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Workshop 5: Complex membranes and the variegated material

Workshop: How to Brace
Autumn Semester 2011: August 22 – 24. 2011
The workshop investigates the intersections between textiles design and architecture. Textiles design is a form of material design. Forming the textile structure and composing different yarns enables the fabrication of highly specialised materials designed in respect to the performance and use. Developing our own bespoke complex structured and materially variegated textiles the workshop asks how the tradition of working with textile membranes can be considered in respect to architecturally designed engineered materials.
The workshop guest is Sean Ahlquist.

Research question
Digital tools allow us a new scale of material address in order to detail and specify materials at a new degree of precision and scale. Architecture is currently engaged in a radical rethinking of its material practice. The evolution of digital media has prompted new techniques of fabrication but also new understandings in the organisation of material through its properties and potential for assemblage. Advancements in material science and more complex models of material simulation as well as the interfaces between design and fabrication are fundamentally changing the way we conceive and design architecture. This new technological platform allows for unprecedented creative control over materials design and production. Creating direct links between the space of design and the space of fabrication, the idea of the hyper specified material developed in direct response to defined design criteria calls upon a new material practice in which designers of artefacts are also designers of materials. In this practice materials are seen as bespoke composites, differentiated and graded, and whose particular detailing is a central part of a projects overall solution.

From the very small to the very large, the imagination of performative materials that are engineered in response to highly defined design criteria are challenging the traditional boundaries of design and representation. Performative materials can be structurally differentiated in response to variegated load or materially graded responding to change in programme or property. Whether hyper specified and designed, what they have in common is that they are developed in response to particular criteria by which the strength, structure, elasticity and/or density of a material can be devised. Not only is this a condition of design purpose – to what performance is embedded within the material make-up and form – but also of design process – how can such integrated behaviour be computed where variables across hierarchies in material, assembly, and performance are interrelated and inextricable. This poses a profound shift in design process, one which is truly computational in nature rather than computerized, where simulation, not representation, and specification, not abstraction, are generative tools. Process forms the intimate relation between specificity in simulation, principle behaviours in material, and the potentials in performance of operation. The research undertaken in this workshop addresses the development of prototypical tools and material performances which may lay the groundwork for future generative and explorative processes.

Workshop: How to Brace
Dates: 22-23 August
Venue: Kolding designschool, Ågade 10, Kolding 3rd floor
In this workshop we will examine the guiding research questions for understanding a new generation of digitally designed materials. We will explore computational design tools as a means of designing structural membranes and their optimisation developing bespoke patterns. In a second step these patterns will then inform the design of variegated materials. We will work with CNC knitting as a means of developing our own membrane materials allowing a new feedback loop between the global (the scale of the membrane) and local (the scale of the material) behaviour of the surface. The feedback loop will critically inform the step of translation between the relative form and force description described computationally to the  variegated knitting patterns, assembly of multiple knitted elements, and ultimately the application of force across the whole continuous system.

Schedule and detailed program: to be posted
Rhino template files for the workshop: to be posted
Indesign template for participants portfolios:
Venue: The workshop takes place at Designskolen Kolding, Ågade 10, Kolding Google maps link here

Kolding Design school is a short walk from Kolding Main Train Station (Kolding Station). Kolding is a 2.5 hour train ride from Copenhagen. You can use : to find the right directions from your departure place.

2 comments to Workshop 5: Complex membranes and the variegated material

  • andrea macruz


    I want to know how much is this workshop, where is going to happen and how could I reserve a place (as I am from Brazil). Thank you in advance,


  • antony

    can i ask some questions? for my fabrication doubts.

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