fibreglass mesh membrane stretched on the above mentioned steel rings.

Roof design is formed with the light cantilevered steel structure consisting of 38 radially spread trusses sitting on a pair of columns each (one is pressured the other tensioned). The stadium roof generally appears as membrane roof with a glass ring part designed to bring maximum amount of sunlight to the pitch.

Facade belting the stadium starts at the height of 3.5m above esplanade level.  Its structure consists of 5 steel beams – rings and it is covered with partially transparent mesh membrane. Façade’s form results from the shape and arrangement of the steel rings formed with curved steel pipes. The lowest and the highest rings are placed horizontally keeping distance of 30m between them. This dimension determines the height of the mesh membrane façade. Additional dynamic factor to the facade was achieved by setting inwards and sloping the middle rings and by shifting northwards the upper fourth ring. Due to the strength of local winds affecting the elevation mesh membrane proper simulation tests in the aero dynamical tunnel were conducted during the designing process.  Another simulation of smoke extraction was performed helping to properly design mesh grid and its factor of open area.

Thanks to façade treatment stadium appears to be light and transparent despite its massive size. The façade mesh protects the usable yet open space of the promenades from weather conditions such as rain and wind. Internal LED lighting system was introduced allowing the building to project light through the façade’s mesh from inside. Overall impression of the “glowing” building is similar to that of the Chinese lantern. Thanks to the LED technology colour and pattern of the lighting can be easily changed thus the building’s character can be visually adjusted to the planned event (such as EURO 2012, league and national tournaments, music shows or other mass events) and can generate particular feel to it following the current need.

Coca Cola Beatbox Pavillion

Architects: Pernilla & Asif
Location: London, UK
Design Team: Asif Khan, Pernilla Ohrstedt
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Hufton, Crow

The Coca-Cola Beatbox, designed by Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt is an experimental fusion? of architecture, sport, music and technology that creates a stunning sensory experience. The visionary structure acts as a musical instrument, allowing visitors to remix Mark Ronson and Katy B’s ‘Move to the Beat’ Coca-Cola anthem ‘Anywhere in the World’ – as they pass through the building.

The Coca-Cola Beatbox forms part of Coca-Cola’s Future Flames campaign which aims to shine a spotlight on Britain’s brightest stars and inspire other young people to pursue their passions.

© Hufton & Crow

Coca-Cola has spent two years working with partners including The Architecture Foundation, the Royal College of Art and experimental theatre company London Quest.  Together, these organisations have helped Coca-Cola bring together the best in emerging talent across design, performance and technology as part of its commitment to using its sponsorship to shine a light on inspirational young people – its Future Flames.  The result is a pavilion that is created by, embodies and celebrates the passions of thousands of Coca-Cola Future Flames who make a positive contribution to their local communities every day.

© Hufton & Crow

Emerging London-based architecture collaborators Asif Khan, 32, and Pernilla Ohrstedt, 31, were given creative control by Coca-Cola following a formal commissioning process administered by The Architecture Foundation.  The dynamic pair have designed a pavilion that aims to connect young people to the Games by bringing together their passions for music and sport.  Inspired by Coca-Cola’s global platform for London 2012 – Move to the Beat – the pavilion has been designed to function just like a musical instrument.

© Hufton & Crow

Its giant crystalline facade structure is made up of over 200 red and white inflated ETFE cushions, each gravity-defying panel connected like a house of cards. Integrated within these panels is proprietary audio, illumination and interactive sensor technology, enabling the architecture to be embedded with rhythmical sport sounds from GRAMMY award winning Mark Ronson and Mercury Prize nominee Katy B’s Coca-Cola anthem ‘Anywhere in the world’ for London 2012. His recordings from Olympic athletes’ heartbeats, shoes squeaking, arrows hitting a target, amongst many others, are  triggered, played and musically remixed by an estimated 200,000 visitors’ gestures and proximity as they ascend the external spiral ramp on a 200m journey to the pavilion’s rooftop where they will enjoy spectacular views of the Olympic Park. The ramp then plunges down into the heart of the pavilion which will feature an interactive light installation created by Jason Bruges Studio.

© Hufton & Crow

Jason Bruge Studio’s Aerial Dynamics installation is a living, breathing light show that has been designed to emulate the effervescent energy released when a bottle of Coca-Cola is served and shared. 180 bespoke mechatronic ‘bubbles’ glow rhythmically in time with Mark Ronson’s track.  Controlled with individual code, each bubble has eight polypropylene blades that fold intricately in on themselves. Special sensors embedded in the three ‘cheers in celebration’ kiosks at the base of the Beatbox detect when Coca-Cola bottles are clinked together, triggering the blades and bubbles to glow with red and white LED lighting.  These light patterns become increasingly intricate as the number of participants grow.

Now that is a music box we’d like to have 😀

KK100 / TFP Farrells

Architects: TFP Farrells
Location: Shenzhen, China
Client: Kingkey Group
Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
Tower height: 441.8 m
GFA: 210,000 sqm
Completed: September 2011
Photographs: Carsten Schael, Fu Xing, Jonathan Leijonhufvud

KK100, the tallest building in the world completed in 2011, is an inn.ovative high density project that takes an entirely new approach to city making. It is situated on the edge of Shenzhen’s CBD and sets a new precedent for the successful 21st century transformation of commercial districts into vibrant and enriching environments. The 3.6-hectare site was previously occupied by a dense but low-rise residential quarter, Caiwuwei Village. The developer had the creative vision to form a company with the villagers, initiating an entirely new approach to the art of place-making in Shenzhen.

Existing buildings were run down and living conditions were poor. As part of initiating this transformation, a Joint Development Initiative was formed in which villagers became stakeholders. Each owner was offered a new property as well as a second home which serves as an income generating asset. This meant the preservation of community links that are built over generations. In order to offset the cost of re-provisioning residences for the villagers, the tower had to be exceptionally tall so that the project could be financially viable.

The 100-storey, 441.8-metre tower comprising over 210,000m2 of accommodation is part of the master plan for a 417,000m2 mixed-use development. The development includes five residential buildings and two commercial buildings. The floors of the tower are divided into three major functions. The floors from level 4 to 72 will house 173,000m2 of Grade-A office space while the uppermost levels from 75 to 100 will be occupied by a 35,000m2 6-star St. Regis hotel complete with a cathedral-like glazed sky-garden animated by various activities. One of the design features is the curving building profile. This form alludes to a spring or fountain and is intended to connote the wealth and prosperity of Shenzhen.

The perimeter column arrangement provides each level with an unobstructed working environment and stunning views towards Lizhi and Renmin Park as well as over all Shenzhen and beyond. It does not use the typical square foot print; the East / West façades being more slender and flared slightly so office floor plates are slightly bigger and the South / North façades that face Hong Kong and the Maipo marshes are wider. The slenderness brings certain challenges, most notably the swing or drift ratio and the robustness of the tower and performance of key elements. Instead of putting generators on top of the building, the roof is constituted by a curved smooth glazed curtain wall and steel structure.

As well as providing social and cultural continuity, KK100 is integrated with the metropolitan transport network, which is crucial for a high density project such as this. The connectivity between the various components of the master plan on various levels was critical; the tower is integrated with the podium on various levels while retail and public uses at lower levels are integrated with the Metro system; the residential blocks are linked at the higher levels to create easier neighbourhood accessibility while direct office and hotel connections are also provided for easier movement of people. The Tower serves as a ‘’Mini-city” which provides an amenity-rich focal point back to the community, offering a 24-hour city-life to be better for the environment and human interaction.

The Stuttgart Station Saga

“A panel of know-alls”

Stuttgart – Excerpts from various newspapers… 

As a responsible planner of the statics the Stuttgart engineer Werner Sobek knows the construction project of the deep station to the smallest detail. In an interview Sobek increasingly objects to the reasons to which the project must be stopped because of safety concerns.

Mr. Sobek, your colleague Frei Otto calls the freeze of Stuttgart21 as threatened due to the construction site “danger to life and limb.” If the warning justified?

The warning is not justified in any way. I am shocked that Mr. Otto now expressed in this form – after many, many years has been involved in the project as an active planner and Stuttgart21 has known this for a long time so also the advice on the nature of the subsoil. These opinions do not say, that the project threatens or endangers life.

Mr. Otto warns of new underground station could be flooded by ground water or by the pressure of groundwater squeezed out of the ground uncontrollably. If you build in the groundwater, creating lift. It is known since Archimedes. The new Stuttgart main train station is between six and eight meters in groundwater. This is technically not a problem and the conditions of the city, if you go to the many parking garages, think light rail or commuter train tunnel, sensational in any way. On the contrary: The tubes of the S-and U-Bahn are for nearly 35 years in peace some six feet lower than the new station in the groundwater. And nothing has happened.

As a layman I would say that the subway station developed because of its size, a much higher lift than a narrow tube train. Is that correct?

Yes. But even the weight of the main station construction is sufficient to compensate for the buoyancy almost. It includes hundreds of stakes that anchor the station ten to 16 meters deep underground. This is an additional security. Overall, to the problem which Mr. Otto fears.

Mr. Otto said that he spoke his warning also of “moral obligation” of. Can you do with this concept in this context something?

I will not comment on that.

Try it.

At the Stuttgart 21 project some of the best and most prestigious Ingenierbüros are actually involved. This fellow can not just assume this way – even indirectly – that they would act irresponsibly or immorally. This is simply an absurdity.


Stuttgart 21
co-creator of the station questioned
Michael Schmidt, 08/19/2010 17:28 clock

The 85-year-old Frei Otto does not currently mainly technical incalculable risks sufficiently into account. 

Photo: Zweygarth

“If a design takes long to realize, then, the plan has become obsolete. “

Frei Otto on one of the problems of the low station

One of two designers of the deep station for Stuttgart 21 suggests a new beginning of the planning. The 85-year-old Frei Otto, who for more than 13 years has together with the Düsseldorf architect Christoph Ingenhoven designed the characteristic “light eyes” and the shape of the new Stuttgart station, does not currently particularly unpredictable technical risks sufficiently into account. Above all, the Safety concerns the architect and engineer and complains that the current criticism is based primarily on the costs: “If we had had in designing the current level of information, I would be dominated by the idea of a low station moved away.” For a compelling reason why one would put the Stuttgart main station underground. Instead Otto is tinkering with the the idea of a high station in order to cross the Nesenbachtal. “A new plan could be mad to go fast, since there are now so much more information there than in the architectural competition in 1997.” The current hard-fought were on the side wings of the other option and this has ever been an issue for the architectural competition.

Geological factors affecting work 

“The purpose of the wings, which are for a station with steam locomotives because of the soot and smoke make it an absolutely necessity. Bonatz ‘grand gesture to the east has seen hardly anyone,” said Otto. . What made him much more strongly for a rethink, are the sum of the geological adversities and also insights and new and terrible experience of the behavior of crowds in the tunnel , “The main problem still remains: we sit down with the underground station in the groundwater, and it  rises up. How is the 400-meter long and 100 meter wide concrete trough in which sits the underground station, to be held then, so that it floats not. 

But can they be securely anchored? “asks the emeritus of the University of Stuttgart and founder of the Institute for Lightweight Structures in the face of the clay subsoil at Castle Garden. Also on another level, there are other problems with his creation: “Each design has its time has when it is not realized for long, then the plan becomes outdated and is flogged to death. Big projects who have no completion date, there is no psychological support” says Otto, who attained World fame for the design for the Munich Olympic roofs in collaboration with his colleagues in Stuttgart Gunter Behnisch 1972 .

Olympic Shooting Range – Temporary

With the London Summer Olympic Games rapidly approaching, there has been much talk about either the games are in fact economically good for a city. At its best, hosting an Olympics can help revitalize a city, and at its worst, playing host can leave the host-country drowning in debt.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but one is simply the cost of building new venues, all with a price tag to match their state-of-the-art design. When the athletes and fans pack up and go, the new stadiums and event-specific venues–for example, the Athens Olympics had a venue just for taekwondo– are often left empty, and unused far before the bill is settled.

In London, there has been a little of everything, from big name high-priced venues to littler, temporary structures. But how do you make a temporary building that still has an architectural impact? Perhaps in an effort to answer this question, London and Berlin-based Magma architecture came up with a design for the Olympic Shooting Gallery that could be dismantled, but that you won’t soon forget.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture

The shooting galleries for the London 2012 Olympic games are covered in spots that look the suckers of an octopus’ tentacles.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Designed by Magma Architecture of London and Berlin, the Olympic Shooting Venue comprises three PVC tents that have been erected at London’s historic Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The extruded red, blue and pink circles draw ventilation inside each of the venues and also create tension nodes for the steel structure beneath the white skin.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Some natural light permeates this PVC membrane, while entrances are contained inside all the spots that meet the ground.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
As the structures are only temporary, they will be dismantled immediately after the Olympics and reassembled in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photography is by J.L. Diehl unless otherwise stated.
The text below is from Magma Architecture:

?London Shooting Venue
The London Shooting Venue will accommodate the events in 10, 25 and 50 m Sport Shooting at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the southeast London district of Woolwich.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The first Gold Medal of the London Olympic Games will be awarded at the venue for Women’s 10 m Air Pistol on the 28th July 2012. After the event the three temporary and mobile buildings will be dismantled and rebuilt in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Shooting is a sport in which the results and progress of the competition are hardly visible to the eye of the spectator.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The design of the shooting venue was driven by the desire to evoke an experience of flow and precision inherent in the shooting sport through the dynamically curving space.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
All three ranges were configured in a crisp, white double curved membrane façade studded with vibrantly colored openings.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
As well as animating the façade these dots operate as tensioning nodes.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The 18.000 m2 of phthalate-free pvc membrane functions best in this stretched format as it prevents the façade from flapping in the windt.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
The openings also act as ventilation intake and doorways at ground level.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
The fresh and light appearance of the buildings enhances the festive and celebrative character of the Olympic event.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
With the buildings being dismantled after the event an additional aim was to create a remarkable design which will be remembered by visitors and the local community thereby leaving a mental imprint the Olympic of shooting sport competition in Woolwich.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The shooting venue is not situated in the Olympic Park, but has its own location in Woolwich on the grounds of the historic Royal Artillery Barracks.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
It is estimated that more than 104.000 spectators will watch the competitions.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
The three buildings comprise 3.800 seats divided between two partially enclosed ranges for the 25 and 10/50 m qualifying rounds and a fully enclosed finals range. Together they form a campus on the green field.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
Their up to 107 m long facades refer to the structured length of the Royal Artillery Barracks building, but have their own contemporary architectural expression.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Guided by the high requirements from the client, the Olympic Delivery Authority, sustainability was a key factor in shaping the design. All materials will be reused or recycled.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
All three of the venues are fully mobile, every joint has been designed so it can be reassembled; and no composite materials or adhesives were used. In addition, the semitransparent facades on two of the three ranges reduce the need for artificial lighting and the ventilation is fully natural.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The tensioning detail was achieved through an efficient configuration of modular steel components commonly used in temporary buildings market. The double-curvature geometry is a result of the optimal use of the membrane material, which magma architecture has been experimenting with for a number of years, amongst others in the award winning head in I im kopf exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie in Germany.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Magma archtitecture was founded in 2003 by the architect Martin Ostermann and the exhibition designer Lena Kleinheinz. Central to our work is the use of complex geometric modeling as a way of creating a more spatially dynamic vocabulary. This is essential to better articulate and reflect the heterogenieity of our cities and global culture.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
We seek to be part of a new paradigm within architecture – one that is expressionistic, rooted in non-linear form-making and facilitated by new materiality and cutting edge technologies.

Xhina: and why economies should slow down…

China’s economy is slowing down. It’s projected growth rate is set to dip down to as low as a modest 6% versus the jaw-dropping double-digit rates of the past decade or more. In March, the government set its growth target for 2012 at 7.5%. It must be remembered that this is no accident. It is a calculated move. In the most recent five-year plan this general cooling-down is part of China’s strategy to avoid the sort of economic meltdown that hit the U.S. in 2008. They read the tea leaves and decided to take measures, as they can in a centrally-controlled economy, to ensure steady, modest growth rather than bubble-producing frenetic growth. Political stability is a huge factor in this. The communist party maintains its mandate as long as the engines of the economy continue to hum relatively smoothly.

Why the slow down? According to a recent special report in The Economist, nearly 48% of China’s GDP in 2011 was dominated by internal investment in infrastructure and city building. This should come as no surprise to foreign architects who have been riding this wave for the last twenty years or so. The scary part of this number is that most of this investment is being done by state owned enterprises (SOES) operating under artificially favorable conditions. On top of this, according to the ratings agency, Fitch, lending has jumped from 122% of GDP in 2008 to 171% in 2011. This “surge in credit” is strikingly familiar because it looks like the beginnings of America’s financial crisis. As The Economist notes, “When Fitch plugged China’s figures into its disaster warning system (the “macroprudential risk indicator”), the model suggested a 60% chance of a banking crisis by the middle of next year.”

What ramifications does a China slow-down have for foreign firms? Obviously, it means projects slow down or disappear. But this does not mean China is going away. While it will continue to be a vital market over the long term, what foreign firms should prepare for is a gradual shift in the architecture market toward social infrastructure projects.

So why have some economists been signaling the alarm that China is on it’s way to a resounding POP? Well, they have also been qualifying that prediction with data about how different the Chinese situation is from that of, say, the Eurozone, or the U.S. So, yes, there are all those reports about empty buildings and vacant mega-developments blowing with dust, but not to worry. Most of those were fronted with surplus cash, money to burn—something difficult to imagine when you come from a slow western economy. In the case of China, empty buildings do not necessarily indicate a bubble. What they might indicate is that they have to start thinking about how to allocate investments differently.
Additionally, according to the report, China’s financial sector will be able to absorb any bad investments in the development sector.

China’s banking system provides a vast ocean of cash reserves to weather any financial storm that may come its way. China has set it up so that there are basically no options for locals as to where to put their money. For the most part, it all goes into low-yield savings accounts that pay a criminally-low interest rate. China is flooding in cash and, in a sense, holding the Yuan hostage. What this means is that they have a greater margin for error when and if the shit hits the fan.

The new five-year plan begins to steer the country away from this potentiality by emphasizing social infrastructure as an area to concentrate development investments. Hospitals, housing, schools, senior amenities are all up for some state-sponsored infusions and incentives.

According to a recent article by Bloomberg News, China’s central government does not intend to roll out another hefty stimulus like it did three years ago. What they are proposing instead is a shift away from reliance on state investment to a model of private investment in infrastructure, schools, and health care sectors. Basically trying to get more private money out of the banks and into the economic stream to promote growth. Of course “private” and “state” can mean one and the same in China. More specifically, the idea is that this will gradually wean the state off its dependence on SOES and create an investment climate that is more aligned with actual market forces. Many economists, within and without China, have thought SOES have been granted too much power since the nineties and that they are skewing the economy into the red-hot danger zone.

There will, however, be modest stimulus measures taken by different state agencies, such as the State Council, and the finance ministry. Bloomberg notes that these measures could impact growth by August or September. China is also set to implement policies that would speed up the approval process for major projects.

While mixed-use has dominated in recent years, both state and private investments are going to start shifting toward markets like health care, education, and housing. According to Rosealea Yao of GK Dragonomics, China needs roughly 85 million more urban households to match housing demand.

The state recognizes the need to put some sort of social safety net in place now that the old “iron rice bowl”, which thrived under the communist industrial model, has been dead for many years. Thus, the consumption of social services is becoming more and more vital in “post-communist” China. This is one reason state and private investors are gradually turning their attention to health care and education. What the new economic order in China is producing is a new demand for such social infrastructure projects. Does this mean the mall is dead in China? Not exactly. But mall developments currently attract the wealthiest 10% of the population while the state is starting to turn the energy of the economy toward the other 90% a little more.

Retail will still be there but it is not yet China’s primary mode of consumption. This is true in part because of social inequality. However, if investments in social infrastructure increase, this will help drive social inequality down. By extension, this could give consumer society a shot in the arm. So, for those architects solely doing mixed-use retail, there is still room for growth, but this is tied to the long-term potential of the emerging social sector. This will become an important growth area in the next few years.

As The Economist report notes, China still needs more of everything. What will be important for foreign architects is to adapt and remain agile. Firms may have to run a race that is less based solely on running at full-speed and more a type of combined relay comprised of running, walking, resting, running again, and so on. To expand in China, foreign firms will need to think beyond just working with commercial investment clients doing icon towers and be ready to work with social infrastructure clients. Put another way, in the next few years, foreign architects may very well be doing fewer towers and more hospitals and schools.

Warsaw’s National Stadium wins World Stadium Award 2012

Designed by gmp Architekten, Warsaw’s National Stadium prevailed against international competition and won the World Stadium Award in the best multi-functional stadium design and most innovative use of technology categories in stadium design. On the occasion of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, the stadium was reconstructed on top of the existing – but since 1988 no longer used and dilapidated – earth wall stadium (Stadion Dziesieciolecia), and re-opened in January of this year.

The stadium’s construction consists of two succinct parts – the grandstand built of pre-fabricated concrete components and the steel wire net roof with a textile membrane suspended from freestanding steel supports with inclined tie rods above this. The interior roof consists of a retractable membrane sail which folds together above the center of the pitch. This is also where the four-screen “video cube” is installed so as to provide an optimum view from all seats. The top tier is accessed via 12 arch-shaped, single-flight staircases.

The exterior façade consists of anodized expanded metal that provides another envelope for the actual thermal shell of the interior areas and access steps. The panels with their red and bright silver color scheme appear either closed or transparent, depending on the light angle, and from a distance evoke the image of an artistic composition in white and red, the country’s national colors.

The stadium has been designed as a multifunctional events center and, with its approx. 20,000 sqm of office and conference facilities, comprises a comparatively high proportion of floor space which can be used independently of the stadium operation. These spaces are available for all types of events and include the necessary support facilities.

Architects: gmp Architekten
Location: Doha, Quatar
Design: Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Markus Pfisterer
Project Management: Markus Pfisterer, Martin Hakiel
Project Management (roof): Martin Glass
In cooperation With: J.S.K. Architekci Sp. z o.o. and schlaich bergermann und partner
Structural Design of Roof: schlaich bergermann and partners, Knut Göppert with Knut Stockhusen and Lorenz Haspel, M&E Engineering HTW, Hetzel, Tor-Westen + Partner, Biuro Projektów “DOMAR”
Landscape Design: RAK, Architectura Krajobrazu, Warsaw

General Contractor: Konsorcjum ALPINE BAU DEUTSCHLAND AG, ALPINE BAU GmbH, ALPINE Construction Polska Sp. z o.o., HYDROBUDOWA POLSKA S.A. i PBG S.A.

Client: Narodowe Centrum Sportu Sp. z o.o.
Seats: 55,000

Competition: 2007 – 1st prize
Construction Period: 2008-2011

Abvent launches Artlantis 4.1, powered by Maxwell Render

Abvent announced today the release of Artlantis 4.1, powered by the Maxwell Render engine from Next Limit Technologies.  This latest release combines the speed and ease-of-use Artlantis users have come to rely on with the power and physical accuracy of Maxwell Render.  As the fastest stand-alone 3D rendering application developed especially for architects and designers, Artlantis 4.1 takes architectural visualization to new heights.

ISO / Shutter Speed

Automatic lighting adjustment has been available since the launch of Artlantis 3.0.  With Artlantis 4.1, users can now choose to keep this setting or use a new feature called ISO/Shutter.  ISO refers to the sensitivity of camera film, while the Shutter Speed refers to the length of time the camera’s aperture stays open when taking a picture.  Artlantis 4.1 offers better color quality and more realistic results.

HDRi Background

The HDR image provides a spherical background as well as an overall illumination with shadows and full 360 degree reflections.  The 3D lit environment generated around the scenes ensures a robust background for all camera views combined with the entire range of real light intensity.  This also makes HDR images valuable for scenes that contain reflective surfaces.  With the special lighting channel included in HDR images, the illumination and shadow casting will result in amazingly realistic renderings.

Optional Maxwell Render Engine

Artlantis is the fastest 3D rendering application available today for architects and designers, while Maxwell Render is considered to be the most physically accurate rendering engine on the market.  Abvent and Next Limit Technologies have teamed up to offer Maxwell Render as an optional rendering engine within Artlantis 4.1.  Complete with specific shaders and postcards, Maxwell Render is incredibly easy to use.  Simply set up the scene in Artlantis as usual, and click on the Maxwell Render engine button to launch the calculation.  With Artlantis 4.1, users get the best of both worlds:  speed and physical accuracy.
Artlantis 4.1 is now available for purchase for €990 through Abvent’s network of international distributors and as a free upgrade for current Artlantis 4 users.  The optional Maxwell Render feature is available for €500.

About Abvent

Since 1985, the Abvent Group has offered innovative image and design solutions for CAD and BIM professionals in the fields of architecture and design.  Abvent’s cutting-edge approach to digital imagery has resulted in unique products and services that are innovative, powerful, and easy-to-use.

About Next Limit Technologies

Next Limit Technologies provides cutting edge simulation technologies for a broad range of applications in Computer Graphics, Science, and Engineering. Next Limit’s products include “RealFlow” (fluid and physical dynamics simulation for visual effects), “Maxwell Render” (physically correct, advanced lighting and render engine), and “XFlow” (Computational Fluid Dynamics for engineering applications).

Ancient inspiration: Luminaries by Hiroyuki Murase and Suzusan.

These beautiful luminaries use an ancient Japanese textile finishing technique called Shibori (translated as wring and twist) to give a three dimensional structure to fabric. Hiroyuki Murase, the designer of these luminaries and founder of Suzusan the company that produces them, comes from Arimatsu, a town between Kyoto and Tokyo. His family also has a long tradition working in Shibori.

He has taken the traditional techniques and applied new materials, such as polyester, and found new techniques, such as heat-treating, to permanently lock-in the three dimensional forms and structures. This experimentation has allowed him to create these enchanting textile shades, as well as many other products such as clothing.

Over the centuries, a variety of different Shibori techniques were developed which allowed each craftsman to create a artisan’s signature for his work. The fabrics were also dyed further enhancing the crafted nature, and individuality of the products. Hiroyuki Murase still works in this tradition using fine materials such as dyed silk and wool for his clothing line.

Neri Oxman: On Designing Form

Neri Oxman is an architect and founder of MATERIALECOLOGY with the MIT Media Lab. Her work focuses on computational strategies for form finding; she chooses to define and design processes that generate form. She has published numerous papers and has contributed to various texts. Her work has also been featured at the MOMA for the exhibit “Design and the Elastic Mind“, which she designed four systems of processes. In this lecture posted by PopTech, Oxman discusses what the processes of nature can teach designers and how computational strategies defined by materials and the environment can expand the possibilities of the generation of form through algorithms and analysis.

Here is an excerpt of some of her thoughts in the video:

“Emergence can be defined by a spontaneous order, a self-organization, that appears in nature and natural processes. It can be studied on multiple scales; in the cells of plants and animals and in the traffic patterns of developed cities. Oxman points to processes in nature that are defined by the rules of biological functions and from which form are generated. Without a notion of the end result, the processes are based on their functionality, for example, how structural and efficient the stem of a plant is at supporting its weight and creating energy.

Oxman’s work is inspired by the quest for the origin of form and form finders of the 1970s that were led by material and environmental properties. Form, in this case, is an optimization of the function of a material in its environment – “what it wants to be”. Technology can and often is the guide that informs the exploration and eventually evolves from it. Oxman takes these notions many steps further with her work in “computationally enabled form finding”. The equation that she presents so simple that takes the variables of material properties and environmental constraints to generate form.

The inquisitiveness of Buckminster Fuller‘s designs for efficient structures was guided by the optimization of materials in form – such as a the geodesic dome. But his explorations of the Dymaxion automobile and house inpired ideas that pushed beyond what the materials wanted to be and into what the environment wanted to be, what society wanted to be – ideas that we are now reviving in our quest for sustainable architectural solutions. In the meantime, technology is taking nature many steps forward, rushing beyond the limits of what nature can do and defining a different existence that humans enjoy, setting us apart from the lifestyles of our ancestors.

And the tragedy that we have come upon is that our technological ambitions are destroying the earth and the natural processes that it relies upon. Somewhere in between the runaway advancements and the devastating effects they cause to our ecosystems is something Oxman calls “nature 2.0?. This is a considerable idea, involved with embracing the natural organizations of materials as well as their natural functions – so not just form, but also very explicitly function. She praises nature for being so efficient at multi-tasking: analysis, modelling and fabrication in one process.

In this model of “nature 2.0? and technology, the designer is an experimenter of generating options for forms under a variety of circumstances. Technology offers the tools to analyze, map and build upon observations and designers can use these tools in a variety of ways, some of which Oxman touches upon in her lecture.
The talk can get a bit heavy at times, but bear with it… it is an interesting thought and we wonder what it brings for us… especially the part of 3D printing parts of buildings and the part which she says – no separate wall no separate roof.. and that design exists because of 

Video via YouTube user PopTech.

New Terminal at Lucknow Airport / S. Ghosh & Associates

Courtesy of S. Ghosh & Associates

Architects: S. Ghosh & Associates
Location: Lucknow, India
Team: Sudipto Ghosh and Sumit Ghosh (Principle Designers) as well as Mitesh Kapadia, Rashmi Vakharia, Naeem Rushnaiwala and Ketan Bhartia (Associate Designers)
Terminal Area: 20,000 sqm.
Site Area: 56,000 sqm.
Total Cost: Approx. US $ 23 million
Photographs: S. Ghosh & Associates


Courtesy of S. Ghosh & Associates

Unlike most buildings that bear the influence of the place where they take root, the Airport terminal of Lucknow, seems like it has an additional obligation to the sky. The intention of the architect was conceived with the primal image of plane in mind, the design explores the aesthetics of flight through the large wing like cantilevers spanning 26 meters.

The folds of the roof bring in glare free natural light to large double height areas of the terminal.The airports belong as much to the ether that keeps the air-crafts buoyant, as to the cities to which they become gateways. The notion of flight and man’s mythic fascination with it is reborn in every child as he folds his paper plane to launch it into the sky. The paper plane with its supple, folded wings – the symbol for that elemental flight that catches our fancy as children – becomes the starting point for the design of Lucknow Airport.

Courtesy of S. Ghosh & Associates

The terminal building’s elevation to the sky resembles the folded wings of the paper plane. Large wing-like cantilevers on either side of the 200m long terminal building suggest lightness and swiftness. The building itself appears as a dynamic object preparing to take flight. Inside, the gently curving ceiling gives the feeling of being under the belly of a giant aircraft.

Courtesy of S. Ghosh & Associates

The design of the building does not labor to represent the culture and heritage of the city, instead gets imprinted with the architects’ own experiences: nightmares about an aircraft crashing down through the roof, the exhilaration of flight, lightness, the indented front of the city as it wraps around the Gomti river, the ruins of the British Residency after the 1857 mutiny-ancient and unhomely, etc. Frosted etchings on the glass façade of the building bear the intricate patterns of chikankari work, Lucknow’s famous embroidery work.

Ground Floor – Courtesy of S. Ghosh & Associates

The terminal is designed as a one and a half floor integrated terminal with clear movement paths for international and domestic travelers. There are two security holds on the ground floor for connectivity by bus and two on the first floor for approach to the aircraft through passenger boarding bridges. Three passenger claim belts of 60m lengths have been provided for the arriving passengers. Modern facilities of international standards are important for the country’s new terminals. These not only bring revenue to the airport but also make flying a much more pleasurable experience. 

The terminal building is friendly towards the physically challenged, there are no mobility thresholds and all floors are accessible by lift.

The structure is formed by a set of variable span portals with fixed connections spanned across by variable space trusses that form the final form of the ‘wings’. The design of the section of the portal has been arrived at using a composite of rolled sections forming an overall dimension of 733mm by 375mm. The maximum span of the portals is roughly 43m. The maximum cantilever achieved by the space trusses is 24m.

Structural Consultants: Descon United Pvt. Ltd.
MEP Consultants: Spectral Services Consultants
Landscape Architects: Design Accord
Lighting Consultants: Lighting Design Works
Acoustic Consultants: Suri & Suri
Glazing Consultants: Dema Consulting

Project Description provided by S. Ghosh & Associates.


The IoA SPRING CHALLENGE event was an international design workshop intended for architecture students to explore integrated digital design and fabrication tools.

Architectural Design is taught at this university as an integrated, multidisciplinary process. Following this tradition, the design process was enriched with structural testing of parametric models in Karamba, a structural analysis plugin for Grasshopper. The handling of virtual simulation methods in the fields of parametric and digital production was the primary focus of the workshop. This week long intense workshop did result in a full scale built structure.

Format & Output

The Challenge Program was organized as a six day event with 22 international students and 6 tutors. Introduction to Rhino/Grasshopper/Karamba was followed by project design development and daily reviews of student group projects which entered into a competition mode. The selected project was fabricated and assembled as a group effort. The event closed with an exhibition and presentation with guests. The output was a parametrically designed and digitally produced human scale structure fabricated out of corrugated cardboard.

We’d Wish such workshops were organized here in India too.. 

Students: Shota Tsikoliya, Lenka Januskova, Clemens Conditt, Tu?gen Kukul, Maria Smigielska, Ceren Yönetim, Maciej Chmara, Oana Bogatan, Djordje Stanojevic, Rene Meszarits, Andreas Quast, Marco Pizzichemi, Zhenyu Yan, Ji?í Vítek, Johanna Jõekalda, Raouf M. Abdelnabi, Özlem Altun, Tadeas Klaban, Abraham Fung, Artur Staškevitš, Benjamin Ennenmoser, Roberto Naboni

Instructors: Andrei Gheorghe, Bence Pap, Trevor Pat, Irina Bogdan, Clemens Preisinger, Moritz Heimrath

Location: University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria

Status: Student Workshop

Year: Spring 2012

Kent Bridges: The Eureka Skyway

First, it has a silly name, the “Eureka Skyway”. Lets just call it the M20 Ashford Footbridge. It links two retail parks either side of the motorway, and also acts as a gateway to Ashford itself, an indication to motorway users that perhaps something of significance can be found here.

The £8m bridge was designed by Nicol Russell Studios with Jacobs, and built by BAM Nuttall. It was installed in May 2011 and opened in September 2011. There were rumours before it opened that it suffered from “wobble”…

Three immediate precedents come to mind when viewing the Ashford bridge: Lancaster’s Lune Millennium Bridge (2001), and Newport’s City Footbridge (2006) are two. Closer to Ashford, Maidstone’s Lockmeadow Footbridge (1999) has a similar form. All four bridges share a resemblance to a giant crane, with twin masts tied together with cables, and a deck supported from cable stays. There are some structural advantages to this arrangement, chiefly that the angle of the cables supporting the deck is steeper, and hence they provide a stiffer and more efficient support. A significant disadvantage is that maintenance is more difficult, as cables are required with no low-level termination, making it more difficult to adjust or replace them in the future.

When the preliminary visuals for this bridge came out some time ago on the architect’s website, I thought it looked quite nice, appealing in its height and slenderness. In real life, the sheer scale of the bridge is much more difficult to accept. The bridge deck is roughly 100m long, with a 67m clear span. The masts are 38m high. It’s nowhere near as big as the Newport bridge (70m tall, 145m main span), but it’s still a very large structure to span a motorway. The span length is driven by the presence of two motorway slip roads, and a watercourse, forcing the bridge to be much larger than is normally required on motorways.

The bridge looks attractive enough when viewed from the motorway, but as a pedestrian it is quite overpowering. The masts tower far above you, and their angle of inclination makes them loom in a way that I don’t recall experiencing with vertical masts.

What seems like a simple enough cable system when viewed in elevation becomes not only complex but positively confusing from most other perspectives. This is true of the forestays, but doubly so for the backstays. As well as tying the masts back to anchorage foundations, these also support a secondary deck, which curves below the main deck and provides part of a shallow gradient ramp access to the bridge’s north end. The end result is a web of cables with little apparent visual order.

In the main span, the confusion is partly caused by the presence of a set of tie-down cables, two on each side of the deck, which anchor the foremast to the foundations. These are an odd presence on an asymmetric cable-stayed bridge, where normally the anchor cables are only required at the “rear end” of the bridge. Here, I guess the main deck is insufficiently heavy to hold the main masts in place on its own, or they are needed because the masts are offset to the side of the deck, or they minimise movement and vibration in the masts. Compare the Swansea Sail Bridge as an example of a cable-stayed bridge with an offset mast which doesn’t need to be tied down in this way (and where the mast has been more artfully shaped).

Below deck, the oddest feature is a Y-shaped strut which holds the deck in place, presumably to restrain either vertical or lateral movement, or both. It has a sort of “tacked-on” feeling. My initial thought was that a corbel from the masts would have been better, but it’s not clear which mast you would add the corbel too, and what the effect on structural behaviour would have been. The view from below also highlights the somewhat rudimentary details where the cables are anchored to the deck.

The approach ramps at each end of the bridge are also very heavy, largely because of their height above the surrounding ground. There’s a stone-walled ramp at the south end, and an earth mound at the north end, into which stairs and a spiral ramp are cut. Growth of landscaping over time will help soften these, but they weigh the bridge down rather than allowing its slenderness to float free.

Overall, it’s a bridge which had the potential to be great, but which is let down by the awkward resolution of many of the details. Notwithstanding the funder’s desire for a gateway structure, I found the sheer scale to be oppressive. The bridge at Swanscombe spanned the motorway with delicacy and modesty – the one at Ashford has neither.

Grasshopper + Firefly – Bloque motor 1.0

A parametric experimentation at the university of Madrid on how constructing a Basic gear assembly, and then operating the same through a chipset connected to grasshopper and firefly.

Its an interesting innovation and I believe its going to get someplace. What’s incredible is that its built over a free platform!!!

Top Architecture Offices Facebook Fan Pages

Well this one took me sometime to compile, but its here nevertheless…

Facebook has been a source of networking and “liking” people and their works. Heck even dead bods like janis joplin and Amy Winehouse have fan pages.. 

Here’s a ranking of architectural offices and their fans on facebook. What do you think are the factors for this popularity?

Do you think maybe it’s people that respect and admire these architects, and it’s reflected on their fan pages? Or is it that they have a hell amount of people working in their offices? Or perhaps that the areas they live in are quite net savvy.? I just can’t make head-no-tail of it. Since Jørn Utzon has just 230 likes while Schlaich has about 50… including me… 🙁

Amazing thing is that brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is on the top of the list. Do you think that at 103 years he knows he is the world leader in architects facebook fans?

Complete ranking, links and their fans:

  1. ALT arquitectura + obra / 508k ()
  2. Oscar Niemeyer / 361k ()
  3. Zaha Hadid / 291k ()
  4. Renzo Piano / 193k ()
  5. Santiago Calatrava / 192k ()
  6. Tadao Ando / 73k ()
  7. A-cero (Joaquín Torres) / 67k ()
  8. Peter Zumthor / 57k ()
  9. Herzog & de Meuron / 50k ()
  10. Jean Nouvel / 43k ()
  11. OMA – Rem Koolhaas / 39k ()
  12. Bunker Arquitectura / 29k ()
  13. SANAA – Sejima Nishizawa / 27k ()
  14. Toyo Ito / 21k ()
  15. BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group / 18k ()
  16. Peter Eisenman / 13k ()
  17. Richard Rogers / 13k ()
  18. Daniel Libeskind / 11k ()
  19. Alvaro Siza / 9k ()
  20. Norman Foster / 8k ()

The New BAUHAUS MUSEUM at Weimar

The construction of the New Bauhaus Museum is a project by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. The planned museum will be built near the Weimarhallenpark and will present the Weimar collections of the State Bauhaus, which was founded in Weimar in 1919. The museum is scheduled to open in 2015.

The Gropius Collection, owned by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, is the world’s oldest collection of original Bauhaus works. The collection was significantly expanded with the acquisition of the Ludewig Collection in 2010, which contained 1,500 objects of functional design dating from 1780 to the present, including important Bauhaus works. Aside from the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, the Bauhaus collection in Weimar is unarguably one of the world’s most important in terms of size and quality.


A total of €169,000.00 has been set aside for prizes, allotted as follows (all prizes incl. value-added tax; net
sums in parenthesis):
1st prize €55,000.00 (€46,218.49)
2nd prize €45,000.00 (€37,815.13)
3rd prize €32,500.00 (€27,310.92)
4th prize €20,000.00 (€16,806.72)
5th prize €10,000.00 (€8,403.36)
For commendations: a total of €6,500.00 (€5,462.18)


The funding body provided the following budget for the construction of Weimar’s new Bauhaus museum: 

cost of construction alone = sum for building (cost groups 300 + 400): €14.500,00 gross.

Design Challenge: 
Weimar owns a unique collection on the background, history and after-effects of “Staatliches Bauhaus“, which was founded there in 1919. In 1995 a temporary Bauhaus museum was set up. Thanks to a special funding programme run by the German government and the state of Thuringia, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar foundation was able to set up a new Bauhaus museum in Weimar. This project is part of the ‘Kosmos Weimar‘ master plan, which covers all the foundation’s facilities, giving Weimar the opportunity to set a succinct example in terms of architecture and urban development.

The purpose of the competition was to find the best solution both for the new Bauhaus museum itself and for the location’s urban development potential. The competition was to be split in two parts – he first stage of the competition was the development of a fundamental design concept, selecting a suitable location and tackling the open spaces surrounding it in the context of urban planning. Furthermore, the urban design concept in Stage 1 is to plan for a possible future museum extension and a kindergarten.

In the second stage of the competition the focus is on working in greater detail on the architectural and interior concept of the new museum building. The solution to the task is expected to fit in with urban planning, be architecturally innovative and sustainable, save energy and stand up to museological requirements.

On 16. March 2012 the international jury awarded two second-place and two third-place prizes and conferred three honourable mentions

The design proposal for the New Bauhaus Museum by Pedro Monteiro, Rodrigo Cruz, and Sérgio Silva establishes a volumetric relation with the Gauforum in regard to its location. The first thing you see is a tower of light. It leads the way. As you walk along the narrow line of Oskar Schlemmer’s logo, you are entering Bauhaus. As it gains depth, the two-dimensional design of the logo becomes a geometrical stone sculpture. Its occupation defines its architecture.

A first building, made of glass and steel, marks the beginning of the access route to the museum while a stone pathway leads to the museum entrance and the ground floor. This is where the social areas – foyer and café – are located The exhibition areas and the cinema are located in the underground floor, as well as a viewable depot for items from the Weimar Bauhaus collection. The depot’s location allows it to be a part of the exhibition, as well as to be used independently.

The exhibition areas are organized around a courtyard that may be used as an outside exhibition area, or as a venue for other events (Bauhaus Theatre, larger conferences, etc.). The floors above include the spaces where the access is more exclusive: the pedagogical areas on the first floor and the offices on the second floor.

The location of the exhibition areas under the ground is a consequence of the necessity to control their environment as much as possible. Since the terrain remains stable, those areas benefit from geothermal mass to reduce the need for insulation and mechanical control of the temperature. The courtyard organization, as a cloister, guarantees the natural circulation of air in those areas. The ventilated facade in stone assures that the rest of the building, where the environment conditions are not as demanding, is properly insulated and ventilated, reducing energy other expenditures.

The announcement of the winners officially concluded the architectural design competition. The two second-place prizes went to Johann Bierkandt (Landau) and the Architekten HKR (Klaus Krauss and Rolf Kursawe, Cologne). 

The two third-place prizes went to Prof. Heike Hanada with Prof. Benedict Tonon (Berlin) and Bube/Daniela Bergmann (Rotterdam)

Three honourable mentions were awarded to the proposals by Karl Hufnagel Architekten (Berlin), hks Hestermann Rommel Architekten und Gesamtplaner GmbH (Erfurt), and menomenopiu architectures/Alessandro Balducci (Rome).

The Klassik Stiftung Weimar will now begin negotiating with the four prize winners according to VOF procedure (Contracting Regulations for the Awarding of Professional Services). The jury provided the winners with recommendations for optimising their proposals in preparation for the VOF procedure.

All proposals of the second round of the competition are displayed at the Neues Museum in Weimar.

Expo 2012 Yeosu Pavilion : So what if we didn’t win the competition…

Thematic Pavilion EXPO 2012 Yeosu
Design: soma architecture, Vienna – Salzburg
One Ocean, Thematic Pavilion EXPO 2012 Yeosu, South Korea
The Thematic Pavilion for the EXPO 2012 planned by the Austrian architecture office soma will be opened in Yeosu on 12th of May. soma’s design proposal One Ocean was selected as the first prize winner in an open international competition in 2009 – one which Katayun and I had participated in. We did come reasonably close for our means, and surprisingly ahead than some architectural firms. 

The main design intent was to embody the Expo’s theme The Living Ocean and Coast and transform it into a multi-layered architectural experience. Therefore the Expo’s agenda, namely the responsible use of natural resources was not only visually represented, but actually embedded into the building, e.g. through the sustainable climate design or the biomimetic approach of the kinetic façade. The cutting-edge façade system was developed together with Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering and supports the aim of the world exhibition to introduce forward-looking innovations to the public. Below is a video of the architects rendering that was submitted for the competition. Pretty much cutting edge for 2009.

The pavilion inhabits the thematic exhibition that gives visitors an introduction to the EXPO’s agenda. The permanent building is constructed in a former industrial harbor along a new promenade.

Below are some other design explorations by other companies which were runnersup to the competition…

This one’s by Shigeru Ban

Design Concept

Continuous surfaces twist from vertical to horizontal orientation and define all significant interior spaces. The vertical cones invite the visitor to immerse into the Thematic Exhibition. They evolve into horizontal levels that cover the foyer and become a flexible stage for the Best Practice Area.

Continuous transitions between contrasting experiences also form the outer appearance of the Pavilion. Towards the sea the conglomeration of solid concrete cones define a new meandering coastline, a soft edge that is in constant negotiation between water and land. Opposite side the pavilion develops out of the ground into an artificial landscape with plateaus and scenic paths. The topographic lines of the roof turn into lamellas of the kinetic media façade that faces the Expo’s entrance and draws attention to the pavilion after sunset.

Biomimetic kinetic facade

As a counterpart to the virtual multimedia shows of the thematic exhibition taking place in its interior spaces, the kinetic façade like the overall building emphasizes the manifold potentials of analogue architectural effects. Although movement is intrinsic to any media facade, architecture is usually considered as the stable, immobile background for it. By involving real movement the kinetic facade aims to unify those usually isolated layers of architecture and media and define it as an interrelated and inseparable three-dimensional experience. The elegant opening movement of the lamella is based on elastic deformation properties of fiber reinforced plastics and was deduced from biological moving mechanisms.

The facade covers a total length of about 140 m, and is between 3 m and 13 m high. It consists of 108 kinetic lamellas, which are supported at the top and the bottom edge of the façade. The lamellas are made of glass fiber reinforced polymers (GFRP), which combine high tensile strength with low bending stiffness, allowing for large reversible elastic deformations. The lamellas are moved by actuators on both the upper and lower edge of the GFRP blade, which induce compression forces to create the complex elastic deformation. They reduce the distance between the two bearings and in this way induce a bending which results in a side rotation of the lamella. The actuator of the lamellas is a screw spindle driven by a servomotor. A computer controlled bus-system allows the synchronization of the actuators. Each lamella can be addressed individually within a specific logic of movement to show different choreographies and operation modes. Upper and lower motors often work with opposite power requirements (driving – braking). Therefore generated energy can be fed back into the local system to save energy.

Beside their function to control light conditions in the foyer and the Best Practice Area the moving lamellas create animated patterns on the façade. The choreography spans from subtle local movements to waves running over the whole length of the building.
After sunset the analogue visual effect of the moving lamellas is intensified by linear LED bars, which are located at the inner side of the front edge of the lamella. In opened position the LED can light the neighboring lamella depending on the opening angle. The material performance of the biomimetic lamellas produces an interrelated effect of geometry, movement and light: The longer the single lamella – the wider the angle of opening – the bigger the area affected by light.
The seamlessly moving façade that is continuously integrated into the building’s skin was already proposed in the competition and developed together with Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering during the planning phases. To achieve the architectural intention a mechanical solution that applies hinges and joints seemed inappropriate, therefore a biomimetic approach was chosen. The technical solution was furthermore inspired by a research project at the ITKE University Stuttgart that investigates how biological moving mechanisms can be applied in an architectural scale. As a moving, emotional experience the kinetic façade combines sensations with the sensational, while communicating the Expo’s theme in an innovative and investigative way.

A Giant ball of Gas in Washington DC.. hey what’s new??

Even though the proposed bubble at the Hirshhorn Museum hasn’t yet inflated yet (latest plans for inflation are October 2012) it has won a progressive architecture award from the Architect, the magazine of the American Institute of Architects. The controversial bubble, designed by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, earned praise from the magazine for its playful and vibrant nature.

Says the magazine:

“Both installation and building, the air-filled structure challenges long-standing perceptions of what a museum means as a public space, how it encourages pluralistic audiences, and what it is able to exhibit. Its presence underscores a paradigm shift at the Hirshhorn: The museum is growing in importance as a place for dialogue and education extending beyond the traditional art world.”

In case you missed the plans of the bubble, it will be an inflatable membrane, squeezing into the museum courtyard and transforming it into an auditorium, cafe, and meeting place. Plans are to erect the bubble for one month in the spring and fall.

The magazine also displays some new renderings of the bubble, showing more details of the structure (if you can call it that).

Liz Diller, founding principle of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, shared the story of creating the pneumatic addition to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Commonly known as the “Bubble”, the inflatable event space is planned for the cylindrical courtyard of the National Mall’s modernist museum that was originally designed by Gordon Bunshaft in 1974. The first inflation of the “Bubble” is expected to take place at the end of 2013.

Below is a TED talk by Diller about the balloon, height, perceptions etc etc.. would be fun to see how they stabilize the balloon in winds… 

The thin translucent membrane will fill the center of the Gordon Bunshaft building. Its sky blue tone will be darkest at the top and it will become more and more transparent toward the bottom floors so visitors can enjoy the sensation of looking up and practically being outside. Cable rigs compressing various areas of the bubble as it climbs up and over the museum ceiling give it a unique doughy look in stark contrast to the hard angular building.

The main floor of the Hirshhorn’s Bunshaft building includes 14,000 square feet of outdoor and courtyard space. The bubble will be erected during chillier seasons, allowing visitors to enjoy the open spaces year round with fun cushy seats scattered throughout, mimicking the softness of the walls. A giant water tube around the bottom of the bubble weighs the massive inflatable structure down and also acts as a bouncy bench.

The temporary inflatable space will also feature a make-shift auditorium that will seat up to 1,000 people for art films, events, lectures, and even site-specific installations. The Hirshhorn Bubble project has been in the works for almost two years and is expected to take form in the winter of 2012.

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Fig. 1.1 A superimposition of the previous pavilions.
As announced back in February, Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and their Chinese collaborator Ai Weiwei will be  designing this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion at Hyde Park in London, a special edition that will be part of the  London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. This will be the trio’s first collaborative built structure in the UK. If you do not know who weiwei is – you definitely know the “bird’s nest” which was designed for the last Olympics… They are the same guys…

For those who don’t know what the whole brouhaha is about… Have a look at the info-graphic which covers all previous pavilions done by world famous architects.
Back when, it was announced, they had said that their design will explore the  hidden history of the previous installations, with eleven columns under the lawn of the Serpentine, representing the past pavilions and a twelfth column supporting a floating platform roof 1.4 metres above ground, which looks like a reflecting water-like surface in the renderings. The plan of the pavilion is based on a mix of the 11 previous pavilions’ layouts, pavilions that are represented as excavated foundations from which a new cork cladded landscape appears, as an archeological operation.

This year’s Pavilion will take visitors beneath the Serpentine’s lawn to explore the hidden history of its previous Pavilions. Eleven columns characterising each past Pavilion and a twelfth column representing the current structure will support a floating platform roof 1.4 metres above ground. The Pavilion’s interior will be clad in cork, a sustainable building material chosen for its unique qualities and to echo the excavated earth (i guess the “echo” would not be heard if they use cork, and its a clever use at a metaphor. Taking an archaeological approach, the architects have created a design that will inspire visitors to look beneath the surface of the park as well as back in time across the ghosts of the earlier structures. (maybe they wanted to say – we couldn’t really do better, so might as well mish-mash old designs put one extra column – and say – hell we DID do something!!!)

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “It is a great honour to be working with Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, the design team behind Beijing’s superb Bird’s Nest Stadium. In this exciting year for London we are proud to be creating a connection between the Beijing 2008 and the London 2012 Games. We are enormously grateful for the help of everyone involved, especially Usha and Lakshmi N. Mittal, whose incredible support has made this project possible.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will operate as a public space and as a venue for Park Nights, the Gallery’s high-profile programme of public talks and events. Connecting to the archaeological focus of the Pavilion design, Park Nights will culminate in October with the Serpentine Gallery Memory Marathon, the latest edition of the annual Serpentine Marathon series conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist, now in its seventh year. The Marathon series began in 2006 with the 24-hour Serpentine Gallery Interview Marathon; followed by the Experiment Marathon in 2007; the Manifesto Marathon in 2008; the Poetry Marathon in 2009, the Map Marathon in 2010 and the Garden Marathon in 2011.

The 2012 Pavilion has been purchased by Usha and Lakshmi N. Mittal and will enter their private collection after it closes to the public in October 2012.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei will take place from 1 June to 14 October 2012. Those lucky to be in the neighborhood – do visit – the rest – rely on low res internet downloaded images…