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On Thursday and Friday, November 15-16th, Summum Engineering gave a workshop on the topic of membrane structures and their form finding to the students of the Master of Integrated Architectural Design at the Detmold School of Architecture and Interior Architecture, at the Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Campus Detmold, in Detmold, Germany. The workshop was given at the kind invitation of participant Tomas Mena and the director of MID Computational Design, Prof. Hans Sachs.

The workshop consisted of some presentations on tensioned membrane roofs, their structural principles, detailing and construction, and particularly their design by means of form finding. The students explored physical means of form finding, soap films and nylon fabric models, as well as digital means, using Kangaroo2 or RhinoMembrane, both plug-ins for Grasshopper3d. Many thanks go out to the students for organizing all the materials in advance, and Gerry D’Anza of ixRay Ltd for providing temporary extended RhinoMembrane licenses for all the participants!

The results were amazing, given the workshop lasted only a day and a half, and involved me talking far too much. All students ended up with a physical model and corresponding parametric form finding model, mediating between both methods to arrive at their final concept. The workshop ended with 3-minute presentations of each conceptual design, with each student keeping to this very strict time limit to convey their design intent. Thank you again for all your hard work; I think we all learned a lot and had a lot of fun while doing so!



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