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Working Group 15: Structural Morphology (SMG)


Innovation of building structures through research on form, material and fabrication.


Since its founding in 1991, the "Structural Morphology Group" (SMG) has focused on the relationship between geometry and structures.  Over the years, the working group has published 15 SMG Newsletters, organized 7 international seminars, and held numerous special sessions at the annual IASS symposia, culminating in the publication of “An Anthology of Structural Morphology” in 2009.  A sub-working group on Free Form Design was established in 2005 and organized 2 international seminars.  In 2009 after the 6th international seminar of the SMG “Morphogensis,” the sub-working group was merged to form an integral part of the working group.

The working group supports the formation of ad hoc study groups that focus on specific topics around its research interest and stimulates researchers from inside and outside the SMG to participate in these study groups.  The study groups provide a platform for researchers, engineers and designers to communicate and share knowledge in the various research fields linked to structural morphology.  Members of the SMG and IASS are encouraged to contribute to the study groups by performing research, publishing articles related to the research fields, informing other members of interesting activities worldwide, discussing new niches in research and other activities aimed at knowledge sharing and dissemination.

Research Foci

  • Geometry: describing and controlling (complex) geometry, including parametric design
  • Form-Force relationship: the study of the interdependency of structural geometry and mechanical or kinetic behaviour
  • Form-Mobility relationship: the study of the interdependency of structural geometry and transformability
  • Computation: design, calculation, performance, form finding, optimisation, morphogenesis, parametric design, etc.
  • Technology transfer: cross over with other disciplines, e.g., mathematics, biology, etc.
  • Prototyping: physical and virtual model making and fabrication

Current Objectives

  • Organize special sessions at IASS Symposia and Colloquia related to Structural Morphology
  • Organize every three years an international seminar to present and discuss the results of the SMG study groups
  • Publish state-of-the-art reports on the research done by the SMG study groups
  • Contribute to the organization and editing of Special Issues of the Journal of the IASS related to Structural Morphology and the SMG study groups

Current Study Groups

Transformable Structures: The research objective of the study group Transformable Structures is to bring together expertise and expand knowledge related to the geometric design and structural analysis of transformable structures within the field of architectural and structural engineering. The transformation of such structures, aimed at adapting to changing circumstances, is either done by mechanisms (deployable/foldable) or through the use of reconfigurable components (dismountable/meccano-like).

Adaptive Formworks: The research objective of study group Adaptive Formworks is to research, test and promote adaptive formwork for the production of buildings and building elements with a complex geometry. The group is supported by the International Society of Fabric Forming ISOFF and has members in more than ten countries.

Computation and Geometry: The study group Computation and Geometry aims at supporting research in computational geometry in structural engineering by bringing expert researchers and practitioners together in order to increase and share knowledge in this field. Research themes are related to digital design and the description of structural geometry based on computational methods and techniques. Also, the use of computational methods and tools in the creation of structural geometry will be explored.

Origami: The research objective of the study group Origami is to bring new ideas, based on origami research, to the field of structural design and fabrication technologies. The goal of the study group goes well beyond the application of origami patterns in design. The aim is to innovate structures and fabrication technologies through the fundamental understanding of the dynamic and geometric characteristics of origami.

Curved Surface Structures: The research objective of the study group Curved Surface Structures is to determine and explore the fundamental relationship between geometric and mechanical properties of shell and membrane structures. Unlocking this secret will give an understanding of the behaviour of shell and membrane structures and thus the means to design and construct shells and membranes with efficiency of performance and elegance of form.

Active Bending: The primary goal of the 'Active Bending' study group is to support a focused exchange for engineering researchers and practitioners that share exploiting elastic bending as a means to generate curved geometries from initially straight or planar building elements.

Recent Activities (2015-2016)

  • Co-organized the Digital Technology and BIM track at the IASS Symposium 2015 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Organized a number of special session(s) at the IASS Symposium 2015 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Organized a number of special session(s) at the IASS Symposium 2016 in Tokyo, Japan; amongst others, one with a special emphasis on Origami

Current Membership

All current members of the Working Group, listed below, are members of the IASS. The Working Group and its study groups welcomes new members who are interested in Structural Morphology; those interested should please contact one of the Co-Chairs of the Working Group.

Prof. dr. ir. arch. Niels DE TEMMERMAN (Chair) - Belgium

Prof. Karim ABEDI - Iran
Assist.Prof. Henrik ALMEGAARD - Denmark
Prof. Oscar ANDRES - Argentina
Dr.-Eng. Anne BAGGER - Denmark
Mr. Richard BAKER - United Kingdom
Arch. Eng. Michael Valentin BALZ - Germany
Dr.-Eng. Olivier BAVEREL - France
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kai-Uwe BLETZINGER - Germany
Prof. Dr. Philippe BLOCK - Switzerland
Dr.Eng. Waldemar BOBER - Poland
Prof. Andrew BORGART - The Netherlands
Prof. Arch. M. BURT - Israel
Eng. Victor CHARPENTIER - United States
Prof. John CHILTON - United Kingdom
Mr. Jeroen COENDERS - The Netherlands
Prof. emeritus Per DOMBERNOWSKY - Denmark
Dr.-Eng. Cyril DOUTHE - France
Mr. Pim DUMANS - The Netherlands
Mrs. Niloufar EMAMI - United States
Dr. Andreas FALK - Sweden
Prof. Dr. Corentin FIVET - Switzerland
Dr. Joseph GATTAS - Australia
Prof. Dr. Christoph GENGNAGEL - Germany
Prof. Manfred GROHMANN - Germany
Dr. Ariel HANAOR - Israel
Eng. Jürgen HENNICKE - Germany
Dr. Pieter HUYBERS - Netherlands
Eng. Anastasia IOANNIDI - Greece
Dr. Eyal KARNI - Israel
Prof. Dr. Ken'ichi KAWAGUCHI - Japan
Prof. Dr. Harald KLOFT - Germany
Mr. Tuba KOCATURK - United Kingdom
Prof. Dr. Sudarshan KRISHNAN - United States
Dr. Wanda LEWIS - United Kingdom
Prof. Katherine A. LIAPI - Greece
Prof. Yao-Zhi LUO - China
Prof. Dr. Ivan MARKOV - United States
Prof. Dr. Bernard MAURIN - France
Mr. Romain MESNIL - France
Dr. Koryo MIURA - Japan
Prof. Rene MOTRO - France
Ms. Caitlin MUELLER - United States
Prof. Jorgen NIELSEN - Denmark
Prof. Dr.Eng Jan OBREBSKI - Poland
Dr.Eng.Arq. Juan Gerardo OLIVA SALINAS - Mexico
Dipl. Ing. Robin OVAL - France
Prof. Dr. Rivka OXMAN - Israel
Prof. Dr. Wolf PEARLMAN - Israel
Prof. Dr.Eng Sergio PELLEGRINO - United States
Dr. Arch. Olga POPOVIC LARSEN - Denmark
Mr. Arno PRONK - Netherlands
Miss Anke ROLVINK - Netherlands
Prof.Dr.Eng. Masao SAITOH - Japan
Arch. S. SAITOH - Japan
Eng.Arch. Philippe SAMYN - Belgium
Prof. Dr. Joerg SCHLAICH - Germany
Prof. Mario SEIXAS - Brazil
Prof. Dr. Narendra SRIVASTAVA - Canada
Prof. Edgar STACH - United States
Dr. Tomohiro TACHI - Japan
Mr. Hiroki TAMAI - Japan
Dr. Tibor TARNAI - Hungary
Ms. Ashley THRALL - United States
Eng. Roel VAN DE STRAAT - The Netherlands
Prof. Ole VANGGAARD - Denmark
Dr. Bin-Bing WANG - Singapore
Prof. Yi-Min (Mike) XIE - Australia
Dr. Arch. Yaxiong YAO - China


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[This page last updated 26 November 2017]

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