Printing-on-Fabric Meta-Material for Self-Shaping Architectural Models
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Printing-on-Fabric Meta-Material for Self-Shaping Architectural Models

Advances in Architectural Geometry - 2020
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We describe a new meta-material for fabricating lightweight architectural models, consisting of a tiled plastic star pattern layered over pre-stretched fabric, and an interactive system for computer-aided design of doubly-curved forms using this meta-material. 3D-printing plastic rods over pre-stretched fabric recently gained popularity as a low-cost fabrication technique for complex free-form shapes that automatically lift in space. Our key insight is to focus on rods arranged into repeating star patterns, with the dimensions (and hence physical properties) of the individual pattern elements varying over space. Our star-based meta-material on the one hand allows effective form-finding due to its low-dimensional design space, while on the other is flexible and powerful enough to express large-scale curvature variations. Users of our system design free-form shapes by adjusting the star pattern; our system then automatically simulates the complex physical coupling between the fabric and stars to translate the design edits into shape variations. We experimentally validate our system and demonstrate strong agreement between the simulated results and the final fabricated prototypes.

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Acknowledgements and Funding

This work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) starting grant D3 (ERC-2016-STG 714221), by the NSF grant IIS-1910274, and research and software donations from Adobe Inc. and Side Effects Software Inc. We thank Emilie Yu for help with photographing our fabricated models. We also thank the developers of the open source library Polyscope that we used for visualization and for some of the figures in this paper.

BibTex references

  author       = "Jourdan, David and Skouras, Melina and Vouga, Etienne and Bousseau, Adrien",
  title        = "Printing-on-Fabric Meta-Material for Self-Shaping Architectural Models",
  booktitle    = "Advances in Architectural Geometry",
  year         = "2020",
  url          = ""

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» Adrien Bousseau