3

Structural prototypes

 

3.1

Form finding

During the twentieth century, architects and engineers both developed ways of designing complex structural forms by experimenting with physical models and through borrowing from structures found in nature. Finding and creating new structural forms was accomplished by extracting geometric information from physical models, in particular three-dimensional compressive surfaces—shells—or three-dimensional tensile surfaces—membranes. With the advent of computer-aided design along with an increased knowledge of the behavior of materials, a variety of approaches to form finding can now be pursued using computer programs to calculate optimum structural solutions for given geometric parameters.

Suspension ...

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