KSA MArch Students Participate in Figural Structures Workshop


Master of Architecture students at the Knowlton School of Architecture participated in a one week Figural Structures Workshop using the advanced structural analysis software karamba3d. Developed by Bollinger-Grohmann Engineers GmbH, karamba3d is a finite element analysis program tailored to the needs of architects. Over the course of the workshop, which ran from January 10-16, approximately one-half of the KSA’s second and third year MARCH class learned to use parametric geometric modeling, finite element calculations and optimization algorithms to create intricate structural scenarios for figural building massings inspired by those developed for the KSA's recent exhibition at the 2012 Venice Biennale. The Workshop was directed by the Viennese structural engineer Clemens Preisinger, lead developer of karamba3d at Bollinger-Grohmann Vienna, and Justin Diles, the 2012-13 LeFevre Fellow at the KSA. It is currently being highlighted on the karamba3 website.

Prototypes resulting from the workshop were reviewed by KSA professors Jeff Kipnis and José Oubrerie and renowned structural engineer Klaus Bollinger prior to his Baumer lecture on Wednesday, January 16th. Bollinger is director of the structural engineering firm Bollinger-Grohmann. B+G has offices in Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Paris, Oslo and Melbourne and has worked on major projects by renowned architects such as Coop Himmelb(l)au, Zaha Hadid, Sanaa and UN Studio.

Students worked in teams; four teams of six to eight students each.  Each team was responsible for designing, analyzing and then building a large spatial structure.  The structures were built from 150 sheets of flat 4'x8' cardboard, with each sheet individually cut using the KSA Fab Lab's robotic knife cutter into patterns that created large, structurally stable cells. The cells were fastened together to make large free-standing structures that appear to be teetering and toppling but are in fact very stable.

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