Interactive Form-finding with Compas-FoFin


The topic of this workshop is the structural design of tensile structures with compas-FoFin, a novel Plugin for Rhinoceros developed by the BRG based on the open-source COMPAS framework. The workshop comprises the basic workflow for form finding of cable nets based on the force density method, the basic modification of anchors and advanced anchor constraints, and the interactive exploration of force densities of the edges and advanced edge constraints. Furthermore, the workshop also introduces a form finding method for bending-active splines in tensile hybrid structures based on dynamic relaxation. Lastly, the workshop covers the application of various load conditions and the materialisation and analysis of the form-found structure using COMPAS through Python coding.

This workshop targets an audience of architects, engineers and designers with interest in form finding and conceptual design of structures. Prerequisites are basic modelling skills in Rhino3D. Previous knowledge in structural systems is prefered.

The detrimental impact of the construction sector on the environment demands a fundamental rethinking of how buildings are designed and constructed. To progress towards a more environmentally responsible design paradigm, computational design tools need to be more structurally-informed to enable the discovery of new solutions that are both material-efficient and elegant. The presented design thinking and the methods enabled by the new Plugin demonstrate the potential impact of structurally-informed design and materialisation methods that can benefit both the built and natural environment.

The workshop will be organised in five parts. An introductory lecture will introduce the relevance, history, computational framework, and theoretical background and methods. Tutorials will introduce the tool functionalities, followed by guided, hands-on and interactive work sessions to explore the design steps with the tool and its design features. The participants will then apply the learnings in a design project in groups with close supervision. Finally, the discussion session will give the participants an opportunity to present their work and reflect on the collective result of the workshop.

Technical requirements for participants:
Laptop with Rhinoceros3D application and Python.

Workshop Leaders

Lotte Scheder-Bieschin

Lotte (former Aldinger) is a PhD Researcher at the Block Research Group with a background in structural engineering and integrative technologies for architecture. Her research focuses on computational form finding, structural design and fabrication strategies for form-active structures, driven by the motivation towards more sustainable construction practices.

Juney Lee

Juney is an architect and senior researcher at the Block Research Group of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. His research interests include graphic statics, computational structural design, and sustainable materials and construction. He has experience organising workshops for Digital Futures, Live Academy, The Institution of Structural Engineers, AAG, Acadia, and others.

Tom Van Mele

Tom is Senior Scientist and co-director at the Block Research Group, where he leads the computational and technical developments. Tom is the lead developer of COMPAS, the open-source computational framework for collaboration and research in architecture, structures and digital fabrication.