Material-minimizing forms and structures

Martin Kilian, Davide Pellis, Johannes Wallner, Helmut Pottmann

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional structures in building construction and architecture are realized with conflicting goals in mind: engineering considerations and financial constraints easily are at odds with creative aims. It would therefore be very beneficial if optimization and side conditions involving statics and geometry could play a role already in early stages of design, and could be incorporated in design tools in an unobtrusive and interactive way. This paper, which is concerned with a prominent class of structures, is a substantial step towards this goal. We combine the classical work of Maxwell, Michell, and Airy with differential-geometric considerations and obtain a geometric understanding of “optimality” of surface-like lightweight structures. It turns out that total absolute curvature plays an important role. We enable the modeling of structures of minimal weight which in addition have properties relevant for building construction and design, like planar panels, dominance of axial forces over bending, and geometric alignment constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Nov 20 2017
EventACM SIGGRAPH Asia Conference, SA 2017 - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: Nov 27 2017Nov 30 2017


ConferenceACM SIGGRAPH Asia Conference, SA 2017


  • Architectural geometry
  • Computational design
  • Material economy
  • Minimum weight
  • Stress potential
  • Total absolute curvature
  • Truss-like continuum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Material-minimizing forms and structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this