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Digital Design & Production | IoA Institute of Architecture | University of Applied Arts Vienna

Digital Design & Production – Semester Task SS15

all images are property of the respective artists and are used only for educational purpose for the digital design a production course to illustrate the task and the topics.


paper craft…is (according to wikipedia) the collection of art forms employing paper or card as the primary artistic medium for the creation of three-dimensional objects.
It lends itself to a wide range of techniques, as it can for instance be folded, bend, cut, glued, molded, stitched, or layered.


the TASK…today in the digital age we can produce any shape inside our digital tools,

but “as soon as the real world enters, everything becomes special and nothing works anymore”  Frieder Nake

therefore this time…
…the challenge is to translate and rationalize any form into developable surfaces.


11676213317STTmruled surface…(again, according to wikipedia) In geometry, a surface S is ruled (also called a scroll) if through every point of S there is a straight line that lies on S.
The most familiar examples (illustrated here in three-dimensional Euclidean space) are the plane and the curved surface of a cylinder or cone. Other examples are a conical surface with
elliptical directrix, the right conoid, the helicoid, and the tangent developable of a smooth curve in space.
A ruled surface can always be described (at least locally) as the set of points swept by a moving straight line. For example, a cone is formed by keeping one point of a line fixed whilst moving another point along a circle.




11676213317JZjTdevelopable surface…(according to wikipedia) in mathematics, a developable surface (or torse: archaic) is a surface with zero Gaussian curvature. That is, it is a surface that can be flattened onto a plane without distortion (i.e. “stretching” or “compressing”).
Conversely, it is a surface which can be made by transforming a plane (i.e. “folding”, “bending”, “rolling”, “cutting” and/or “gluing”).
In three dimensions all developable surfaces are ruled surfaces.
interesting artists:



first meeting
each participant will get assigned to one of the the “architecture classics” from the list, or can suggest another comparable building (please bring pictures to the first meeting)

workload 1
• find either a 3D-Model of it in the world wide web, or side views, sections, plans, etc.
• “abstract” the found 3D-file or reconstruct a simple 3D-File and produce a NURBS-Model of it that can be unrolled; that consists of developable surfaces.The building should still be recognizable but mainly only show the massing and be in 1:1 scale in the 3D file.
• find a proper model building-scale to fit the building on an 125x125mm (5×5 inch) base, or, if needed, a multiple of it.

second meeting
review of the work
chance for you to ask questions and get help

workload 2
• Unroll all parts and layout them on A4 sheets. (an Illustrator template will be provided as download)
• Build the model out of laser cut white “Bristol” cardboard, thickness depending on the geometry, we recommend 0.3-1mm
• already choose an object for part II (see next part)

DELIVERABLES (third meeting):
1 physical Model, labeled
1 3D .3dm-file (McNeel Rhinoceros)
Layout sheets in A4 (PDF) + Assembly Instruction



third meeting
choose any “gastropod shell” you like, as long as it has interesting geometrical potential.

workload 1
• perform a morphological analysis on the chosen shell (outward appearance: shape, structure, pattern, …), try to make some sketches.
• translate your findings into a digital 3D model, take all the artistic freedom you need, just make sure the final object follows the logic of the analyzed shell and one of the two methodological options:
Option A: You manually model a detailed mesh and then abstract parts of it with developable nurbs.
Option B: You develop a grasshopper definition that can be applied to a variation of the  overall shell shape + additional modification parameter(s).

forth meeting
review of the work
chance for you to ask questions and get help
decision about scale of physical model

workload 2
• physical model (will be a mix of 3D-print(s) and paper craft)

1 physical model
1 3D .3dm-file (McNeel Rhinoceros)
(Grasshopper Definition)


McNeel Rhinoceros 5.0



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