Forschung / Research

The form of a material object stands not only for its spatial qualities but as well for its structural efficiency. These twofold abilities of forms – the space creating and the structural – are exactly the field we try to investigate. We are studding / searching for forms; form-families with architecturally interesting spatial qualities as aspects of design comprehending in the same time special structural properties.
The objective of these investigation is first and foremost, to discover such worlds of form, to uncover the rules and principles of such of such form-families, to study the processes of their generation, and construction.

Research Profile and Activities

Investigations of issues relating to interactions between structure and design are usually entrusted to basic research fields. In that research, the processes of creation and development of forms and structures which generate space are examined. They include research of their geometrical and structural qualities invariably seen as an overall integrated entity. The analysis even involves areas of applied research, since structures which have been investigated both in large and small experimental buildings are actually realised.


Our investigations are based on the scientific principles of interdisciplinary research in two special fields (“Sonderforschungsbereiche”) of the German Research Community: SFB 64 “Wide-spanned Surface Structures” and SFB 230 “Natural Structures”. Under the guidance of German architect Frei Otto, these studies opened the portals to a completely new world of forms for architecture. The holistic observation of the processes of creating structures, their geometrically quantifiable traits (forms) and their structural characteristics together lead towards far reaching insights in the fields of methodology, of form-finding and of implementing such structures in real buildings with undreamt of spatial and technological facets. The zenith of this interdisciplinary research was reached in a number of pioneering building projects which today number among the most important architectural monuments of the twentieth century. They also play an important part in the current architecture of free forms, both as inspiration and as a concrete basis for planning.


All our investigations are carried out in experiments with models, subsequently supplemented and extended via digital methods.
Most investigations are integrated into teachings in such a way that the students examine contained sectors of experimental topics under the guidance of the staff, thus gaining immediate experience of the interaction between design and structure.
These investigations mainly belongs to basic research fields – Grundlagenforschung.
The investigations even involves areas of applied research, since structures which have been investigated are frequently tested in both in small and large experimental buildings.


  • Pre-stressed membranes / cable net structures are investigated in new contexts as a component in the creation of spaces
  • * Pre-stressed membranes / cable net structures are investigated in new contexts as a component in the creation of spaces
    * Soft spaces – pre-stressed membranes are introduced as a novel design  element in planning conventional buildings.( Günther Filz)
    * Architectural Landscapes – Multi-layer, pre-stressed membranes – as levitating landscapes (Eda Schaur since 2001, with Florentine Sack 2001-2003, Michael Dickson 2010, Doris Hallama since 2009 – publication in preparation)

  • Irregularity as aspect of design and structure
    * Irregular placement of linear elements in space (Eda Schaur)
    * Irregular placement of linear elements forming a surface

    Surfaces curved in space realised with irregular patterns (Eda Schaur)
    Curved geodesic patterns (Ph.D. in preparation Manuel Hartmann)
  • linear folded stripe(s)
    * (Rupert Maleczek)
  • Man, Nature and Pattern
    * (Christian Scheiber)
    * (Florentine Sack)


(added soon)

DISSERTATIONS (abgeschlossen)


linear folded stripes       Rupert Maleczek
>>> Abstract coming soon

das weiche haus _ soft.spaces     Günther Filz
>>> Abstract de |   en |   es

einssein in der architektur – eine annäherung     Florentine Sack
>>> Abstract

konstruieren mit luft     Wolfgang Naumer
>>> Abstract

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