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/// This article is extracted from Mårten Nettelbladt’s works. Have a look to his reasearch blogs, here and here ///

DEFINITION. Forms are called ‘developable’ or ‘single curved’ when they can be created through ordinary bending of a planar surface without stretching, cutting or wrinkling the material. These surfaces are characterized by only bending in one direction at a time, like the cylinder or the cone. Developable surfaces are useful because they allow round forms to be made out of flat materials like plywood, sheet metal or cloth. This is why they are used for ship building, tent sewing and fabrication of ventilation ducts etc.



A few months ago we presented in this blog ROBOFOLD and its robots to create foldable complex surfaces. Today we share an overview about the “Facade Fabrication” workshop RoboFold held in London, September 2011. Run by Greg Epps and Daniel Piker, the workshop explored digital and physical design processes for producing facade panels in curved sheet metal.

Jeg Dudley, the author of the following presentation, was an assistant tutor at this event. The processes we developed utilize the Kangaroo and Lobster IK plugins for Rhino, both developed by Daniel Piker.

The design process is a very intuitive one, combining both hands-on experimentation and digital simulation/ fabrication. We have run several workshops for students, as well as collaborating on curved folding projects with architects, engineers, facade designers and artists.


PHOTO ABOVE: Dynamic Solar Shading sketch model. Advances in Architectural Geometry 2010 / SOURCE :

We often wrote in this blog about developability of complex surfaces.
In one of our post about geometries of bending I said:  developability is a key concept you have to understand if you are trying to construct very complex forms that are easy to draw but difficult to build.

But why? Because if you can develop a surface, then you can build it.
Now, robots from ROBOFOLD are saying something similar: if you can fold it, we can build it.



We have already talked about Mårten Nettelbladt as a very interesting researcher on topics of complex geometries, and specifically the topic of developable surfaces.

His website, “Omkrets arkitektur”, and his blog The Geometry of Bending should be a reference for all those who are interested in the developability of surfaces, and in general for those who are trying to create and construct complex forms.


We are happy to post our first entry of our new DOWNLOADS category.
Like a small but growing number of other architecture offices (such as Ecosistema Urbano and Arquitextonica), we believe that sharing content can be useful, productive and not anti-economic.
In other words, we believe in an Open Culture.

That’s why on this post we want to share with you in a free download format, a rhinoscript code (see video above) that we developed for a skylight design in China, which can help with understanding the concept of double and single curvature geometry.
If you are new to rhinoscript, it may help you to have a look at THEVERYMANY, where you will get a better idea of what can be achieved within this format.