METAFORM explores the use of distributed actuation within a meta-material system, in an attempt to achieve an adaptive reconfigurable structure with multiple stable states. The use of materials which behave according to their structure as opposed to their inherent properties allows us to have control over the material system, the properties and behavior of which can be controlled and manipulated by making minor alterations in the material’s design, resulting in an optimized mechanical behavior of the meta-material.

Recent studies in the field of material science and bio-mimicry have led scientists, engineers and architects to find great inspiration in mechanical behavior of materials, as well as interesting geometrical compositions at nano-scale allowing for a more organic approach to adaptability and efficient performance in architecture.

This research utilizes a component-based system able to propagate deformation from the actuation of a single component to the entire system, eliminating the need of multiple actuators, thus aiming towards a more efficient responsive structure. The system incorporates an active bending principle consisting of rigid bodies with shifted elastic joints found in “KinetiX”, a research project describing a group of auxetic-inspired material structures that can transform into various shapes upon compression.¹

Adaptive reconfigurable surfaces can be used in various applications from temporary kinetic structures to shape changing formwork for lightweight fiber structures. The process of scalability is tackled by insuring the structural stability of the actuated surface which can only be achieved by the use of a rigid lightweight material at component scale. Modifying the density of a grid of components allows for the configuration of a large spectrum of freeform surfaces obtained from a flat grid, with a restrained number of manual and or mechanical actuation, locally distributed along the grid.

REFORM suggests a sustainable alternative solution to adaptability in architecture, offering an outlook on how we design and fabricate freeform surfaces.

METAFORM is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture, Research Studio: Digital Matter and Intelligent Construction, in 2018/2019 by:
Students: Ankita Alessandra Bob – Antonios Nikitaras – Yara Tayoun
Faculty: Areti Markopoulou – David Andres Leon – Raimund Krenmueller
Student Assistant: Nikole Kirova