Geometry-Induced System of Controlled Deformations. Application in Self-organized Wooden Gridshell Structures

  • Efilena BasetaEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 24)


This chapter presents a novel construction system which offers an efficient materialization method for double-curved surfaces. This results in an active-bending system of controlled deformations. The latter system embeds its construction manual into the geometry of its components, thus it can be used as a self-formation process. The two presented gridshell prototypes are composed of geometry-induced, variable stiffness elements. The latter elements are able to form programmed shapes passively when gravitational loads are applied. Each element consists of multiple layers and a slip zone among them. The slip allows the element to be flexible when flat and increasingly stiffer when its curvature increases. The presented system eliminates the need for electromechanical equipment since it relies on material properties and geometrical configurations. Wood, as a flexible and strong material, has been used for the prototypes. The fabrication of the timber laths has been done via CNC industrial milling processes. The scalability of the system shows potential for applications in large-scale transformable structures. The comparison between the predefined digital design and the resulting geometry of the physical prototypes is reviewed here. The aim is to inform the design and fabrication process with the extracted performance data and thus, optimize the system’s behaviour.


Variable-stiffness Active bending Self-organization processes Flexible wood Wood joint systems 



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 642877.

The fabrication and installation of the cantilevered prototype would not have been possible without the support from the Blumer Lehmann AG (Gossau, Switzerland) team and its leaders Kai Strehlke and Martin Antemann.

The design, fabrication and installation of the suspended prototype was part of the course ‘Digital Design and Full Scale Fabrication 17’ in the University of Applied Arts Vienna-Institute of Architecture led by Andrei Gheorge. Philipp Hornung representing the Angewandte Robotic Lab and the Wood technology laboratory led the robotic fabrication. Students of the course: Adrian Herk, Afshin Koupaei, Aleksandra Belitskaja, Alex Ahmad, Alexandra Moisi, Andrej Strieženec, Anna Tuzova, Ben James, Charlotte Krause, David Rüßkamp, Jan Kováříček, Jelinek Johanna, Jonghoon Kim, Julian Heinen, Kaspar Ehrhardt, Leonie Eitzenberger, Ludmila Janigova, Madeleine Malle, Michael Tingen, Minho Hong, Polina Korochkova, Rudolf Neumerkel, Sadi Özdemir, Shaun McCallum, Toms Kampars, Zarina Belousova.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Architecture, University of Applied Arts ViennaViennaAustria

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