Workshop 9: Textile architecture (in)formed by wind: Design processes and tools

Workshop 9: Textile architecture (in)formed by wind: Design processes and tools 2018-08-03T14:07:40+00:00


This workshop will explore the design processes and tools related to textile architecture formed by wind. On one hand, we will focus on how the internal structure of textiles can affect their behaviour and geometric expression when in movement. On the other, we will experiment with diverse tools useful for designing such textile architecture in movement, ranging from digital simulations of aesthetic expressions and behaviours, through structural property assessment, up to physical models set in motion by moving air.

Textiles as design materials in architecture are considered formless. In tensile architecture, textiles are designed to follow a predesigned shape, with coated woven fabrics stretched until the resulting shape is virtually stiff; this to avoid deformation by wind. But what happens if we allow movement in the textile? What if wind becomes a design variable to decide upon the expression of textile architectural form? As a building material textile is starting to gain more interest in architecture. The possibility of creating seemingly endless variations of textiles with different behaviour and functionalities is very appealing from a design perspective. It is an easily transported and lightweight material and can be made from a range of different yarns, including reused textile fibres and wood, which gives it a great potential to be a sustainable choice for architecture.

The workshop will use a combination of computational tools using C++ code, Processing code and Grasshopper to investigate fabric geometry and behaviour at scales from the knitting and weaving of individual yarns to clothes and large-scale fabric structures. At the small scale we are focusing on topology and graph theory and at the large scale the interaction of fabric and wind is of prime interest. The emphasis is on geometry, physics and artistic expression of textile in motion. Participants will be given a simple source code which can be modified, even by those with little experience of programming. Throughout the workshop participants will get a basic introduction in different textile morphologies, and the possibility to explore different textile material behaviours, from the structure and geometries of the treads in the woven and knitted textile to the shapes and application in a building scale. The relationship between these scales will be explored both physically and digitally. How does the geometry of the threads affect the overall shape? Participants will work with both computer models as well as physical models, and gain an understanding for the geometry of the textile material, learn about different ways and means of simulating textile behaviour in movement and get a comparison of the challenges brought in by each type of simulation. A large-scale model will be produced during the workshop and exhibited during the conference.

Expected Skill Level: Intermediate knowledge of Rhino and Grasshopper. Familiarity with coding/programming will be helpful and preferable, but it is not a prerequisite.


Delia Dumitrescu, Erica Hörteborn (Henrysson), Chris Williams and Malgorzata Zboinska, Benjamin Felbrich


Delia Dumitrescu is professor in textile design at the Swedish School of Textiles. Her research explores how the textile design methodology can be translated to the related design fields, e.g, product design, interiors, and architecture. Central notions of her research are textile thinking, patterns and transformability. Using practice-based methodology, her research develops cross-disciplinary design methods for Smart Surfaces¬–interactive textile surfaces as materials for body and space. Delia is the head of the Smart Textiles Design lab at the Swedish School of Textiles( and the Director of Studies for the international research school ArcintexETN, a Marie Sklodowska Curie granted EU action. Her research projects have been exhibited in different places around Europe, e.g., Salone Satellite, Milan, Responsive by Material Sense, Berlin, Hanover and Avantex, Frankfurt, CETI (Center for European Textile Innovation), France and US, e.g., Keller Gallery, MIT, Cambridge(MA). Her research work and academic publications can be accessed at

Erica Hörteborn (Henrysson) has a double degree: MSc in Structural Engineering and a Master of Architecture. Since fall 2016 she is a PhD student and part of the Architecture and Engineering Research Group. She is researching kinetic architecture, with a focus on wind and textile. “Can we, with textiles, create architecture that can use wind and benefit from it?” She is working in an explorative and creative way, with form, material and production methods, as well as mathematical sketching, simulations and physical prototypes.

Chris Williams is an Artistic Professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University. Chris joined Ted Happold’s group at Arup in 1972 where he worked on Frei Otto’s Multihalle gridshells in Mannheim and was responsible for the structural analysis and physical model testing. In 1976 he came with Ted Happold to the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. His research interests hinge on the relationship between geometry and structural action as applied to towers, bridges and fabric and shell structures, as well as the response of these flexible structures to wind. His work in the generation of structural form through biological and other analogies has led to collaboration on projects including the Millennium Dome, the British Museum Great Court Roof, Japanese Pavilion Expo 2000, the Weald and Downland Museum, the Savill Building, the Gardens by the Bay glasshouses and the Netherlands Maritime Museum. His work on these projects involved writing project specific software for geometry definition and structural analysis.

Malgorzata Zboinska holds a PhD in the area of digital architectural design. She is a researcher within the Architecture & Computation group at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. She is also a licensed architect with over 12 years of experience in practice, currently working in the field of applied computational design within a development network Dsearch at White arkitekter in Sweden. Malgorzata’s research originates from the field of digital architectural design, spreading over a broad range of related issues, such as complex geometries, computational design, programming, associative parametric modeling, performance-oriented design, digital fabrication and interactive prototyping. She is interested in how the informed use of a diverse range of digital design and fabrication tools can affect the course and outcomes of the early-stage architectural design process. Currently, she leads the Architectural Convertibles research project, focused on exploring the artistic processes of designing responsive architectural environments. Within the digital architecture field, Malgorzata published articles in national and international journals and presented her work at international conferences in Europe and Asia. She also had her artistic work exhibited in Sweden and abroad.

Benjamin Felbrich is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. During his studies of architecture at Dresden University of Technology, Germany, Benjamin spent an extended period working for Pritzker Price laureate B.V. Doshi in Ahmedabad, India where he developed a deep interest in parametric design and computational form finding. After another work stay at Behnisch Architekten in Stuttgart, Germany, he graduated with an award-winning scientific diploma thesis in which he developed a folding robotic multi-agent system. Since joining ICD in 2014, he worked on bio-inspired robotic 3D-printing, multi-machine fabrication of a large scale CFRP structure through autonomously collaborating robots and drones, physics simulation in CAD Software and artificial intelligence. Since 2016 he has been developing the physics simulation engine FlexHopper and the GPU-based AI engine Crow. Benjamin has a profound interest in high performance computation for design applications, robotic fabrication systems and machine communication infrastructures. His PhD thesis is dedicated to machine learning tools as drivers for integrative design methods in architectural fabrication.