WIT Press

Lightweight Transformable Structures:materialising The Synergy Betweenarchitectural And Structural Engineering


Free (open access)

Paper DOI









1,924 kb


N. De Temmerman, K. Roovers, L. Alegria Mira,A. Vergauwen, A. Koumar, S. Brancart, L. De Laet& M. Mollaert


As opposed to conventional, static structures, transformable structures possess a transformational capacity enabling them to efficiently respond to altered boundary conditions, such as climatic conditions, different locations, varying functional requirements, or emergency situations. Generally, this capacity is provided through built-in mobility (structural mechanisms) or by means of assembly/disassembly of its constitutive members (kit-of-parts systems). The former group demonstrates kinematic properties that allow them to rapidly respond to changing needs by folding, expanding, or by any other form of deployment. Generally they come in the form of lightweight deployable structures that can easily transform between different configurations. This makes them fit for temporary, mobile applications or for adding adaptable sub-structures to buildings. In what follows, the research performed at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel by the Transform Research Group, the Lightweight Structures Lab, and the Mechanics of Materials and Constructions research group (MeMC), all collaborating on lightweight deployable structures, is presented. Through six case studies, diverse possibilities of deployable structures in architectural and structural engineering are explored. Key aspects concerning the design, analysis and construction of mobile, as well as adaptable constructions, are explained. Finally, conclusions are drawn on the intricate relationship between the geometric configuration, the kinematic behaviour and