Complex freeform structures are one of the most striking trends in contemporary architecture. So far, design and manufacturing of such structures are based on digital technologies which have been developed for other industries (automotive, naval, aerospace industry). Architecture differs from these traditional target industries of CAD/CAM technology in many ways including aesthetics, statics, structural aspects, scale and manufacturing technologies. Manufacturing architectural freeform structures requires the segmentation into panels, which may be either flat, single-curved or double curved. In the present proposal, we investigate the problem of building architectural freeform structures from single-curved panels. From the mathematical perspective, this leads to the new semi-discrete surface representations, which constitute a link between smooth and discrete surfaces and can be studied with methods from differential geometry and computational mathematics. To meet the practical requirements, solid knowledge and large experience in architectural design and engineering is essential. Three partners joined to meet the challenges in this field: (1) TUW, an academic institution with deep fundamental knowledge in applied geometry and geometric computing, (2) Evolute, a high-tech research start-up specializing in geometric computing for architecture and manufacturing and (3) RFR, an established engineering office with world wide experience, specialized in non-conventional lightweight structures and with relevant experience in freeform design.
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