Featured image: the Flamenco ice tower in Harbin, China, designed by architects from China and the Netherlands. Thin shells of ice can be immensely strong! (courtesy Maple Village)
This week’s show features Prof. Sigrid Adriaenssens of Princeton’s Civil Engineering Department. Modern architects must confront many coupled challenges: overpopulation, material shortages, energy conservation, natural disasters… Designing better structures on all these fronts requires transformative solutions, like those provided by Sigrid’s Form Finding Lab. Using simple principles that describe hanging meshes, the group designs thin membrane forms that are efficient, organic, and resilient to extreme loads. Hear how this paradigm shift is making headway on deployable storm surge shields, and how origami-influenced folding might enable flexible buildings that react to their environments.
Play with this fabric physics yourself! Here’s a simulation of a drape, using the same equations as Sigrid’s form finding algorithms (thanks Aatish!). And here’s a visualization with music by Jeff Snyder, with the same fabric model featured prominently.
In other news:
- Plants make up an astounding 80% of global biomass, outweighing animals by an astonishing 200x.
- Ebola is on the rise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but this time a vaccine may be ready to stamp out the outbreak before it keeps spreading.
- A graveyard of ancient bones were found in Denmark, left in a peat bog as a result of Roman conquest 2000 years ago. Wear and tear on the bones indicates the type of battle, experience of the soldiers, and trauma on the surrounding environment after the battle.
The playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.