Author : Taichi Kuma

University : University of Stuttgart

Status : MArch, 2014

Advisors : Prof. Achim Menges, Moritz Dörstelmann, Marshall Prado

Title : Integrative Computational Design for Spacer Fabric Architecture

Spacer fabrics are 3D warp-knitted fabrics, which have a [ volumetric structure] . Together with the capacity to differentially stretch and contract, these materials allow three dimensional which is specific to spacer fabrics.

This research presents a  [ computational design methodology ] which enables the generation of form based on these material characteristics and local, regional and global material manipulations. Such a process can not only generate functional surface articulations, but also control the forming of [ spatial textile geometries] .

As a resin infused composite structure, the  [ spacer fabric ] can serve as architectural construction and building envelope. This new methodology to develop fibrous and textile morphology is contrary to a traditional hierarchical design process, which is based on a linear strategy from design to implementation. The investigation methods are based on analogue material experimentation and integration of the materials behaviour into a computational design process. Such a feedback process can unfold potential material morphologies and performances of spacer fabric as an architectural material.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Taichi Kuma_ I want to explore the possibility of the elastic material for architectural material. “Spacer fabric” is usually used for bed or mattress material, but it has certain stiffness because of its 3D knitting pattern. This is why we can create complex and characteristic geometry without using any formwork.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
TK_ I am always interested in natural fiber structure, such as leaves or fruits. They are normally consist of continuous material, but their stiffness are differentiated from part to part according to the functions. I can learn a lot from those in terms of architectural design.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
TK_ In this master course I learned how to research a specific material from local and global viewpoints. What we can do for master year is very limited. But once we focus on the single topic, at least we can contribute to new material system of architecture. I think it is very scientific way to approach future architecture compare to traditional architect thinking.

S//A : Describe your dream project
TK_ In future I want to show how the material can change human life. I think architecture is always good demonstrator for this purpose. It doesn’t need to be big in the beginning, but I want to continue to research and keep building prototype by integrating various technology.