Shape to Fabrication | STF #8 | April 2020 Conference

Shape to Fabrication
STF #8
April 2020 Conference

The Shape to Fabrication conference presents innovative real world projects going beyond the theoretical, focus is on proven application and evidence based project delivery.

The 2-day conference takes place at Stratford Circus, London, on the 21st & 22nd April 2020.

Visit the STF Logistics page for essential and on-the-day information.

Visit our STF Friends page and read about partners and exhibitors.

Presentation information for the conference is shown below and will be updated when new project announcements are made.

Day and Time splits for the presentations will be published shortly. Closer to the event date a conference agenda will be available to download here.

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Interested in the Shape to Fabrication Hackathon? Then visit this page.

Joesph Walsh
Joesph Walsh Studio
Design Direction and Design Development at Joseph Walsh Studio
Time: TBC
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The talk will explore the methods of design direction and development that the studio employs to produce work that is both informed by the nature of the material used, and which allows opportunities for the work to be rediscovered in the making.

Joseph Walsh’s work reflects his passion for expression through material and form. From monumental scale sculptures to one-of-a-kind site-specific commissions and collectable design editions, every piece within his dynamic body of work reveals an intuitive relationship with making, a sympathetic use of materials and an expressive engagement with form. 

Inspired by the free, uplifting and ever-changing grace that can be found in nature, Joseph Walsh has developed a creative process which captures the fluidity and immediacy of a sketch – of the moment of inspiration – and in which the final form is only defined through its making.

Joseph Walsh was born in 1979 in County Cork on the south coast of Ireland where he established his own studio and workshop at age 20 and is still based today. With no formal training, he began to explore his passion for making, visiting master makers around Europe and developing his own mastery of wood working and deep knowledge of the material. From the outset he pursued innovation in making based on traditional techniques, often from other craft forms, which enabled new making methods and forms. This led to significant early commissions for various ecclesiastical clients, the Embassy of Japan and the National Museum of Ireland.

From these early years of experimentation and development, Joseph Walsh began to break some of the traditional rules of making, and even his own rules, in order to create the truly bold and expressive forms for which he is known today, realised in an ever-widening range of materials, including wood, marble and bronze. His achievements in design have been recognised by an honorary doctorate from University College Cork, a major commission for the National Gallery of Ireland and the acquisition of works for many major international collections, including most recently the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Sean Guy
Mass Bespoke: The 2019 Tallinn Architecture Biennale Pavilion
Time: TBC

Steambent Timber Pavilion, (Gwyllim Jahn, Cameron Newnham, Soomeen Hahm, Igor Pantic), Tallinn Architecture Biennial, Photograph by Tonu Tunnel

Steampunk is a pavilion constructed from steam-bent hardwood timber using primitive hand tools augmented with the precision of intelligent holographic guides. Sean Guy will discuss the unique approach the pavilion takes to high-tolerance design and construction, and will share techniques developed for approximately simulating rather than explicitly modelling all of the geometry in the design. Sean will also showcase how the digital model was translated to interactive holographic instructions using Fologram, and how these instructions enabled fabrication teams to shape 12 meter timber parts into the complex and unique curves in the design. The timber elements in the structure are steam-bent over an adaptable, moldless formwork using a holographic model as a reference to the desired result.  Rendering digital models as holographic overlays directly within construction environments enables fabricators to use their own expertise and inventiveness to produce highly intricate and complex objects. Fabricators can intuitively adapt bending techniques or formwork positions until physical parts match digital models within accepted tolerances. By demonstrating that complex digital models can be fabricated by hand without traditional drawings or CNC machine code, the pavilion aims to democratize the production of more performative, expressive and bespoke architectural designs and serve as a deliberate polemic in the context of widespread robotic fabrication and automation.

Steambent Timber Pavilion, (Gwyllim Jahn, Cameron Newnham, Soomeen Hahm, Igor Pantic), Tallinn Architecture Biennial, Photograph by Tonu Tunnel

Sean Guy

Sean is the Product Manager for Fologram for Rhino and Grasshopper. Fologram is a technology startup and based in Melbourne, Australia, where they are developing mixed reality software for AEC. Sean conducts extensive design research exploring use cases and applications of the Fologram for Rhino platform, and this design practice has been internationally awarded in projects such as the recently completed Tallinn Architecture Biennial Pavilion. Sean holds a MArch from RMIT University and has a background in algorithmic design and advanced fabrication in architecture. He has industry experience in developing large-scale 3D printing and robotic fabrication applications for permanent building structures as a Project Leader at Studio Roland Snooks. Sean has previously held academic leadership positions at RMIT, Melbourne and Monash Universities where he has developed design courses in mixed reality, robotic fabrication, 3D printing, behavioural design systems and creative applications of machine learning.

Fernando Ruiz Barberan
Re-imagining Total Design from the internet up
Time: TBC

Multidisciplinary collaboration and constructive design iteration have always been at the heart of successful projects. Ove Arup defined that true integration of all the specialist knowledge as Total Design. 

The current landscape of digital tools enables rapid design iterations and a vast generation of data / insights in a variety of formats. As a result, interoperability became an important part of the process but, how is Total Design achieved within this context?

The talk explores ways to build on this key principle from the internet up, enabling automation whilst harvesting data to unleash design models yet to be explored. Recent applications using Speckle both on large and small scale will be showcased.

Design and manufacturing of IncreMental, Drivers of Change Exhibition by Arup + The Bartlett
Seamless dataflow across platforms, disciplines and companies
Typical module of the HS2 Interchange Station, Solihull, UK

Fernando Ruiz Barberan

Fernando is an Architect at Arup Façade Engineering involved in the design and delivery of large scale projects such as High Speed 2, the Scalpel in London, and a major international airport in Asia. He is pushing the digital agenda and exploring Digital Fabrication and Machine Learning.

His background in Architecture and BIM includes practices like AL_A where he worked on the design of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter in London and MAAT in Lisbon. This exposure to the challenges of design, engineering and fabrication drives his commitment to developing seamless work & data flows that integrate multidisciplinary knowledge & tools. An approach inspired in Ove’s legacy, ready for the processes of tomorrow.

Manja van de Worp
YIP Structural Engineering London
Once upon MANY a time. (Multi Stable State Design)
Time: TBC

This lecture discusses design strategies which incorporate Multi Stable State Design. These designs house multiple embedded performances which can be triggered over the lifetime of a design, providing a new form of optimisation – curating interacting digital and physical parameters.  Multiple stable state design revisits how we design a "product" which can be read as process. It is no longer static; it is able to evolve from its first “state”; i.e. hosts a time-based design strategies. 

Think here about structures which would be dis- and reassembled into different configurations, or elements which might be added to trigger different loadpaths which allow for change over time, etc. They go beyond structural typologies we are familiar with, which aids to break free from convention and reinforce change. 

Yet how can we make them legible to others, when structural capacity and response is based on configuration as well as orientation of elements?  We aim to uncover sequential construction predicting the impact of the placement of the next elements, and with that a possible future state. The aids of Augmented Reality through Fologram has been explored to bring back sensitivity to structural design and bridge between these lifelong structures, construction but also to the collective.Amongst other projects, these projects addressed: MINKA + MOHOCON (AJGA dk), TAB Tallinn + RA Gilles Retsin

Manja van de Worp

Manja van de Worp – is the director of YIP Structural Engineering London (formerly NOUS engineering London), holding Master degrees in Architecture, Structural Engineering and in Emergent Technologies and Design. She is a structural engineer with 10 years professional experience in the Construction Industry focusing on Structure Geometry and Fabrication, while teaching at the RCA, Architectural Association & IAAC.

She has worked for Arup in London in the Advanced Geometry Unit and at the Advanced Technology and Research group in ARUP, designing structures with a complex geometry and moveable structures.

Manja has Launched NOUS engineering LONDON (now YIP) in 2013 an engineering consultancy bearing extensive knowledge of advanced structural analysis tools, complex structural systems, materials and fabrication technologies. Current projects involve a FRP shell and a modular steel roof structure. YIP also focuses on structural product design and research based projects, looking at innovative ways to use timber, 3d printing of concrete, searching how materials not conventionally used in structural design and how they could find their way into building engineering.

Daniel Bosia
Thornton Tomasetti
Realtime Design Engineering of Dynamic Roof Structures
Time: TBC

The development of real-time interoperable analysis tools in recent years has allowed us to embed engineering simplicity, efficiency and economy in architectural form and more meaningful collaborations between architects and engineers. The talk explores the evolution of these tools in the past few years as well as showing some of the more recent developments and applications with specific reference to dynamic roof structures.

Daniel Bosia, Design Director at Thornton Tomasetti, is a Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers with an MSc in Structural and Bridge Engineering and a Master Degree in Architecture.

Over the past 22 years, he has collaborated with high profile international architects on groundbreaking projects like the Google Headquarters, the Vessel in Hudson Yards, the Taichung Opera House and the New Scottish Parliament Building.

Committed to research as well as practice, Daniel taught at Diploma School at the AA, he was Honorary Professor at Aalborg University and lectured in a number of Universities in Europe and the US including Harvard, Columbia, ETH, Bartlett, UPenn, IIT and Princeton.

A former co-founder of the Advanced Geometry Unit at Arup (AGU) and head of the Parametric Applied Research Team at AKT (Part), Daniel has been pushing the boundaries in Computational Design developing new digital design tools to promote the deep collaboration between architects and engineers.

Photos & Diagrams Courtesy of Thornton Tomasetti.
Wimbledon Court No 1 Photos Courtesy and Permission of AELTC/KSS.

Alicia Nahmad
Architecture Extrapolated (R-Ex)
Intelligent Digital Fabrication: Toward a collaborative human–machine partnership
Time: TBC

Alicia Nahmad is an architect/ designer based in London. She is the founder of Architecture Extrapolated (R-Ex) and holds a PhD on human-robot collaborative design workflows from Cardiff University. She is also a course master at the Architectural Association DRL Master’s program. Alicia explores design through the integration of materials and technology in relation to context specific environments. Her research is focused at the intersection of digital design and fabrication technologies, machine learning and traditional building crafts. For this purpose, she has been engaged with the digitization of building trades and the adaptation of digital design and fabrication methods to incorporate the wisdom and craft of traditional building cultures.

Previously she worked with the specialist parametric design group at Populous and has accumulated design and construction experience in various practices including Zaha Hadid Architects and Grupo Inmobiliario Altiva, Mexico. Alicia was an Artist -In- Residence at Autodesk Pier 9 where she developed human-machine collaborative architectural design processes enabled through machine learning. 

Her work has been published and presented at various events including UK Construction Week,  Microsoft Reactor London, Women Leading in AI, TxA, IJAC, IASS, Acadia, London Festival of Architecture, Worlds Architects Congress and different digital based media. She has also taught design – fabrication workshops and delivered lectures on related topics at institutions such as UNAM Mexico, IAAC Barcelona, KADK Copenhagen, Tec de Monterrey Mexico, Belas Artes Sao Paulo, PUC Rio de Janeiro, Hunan University Changsha, AA visiting school Brazil, India and China. Alicia has been an invited critic at various institutions in the US, Mexico and UK.

Alicia received a Master of Architecture and Urbanism from the Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory (AADRL 2010) in London and a bachelor of Architecture from Tec de Monterrey (2005) in Mexico City.


KnitCandela (images 00 and 01)

Project Credits: ETH and Zaha Hadid Architects with R-Ex

Photo credits: Leo Bieling

TopOpt Shell (image 02)

Project Credits: ZHCODE and R-Ex with Asbjorn Sondergaard and Chikara Inamura

Photo Credits: Ale Vazquez

Learning from Candela (Image 03)

Project Credits: ZHCODE and R-Ex with Kreysler Associates

Photo Credits: Ale Vazquez

AI for Spatial Organisation (Image 04)

Project and Image Credits: AADRL, Studio Nahmad-Bhooshan

La Masonry Domino, A New Tectonism for Domestic Architecture (Image 05)

Project and Image Credits: AADRL, Studio Nahmad-Bhooshan

Jack Stewart
Interop – Getting design data where it needs to be
Time: TBC
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It seems like the problem of interoperability between AEC applications has been a challenge since almost the beginning of time. At Hawkins\Brown and across the industry, we’ve all explored novel solutions for moving design information between applications. This has allowed designers to either maximise the functionality of a specific piece of software, using the best tool for the job, or maximise their own knowledge, allowing the designer to use the tool that they know best. There’s nothing worse than shoe-horning a design idea into an application that it doesn’t suit. Likewise, it’s pretty counter-productive to pigeon-hole designers into using one application when they could do their job better using another.

Historically, both practice and project delivery protocols have directed us to channel our design information into one environment, one application. But the reality is that complex and varied projects, with multiple different design elements, often need elements of a project to be delivered across different design applications. If the platform to deliver a project isn’t a one-horse race, then being software agnostic as an organisation or individual is a good thing.

What is key, however, is identifying, establishing and managing the best workflows for each project that enable us to get the best out of both the range of design skills across the office and available design software.

Jack Stewart leads Digital Design at Hawkins\Brown. The Digital Design Team continually develop new processes using their skills in computation to overcome design challenges. 

With a growing team of computational designers and architects turned software developers, the team can offer expertise across all projects at Hawkins\Brown. This includes focused scripting and coding expertise to help resolve design challenges and create tools to deliver more robust and efficient production information. 

More broadly the team is reviews digital technology across the practice and explores how we can innovate both how we better practice architecture, and, more importantly, how we create better places.

4_LondonInstituteOfMedicalSciencesFacade Hawkins\Brown STF2020

Verena Vogler
How does Rhino, as a development platform, contribute to European research projects- R+D activities at McNeel Europe
Time: TBC

McNeel Europe contributes to EU funded research projects. This contribution began as Industry Partners in the Innochain Project, lending their expertise to various research projects, including the interoperability platform, Speckle. In 2018, McNeel EU began collaborating on the V4Design project which aims to enable the re-use and re-purpose of such multimedia content by proposing an innovative solution for its effective integration, so as to extract 3D representations and VR game environments. In 2019, McNeel EU began collaborating on the MindSpaces project with the main objective being to create the tools and develop the solutions for adaptive and inclusive spaces that dynamically adapt to emotional, aesthetical and societal responses of end users, creating functionally and emotionally appealing architectural design. Through these research projects, McNeel EU opens up new ways to collaborate with new and existing Rhino users alike, forging partnerships with collaborators such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Herzog & De Meuron Architects, KU Leuven Geomatics, The Center for Research and Technology (Hellas), Europeana, Deutsche Welle, and more. 

Screenshot of the “V4D4Rhino” Plugin developed by McNeel EU for the V4Design Project

Example of V4Design 3d Reconstruction workflow from drone footage to 3d model

Verena Vogler is a co-founder of the research and innovation department at McNeel Europe in Barcelona, the European division of Robert McNeel & Associates. She holds a diploma degree in Architecture from the University of Applied Science in Leipzig (HTWK), a MAA from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IaaC) and is currently completing a doctoral degree in Engineering from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Her interest is in novel technologies and their applications in architecture, engineering and related interdisciplinary fields such as marine biology, environmental science and neuroscience. Her work ranges from the development of a computational design framework for artificial coral reefs in the Bali Sea, close-range underwater photogrammetry of tropical coral reefs, design driven by behavioural and EEG data, to digital fabrication and plugin development. 

Oliver Thomas
Bjarke Ingels Group
Streamlining Design to Production with Rhino Inside
Time: TBC
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As the practice continues to experience rapid growth and construction of major projects around the world. The adoption of technology is playing a big role in the design, documentation and construction process at BIG. Taking an overview of the integration of technology within the design process through to production and beyond. With an overview of some recent projects and the integration of technology such as automation, robotics and digital twins implemented on a city wide scale. Then taking a focused look on BIM & computation and the recent adoption of rhino inside to help streamline workflows from design into production. Finally concluding with a look into the early stages of experimentation with various technologies to integrate into the act of making.

Oliver Thomas is a BIM specialist at Bjarke Ingels Group In New York. A registered UK architect with over 8 years experience working in practice. Having worked in London, Hong Kong and New York for practices such as Aedas, Front and BIG, Oliver developed a specialization in BIM & Computational workflows spanning from design, production to fabrication. 

As a BIM specialist at BIG, Oliver oversees the implementation of BIM & Computational workflows, standards and training within the office. Working across a number of projects, Oliver provides assistance with advanced workflows within the design and production process. In addition he is also responsible for implementation and testing of new technologies and workflows into the office that help to enhance the unique design process at BIG.

Simon Pierce
Eckersley O’Callaghan
Simon Pierce
Sam Gregson
Eckersley O’Callaghan
Sam Gregson
Sberbank Technopark: Freeform glass façade case study
Time: TBC
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Using Sberbank Technopark as a case study we demonstrate our workflow of using digital design tools to analyse free-form architectural facades and determine appropriate fabrication processes for façade panels. This constantly evolving workflow allows us to achieve the architectural design intent whilst managing other constraints such as fabrication feasibility, thermal and visual performance requirements and cost. With a considerable array of glazing fabrication techniques available all with their individual constraints relating to coating compatibility, residual stresses, form and cost this task can be challenging and requires a good understanding of glass fabrication.

Digital design techniques demonstrated here include best-fit geometry fitting, interoperability with FEA packages, clustering of panels, and optimisation of NURBS surfaces.


Simon Pierce

With 15 years of professional experience in the built environment, Simon leads project teams within our structural and facade groups, where he undertakes the engineering of some of our most challenging buildings.

Simon is skilled in complex parametric modelling and analysis. Having worked previously for specialist facade contractors, Bellapart and structural engineering consultancy, Expedition Engineering; he has also collected a wide breadth of knowledge in materials and fabrication processes, notably in glass, metals, and composite-fibre plastics. 

Through his role as Associate Director, he plays an integral role of the running of the facade group with a particular focus on developing improved working practices and systems.

Sam Gregson

Sam has 5 years of experience working with complex geometry and specialist materials within Eckersley O’Callaghan’s Glass and Special Structures Group. In particular he has worked with acrylic and glass structures including large span grid-shell structures on cruise ships, structural glass staircases and retail structures and acrylic swimming pools.

Playing a central role within the firm’s Digital Design Group he is also engaged in developing digital design through R&D and growing adoption of digital tools and skills across the company.

Andy Watts
Grimshaw Design Technology
Andy Watts
Georgios Tsakiridis
Grimshaw Design Technology
Georgios Tsakiridis
Shifting focus | Design Technology at Grimshaw
Time: TBC
Grimshaw-STF2020-Dashboard1 Grimshaw-STF2020-Dashboard1

Design technology specialists often find themselves torn between two modes of working; providing specialist project support to architectural teams or undertaking research and development in an effort to push the boundaries of what an architectural practice can achieve. In other words, looking at the present and looking at the future.

At Grimshaw, the Design Technology team try to do both, striving to bridge the gap by finding opportunities for ongoing development on live projects. Through an overview of the Grimshaw DT team and a closer look at ongoing work, this session aims to open up a wider dialogue about how newer technologies and approaches can find a home in the architectural design process.


Andy Watts

Andy Watts is the Director of Design Technology at Grimshaw and provides strategic leadership to the global Design Technology team, adding value to the work of the Grimshaw design teams through the applications of emerging technologies. As a computational designer and architect, Andy has interests ranging from digital fabrication and immersive technologies through to data analysis and machine learning, all underpinned by a drive to make them as accessible as possible as everyday design tools.

Beyond Grimshaw, Andy has taught in the UK and internationally, and is also on the organising committee for the London VR/AR User Group alongside Simply Rhino.

Georgios Tsakiridis

Georgios Tsakiridis is a Computational Design Specialist at Grimshaw and leads the London studios computational design efforts. As an architect intrigued by the emerging technologies and the contemporary digital realm, his research explores the impact of applied computation on the ways we design, construct and inhabit the built environment.

Frequently engaging with academia, he is presently faculty at the CASS, London Metropolitan University and has taught numerous workshops. His personal work has been presented and exhibited both in the UK and internationally.

Image credits
Grimshaw Design Technology

Carlos Bausa
Wild Design Studio
Carlos Bausa
Dirce Medina
Wild Design Studio
Dirce Medina
Wild Design Studio
Time: TBC
Carlos & Dirce Breaking Bad Carlos & Dirce Breaking Bad

WDS was founded by Carlos Bausa and Dirce Medina, two young architects with a background in architecture and environmental design analysis. Their personal work can be found in the intersection between craftsmanship, design and architecture. They love exploring the possibilities of computational design tools and digital fabrication. Despite their full time jobs as architects for other international firms, they created WDS as an escape route, and combine it with their passion for travelling in their pursuit for inspiration.

Carlos Bausa and Dirce Medina are the cofounders of WILD. The studio was born as a space to experiment design without restrictions. Encompassing a wide range of scales, from architecture to jewellery, WILD is open to any challenge. Nothing is too small to be designed.

In parallel Carlos works with Zaha Hadid Architects as Lead Design Technology. Since joining the studio he has been working on renovating the technological infrastructure and expanding the company agenda. His work helps teams on learning new ways of connecting the environmental design and geometry modelling.

Prior to working at the ZHA, Carlos was based at Foster + Partners  as part of the Specialist Modelling Group where he worked on a number of projects and competitions of multiple scales all around the world. Some of the projects he has been involved with are, the Apple campus in Cupertino, California, many flagship Apple stores around the world, and Bloomberg´s London HQ, this one being  awarded with the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2018.

In early 2015, Carlos was based in Barcelona as part of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia faculty. Carlos has lectured widely and his personal work has been awarded.

Likewise, Dirce is Designer at Heatherwick Studio, where her role has been fundamental, particularly for the Changi Airport T5 project team.

As Designer and member of the Geometry and Computational Design Group, Dirce has developed a particular specialism in complex geometry and advanced modelling techniques.

Her previous experience encompasses studios like FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise) where she worked on Mexico’s international Airport, developed in partnership with Foster + Partners.  She also had the chance to work in EMBT in Barcelona, Spain, where she experienced diverse typologies and scale of projects from furniture and industrial design products,  to the design and construction of the Copagri Pavilion for Milan Expo 2015.