Material Behaviour

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

-Reflection Paper-

Materials, structural systems form the space, using the current methods to restrict the potential of material. While conditions change and our capabilities improve with various techniques, designing in a similar way according to standardised norms and techniques limits the potential of material and capabilities, our space and outer space. Conceiving design process as geometric form and subsequent engineering detail causes remaining material in the background of design. In this way, design and components work independently and it restricts the potential of physical formation. Since the architectural process is divided into form material and structure, components which generate the whole system work non-synchronously.

In the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010, searching capabilities of material in depth as both material and structure makes the system synchronized. Analysing the overall materials’ performative capacity gives another perspective about utilising it in different ways. In the project, fibre properties of material gives opportunity to use it according to its elastic bending capabilities. Wood as a natural fibre composite has high load bearing capacity and lightweight and complex structure can be formed with it thanks to low stiffness. Analysis of elastic range of material which is mentioned as ‘elastica curve’ and one of the simple properties of material shows how it can become sufficient both structural and formative. In this way, form generating process and engineering process are thought as independent parts of the project. ICD/ITKE shows the uncovered aspects of bending structure with engineering simulation and robotic fabrication. Author states finite element methods (FEMs) which make material behaviour as main constructional methods by simulations and employing six axis industrial robots. It enables to create intricate architectural morphology possible with planar plywood and establishes the whole system with mono-material.

In my opinion, the project demonstrated how simple properties of material play a part in designing methods by using computation and simulation methods. Moreover; form finding process and multicipity of parameters ensure intricate form entirely based on bending structure in the project. Material behaviour became a main tool to design without any scaffolding and other complementary material.


Fleischman, M., Knippers, J., Lienhard, J., Menhes, A., Schleicher, S., (2010), Material Behaviour

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