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Minimal Surface High-rise Structures

DRX 2012

The topic of DRX 2012 was Minimal Surface High rise Structures. High rise buildings are extremely complex architectural typologies, as they combine multiple systems including program, structure, circulation, MEP and façade in one highly integrated manner. Sustainability and environmental performance within the urban context are key parameters in high rise design. The complexity of the task requires a cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach from the very early phases. This calls for innovative and novel design solutions.  

Structures derived from minimal surfaces have led to the design of various building typologies, such as tension-active roof structures, compression-active shells and large-scale architectural systems. But minimal surface structures remain virtually unexplored for applications in high rise design. 
Minimal surfaces, as visible in various natural systems, have great potential for application in high rise building design due to their structural efficiency, overall area minimization, and efficient material distribution. All of these factors contribute to a sustainable architectural model and green building concept. Minimal surfaces may present intriguing potential as an effective alternative design solution for high rise structures. Therefore, we aim to generate a new comprehension of minimal surface high rise structures for the DRX 2012.
Researchers were given the task with the following questions in mind: 
• Which minimal surfaces might have potential for usage as compression-active structural elements?
• At which scale do certain minimal surfaces work as structural components?
• How would minimal surface elements connect into a larger structural framework? 
• Can surface-active structures and vector-active structures be integrated?
• How can the functional integrity of the building be maintained?
• How can minimal surfaces be translated into built architectural elements?

Link: Profile > DRX

Konrad Polthier is a MATHEON-Professor and head of the Mathematical Geometry Processing group at the Institute of Mathematics at FU Berlin. He is a full professor of Mathematics with research interests in the areas of mathematical geometry processing, discrete differential geometry and mathematical visualization. As chair of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), his current efforts in teaching and education focus on our more than 150 international master and PhD students. His efforts as director of the Institute of Mathematics and former member of the academic senate of FU Berlin target at improving the internal workflows of the institute and university in order to provide a fruitful ground for an excellent research and teaching environment.

Links: / FU Berlin

Patrick Teuffel is educated as a structural engineer and started his career at Arup in London. From 1999-2003 he carried out his PhD about the application of adaptive systems in architecture and engineering at the University of Stuttgart. Further on in 2003 he founded TEUFFEL ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS, an engineering consultancy with focus on special and lightweight structures. Since 2008 he has been Professor for Architectural Engineering at TU Delft and since 2012 he is Professor for Innovative Structural Design at Eindhoven University of Technology, with research focus on light and adaptive structures.
Patrick Teuffel is CEO of Teuffel Engineering Consultants, an engineering consultancy with focus on special and lightweight structures. Since 2012 he is a Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology's ISD with a research focus on light and adaptive systems.

Links: TEUFFEL ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS / Innovative Structural Design (ISD) - TU Eindhoven

Toni Kotnik is a mathematician and professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design. Before joining SUTD, Toni Kotnik was lecturer and senior researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and principal of d’HKL, a Zurich-based office focusing on research-oriented architectural design. He studied architecture and mathematics in Germany, Switzerland and the US and received his doctoral degree from the University of Zurich. He was research fellow at Center for the Representation of Multi-Dimensional Information, principal researcher at OCEAN design research network, postdoctoral researcher at the Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design at the ETH Zurich, assistant professor at the Institute for Experimental Architecture at the University of Innsbruck and studio master at the Emergent Technology and Design program at the Architectural Association in London.

Link: SUTD

Konrad Polthier

Patrick Teuffel
Prof. Dr.-Ing.

Toni Kotnik