SELF-SHAPING TEXTILES: Form-finding of tensile surface structures through 3D printing on pre-stressed fabric

Leave a comment
3D print, 3D printing on textiles, 4D print, Active materials, architectural design, architecture, CAD CAM, computational design, digital fabrication, doctoral research, engineering, experimental prototyping, GH, Material form-finding, Material studies, parametric design, parametric modelling, performance, performative facades, PhD research, Physical form-finding, Programming Materials, prototyping, publication, real-time simulation, research, research by design, Rhino Grasshoper, self-shaping textiles, structure, teaching, textile facade, textile research, textiles, TU Berlin, Upscaling, upscaling textiles, Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin

Textiles have been used in architecture ever since humankind began to build. Already nomadic tribes have used their tensile strength, flexibility and adaptability to build their first shelters. Nowadays, the development of highly engineered fibers with growing strength-to-weight ratio as well as new production technologies allow for re-introducing textiles into the build environment as smart and sustainable solution.

This research investigates the technique of 3D printing on prestressed fabrics as a way of creating three-dimensional textile composites and explores potential applications of this method in the architectural industry. Design methodology takes advantage of the elasticity and self-shaping properties of these structures, looking into aspects such as materiality, modularity and scalability.

The form-finding process relies on 3D printing a less elastic material such as thermoplastic polymer on top of an elastic, pre-stressed fabric. After releasing the tension, the fabric transforms into a three-dimensional textile structure. Forms created in this way are pure representations of their material properties, energy stored in these materials and forces acting on them. As a result, they are structurally stable and inherently efficient.

As additive manufacturing becomes more affordable, materials more intelligent, and textiles more robust, the proposed form-finding technique has a lot of potential for designing efficient textile structures with optimized structural performance and minimal usage of material. Controlling the geometrical formations through temperature or humidity allows to envision self-regulating elements in exchange with the environment, resulting in new forms of architectural expression, soft and adaptive.


[ongoing PhD research, TU Berlin]

PhD candidate: Agata Kycia

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ignacio Borrego [TU Berlin], Prof. Jürgen Weidinger [TU Berlin], Prof. Christiane Sauer [Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin]

Current publications

Kycia A., Guiducci L. (2020): Self-shaping textiles – a material platform for digitally designed, material-informed surface elements, Werner, L and Koering, D (eds.), Anthropologic: Architecture and Fabrication in the cognitive age – Proceedings of the 38th eCAADe Conference – Volume 2, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 16-18 September 2020, pp. 21-30 @ eCAADe2020, ISBN: 978-9-49120-721-1 (Volume 2)
Full paper can be found here

Kycia A. (2020): Form finding of performative surfaces through 3D printing on prestressed textiles, CA²RE+ Trondtheim PROCEEDINGS, NTNU Department of Architecture and Planning TRONDHEIM, June 2020, ISBN: 978-82-7551-230-5 (online)

Kycia A. (2019): Hybrid textile structures as means of material-informed design strategy, CA²RE PROCEEDINGS, Technische Universität Berlin , Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin, January 2019, ISBN: 978-3-7983-2950-8 (online)

Kycia A. (2018): Material form-finding of modular textile structures, CA²RE PROCEEDINGS, Aarhus School of Architecture , June 2018, ISBN: 978-87-90979-78-2
Conference proceedings can be found here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s