Collaboration with TensiNet
Formfinder: EASY TO USE ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN TOOL FOR FORM-ACTIVE STRUCTURES
“Mankind does not need anymore technology - it is clearness that is missing”.
Formfinder is a state of the art design system which was made for architects by architects. The system offers an intuitional step by step design path for the design of formactive structures. Heino Engel defines “Form-active structure systems as structure systems of flexible, non-rigid matter, in which the redirection of forces is effected through particular FORM DESIGN and characteristic FORM STABILISATION.” There are two inseparable counterparts that characterise form-active structures: The design of the form and the stabilisation of the form. An examination is needed for every design, since form-active structures cannot easily be described in terms of shape and geometry in drawings. The design of form-active structures is more complex and requires a supporting design tool.
The concept of such a design tool was developed by Robert Wehdorn-Roithmayr during his Ph.D studies in Berlin at the institute of Professor Gründig using the software EASY www.technet-gmbh.com. Through the support of sponsors and a committed development team it was possible to make the first Release Candidate available for free downloading from www.formfinder.at.
The Formfinder design path starts with a “formulation of the task” and physical model-making to investigate material properties. If the material attributes are decoded, the desired design is sketched in the Formfinder user interface. Architects sketch the design required in a manner similar to using pen and paper. The software visualises the physical, geometrical and architectural characteristics of a design to describe the process of finding Gestalt. Gestalt is defined as “a physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts”. Gestalt and proportion are the most important characteristics in an architectural building description.
The easy-to-use design system is intended to encourage the designer to develop new designs and should be a source of enjoyment. It is also part of the design path to communicate with possible project partners at a very early stage. Working together as a multidisciplinary team is essential for successful designing.
Formfinder is also a design-qualifying tool. A model-based object recognition algorithm analyses the sketch and compares analogies with information stored in databases. As a result, FORMFINDER is a kind of "Google for form-active structures". Each step of the design can be matched with relevant object information. Given the importance of updates, the FORMFINDER database can be updated over the Internet. Knowing what has already been built by whom, when and where and how is of considerable commercial value and forms the basis for every successful implementation project.
Collaboration between Formfinder and TensiNet
„Forgetting early experiences in childhood is no doubt due to the fact that nothing can be named until language is learned, and hence nothing can be found in the memory.“
For fluent and straightforward design decisions it is essential to share relevant project information. For sharing information it is necessary to make experience describable. What designers are able to repeat could also be improved. To improve the quality of form-active support systems it is also essential to build many bridges over the significant void between amateurs and the so called high-technology experts.
Thanks to the development of the international association TensiNet it is now possible for e.g. the European Design Guide as the most up to date reference and the TensiNet project database to become a large pool of useful information. With the approaches made by TensiNet it is now possible to initiate “recording of the design”.
Architecture is individual and will not advance by standardisation of the design processes itself. What is required is equipment for the design of form-active structures in combination with comprehensive information reduced to a manageable size.
Goal of the cooperation between Formfinder and TensiNet is for Formfinder to act as an “information allocation tool” for the designer.