Wood is a renewable material that has been used widely in construction since antiquity, however its properties have not been fully exploited yet. As a natural fibrous composite, wood is an anisotropic material, whose fibers orientation define its flexibility. Most architectural applications of wood look for stiff elements but examples from vernacular architecture as well as recent researches on active bending structures, indicate the great potential of perceiving wood as a highly flexible material, which can be used for light weight, free form structures. Nonetheless, there is no example in architecture where wood is dynamically active, functioning as a reactive compliant mechanism.


“The form is a system which organises itself in the presences of both internal and external forces and these organizations can shape patterns traced through mathematical rules.”
D’ Arcy Thompson

In this framework, this 5-days workshop will focus on the creation of controllable dynamic active bending timber structures, using forces as the actuators. The participants will experiment with linear wooden elements (laths), where the connections between them will define the overall deformation of the system. The course will combine digital simulations of form finding (Kangaroo) and structural analysis (Karamba) with physical prototypes made by robotic milling. The final outcome will be an 1:1 structure which can shape-shift according to different load-case scenarios, fluctuating between predefined forms.


The process of translating data into spatial transformations will be coded in digital tools, based on Rhino/ Grasshopper with plugins such as Kangaroo and Karamba that will help simulating deformations and structural behaviors. During this process codes will be translated into physical prototypes digitally fabricated, optimizing design criteria with fabrication strategies and structural consideration.


Dynamic active bending
Wood anisotropy
Structural analysis
Form Finding
Robotic Fabrication
1:1 interactive installation



Day 1 / monday 9:00 – 16:00
Introduction to adaptive architecture and active bending wooden structures.
Introduction to the task and the research behind it.
Introduction to form finding algorithms (Kangaroo Tutorial) and design exercise.
Introduction to robotic fabrication.

Day 2 / tuesday 9:00 – 16:00
Introduction to wood anisotropy and physics of beam bending.
Introduction to structural analysis (Karamba tutorial) and structural exercise.
Group division to specific tasks (The group will be divided into teams focusing on different aspects of the project such as holistic design, joint details, milling files and fabrication).


Day 3 / wednesday 9:00 – 16:00
Robotic fabrication of elements, preparation for the installation.

Day 4 / thursday 9:00 – 16:00
Robotic fabrication of elements, preparation for the installation.

Day 5 / friday 9:00 – 16:00
Robotic fabrication of elements, assemblage and final installation


Basic modelling skills in Rhino are required. No specific Grasshopper skills are required (although an introductory knowledge of grasshopper is welcome). Participants should bring their own laptop with a pre-installed software. The software package needed has no additional cost for the participant. Rhino can be downloaded as evaluation version, Grasshopper and plugins are free. These softwares are subject to frequent updates, so a download link to the version used in the workshop will be sent to the participants few days before the workshop.

DIGITAL DESIGN AND FULL SCALE FABRICATION ‘17 | Dynamic active bending structures

11-15  of December  2017 (tbc)

Institute of Architecture (IoA)
University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Angewandte)

Institute of Architecture (IoA) – University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Angewandte)
InnoChain network

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, InnoChain, H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014

Efilena Baseta


Efilena Baseta
Efilena is an architect engineer, studied in the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), with a Master degree in Advanced Architecture from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). Having developed several interactive projects, her current interest lies in exploring material properties in order to create real time responsive architectural structures. She has led several workshops internationally and she is currently an InnoChain PhD candidate in the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna on the topic of Simulating Anisotropic Material”.

Andrei Gheorghe
Andrei Gheorghe completed a Master in Architecture degree as a Fulbright student at Harvard University with distinction. In 2009 he received the Harvard GSD Digital Design Prize. He has been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, SCIARC Los Angeles, GSD Harvard Career Discovery Program as well as Portland State University, and has gathered multiple years of professional experience as an architect in offices such as Jakob+MacFarlane Paris and FOA London. Andrei is cofounder of the platform IDDEA, developing integrated design concepts in multiple scales. The spectrum of the projects range from small scale design prototypes, interactive urban furniture for the city of Vienna as well as masterplans and urban proposals in Austria and abroad.

Philipp Hornung
Philipp Hornung studied architecture at the Georg-Simon-Ohm University in Nuremberg and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna at the master class of Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn and Wolf Prix, where he received his degree with distinction. He gained experience at numerous international renowned architectural design offices such as Graft Architects and Coop Himmelb(l)au. Since 2014 he has been a research assistant at the research project ‘Robotic Woodcraft’ at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His expertise is in the fields of parametric design and robotic fabrication.


The workshop is going to take place in the Institute of Architecture (IoA) of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Angewandte), in the department of Building Construction (Baukonstruktion).


Registration is open only for Architecture students of Angewandte here