Masterstudiengang Architektur Forschungsfeld

  Weaver birds building a nest  

Masterstudiengang Architektur Forschungsfeld

Nicht verfügbar Learning from nature - Learning from avian nest constructions - Teaser


In nature, every object has a particular form shaped by a material formation process. These objects, of inanimate or animate matter, tell the story of their formation process. In architecture, we refer to them as natural constructions to distinguish them from human-made ones. The human being has been observing and mimicking natural constructions since ancient times seeking novel and efficient technologies. This course aims to study the processes that form natural organizations, more precisely: constructions made by animals.

Animal constructions differ in their complexity regarding their phylogenetical development; therefore, highly developed animals built primitive structures and vice versa. For this course, we decided to focus on the study of avian nests since they can be analyzed in detail from their manufacturing technique, load capacity, and forces influencing their final form.

This course won the competition  “International collaboration online” (ICON) which objective is to foster collaboration between students at RWTH and partner universities, as well as English-language MOOCs. Therefore, we created “Learning from avian nest constructions” in collaboration with the Chair of Morphology led by Univ.-Prof. Arch. Marina Lencinas at the  Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism (FADU) at Buenos Aires University (UBA).

Learning Objectives:

  • Implementation of digital tools such as 3D modelling and visual programming (Rhinoceros, Grasshopper) to study and assess the principles of nature that characterizes avian nest constructions;
  • Identification of the design principles that govern the construction of the object of study: interlocking, deposition, or weaving;
  • Determination of the material combination of the objects of studio: purely exogenous or exogenous-endogenous;
  • Protocol definition based on the collected information and translation into 3D models, aiming to understand the relation of single components with the nests’ global construction strategy;
  • Definition of mechanical properties variation through structure-to-function approach;
  • Lessons learned application to architectural-scale constructions.

Learning outcomes:

  • Have a general overview of structural principles of natural and animal constructions;
  • Have specific knowledge on model-based avian nest constructions;
  • Be able to evaluate the physical integrity and spatial relationships of materials of avian nest constructions with the help of 3D modeling;
  • Be able to identify whether the structural morphology responds to the applied load, material properties, structural organization, or a combination of more of these conditions;
  • Be able to translate and apply evidence-based protocols on architectural-scale structures with the help of visual-based programming as GH;
  • Be able to prototype scale-models of the architectonic parametric structures developed during the course.

Application: RWTHonline

Start: Monday, 10.10.2022, 15:00 - 16:30 DE

Meetings: Tuesdays, likely 15:00 - 16:30 DE

Final Submission/Evaluation: Tuesday, 31.01.2022, 14:00 - ca. 17:00

Tutors:  Dana Saez M.Sc.

Guest Tutor (FADU UBA): Santiago Miret M.Sc., M.Sc.

Language: English

Examiner: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Trautz

More information about our collaboration partners: