Simon Schleicher – IaaC Lecture Series – 2014

Simon Schleicher is an architectural designer, researcher, and educator from Germany. He received a Masters degree from MIT in Architecture and a Bachelors degree from the University of Stuttgart. At the moment, Simon is working as Research Associate at the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) as well as working on his doctoral thesis supervised by Prof. Dr. Jan Knippers.
In his research on bio-inspired compliant mechanisms, Simon aims to transfer bending and folding mechanisms found in plant movements to elastic systems in architecture. He was project manager for the first ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010, which won the DETAIL prize and was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. With his work, Simon has won further awards including the Gips-Schüle-Forschungspreis, the International Bionic-Award, the Ralph Adam Cram Award, the Imre Halasz Thesis Prize, the British Institution Award, and the Pininfarina-Förderpreis. During his study, Simon was recipient of a Merit-Based Full-Tuition Scholarship at MIT and received grants from the DAAD and from the prestigious German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes).




Thursday 20th of February / Simon Schleicher.

In architecture, kinetic structures enable buildings to react specifically to internal and external stimuli through spatial adjustments. While these mechanical devices come in all dimensions, they are conceptualized as uniform and standardized modules. Typically, they gain their adjustability by connecting rigid elements with highly strained hinges. Even though this construction principle may be generally beneficial, it has some major drawbacks for architectural applications. Adaptation to irregular geometries, for example, can only be achieved with additional mechanical complexity, which makes these devices often very expensive, prone to failure, and maintenance-intensive.

Simon Schleicher is searching for a promising alternative to the still persisting paradigm of rigid-body mechanics and has found inspiration in flexible plant movements. By using modern computational modeling and simulation techniques, he can reveal the plants’ compliant mechanisms and integrate them into bio-inspired flexible structures. In various case studies, he demonstrates the transfer process in more detail and shows how bio-inspired mechanisms can be used, for example, to shade double curved facades.



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