Dr. Emily Whiting of ETH Zurich will speak on "Structurally-Informed Geometry: Designing Buildings and Objects with Physics in Mind."
My research aims to establish a new field of structural geometry processing that lies at the interface of geometric modeling, structural optimization, and architecture. My work is motivated by the idea that in computer graphics, many of the 3D objects we model are physically-inspired or are designed with the intent of being built or manufactured. Yet the tools developed for geometric modeling are unaware of structural considerations, largely based on geometric surface characteristics alone. In this talk I will discuss novel algorithms that use principles of mechanics and stability to enhance the traditional modeling pipeline.
I will cover two areas of recent work: the first focuses on architectural geometry with an emphasis on historic stone structures such as cathedrals. Structural feasibility is introduced into procedural modeling of buildings, and structural gradients are then presented for design of free-form geometry. The second area of work investigates design of fabrication-oriented objects. I will present a system that enables artists to use the concept of stability to produce static objects that stand in surprisingly balanced configurations. We formulate balance optimization as an energy minimization, and improve stability by a combination of volume carving and surface deformation. This research has been presented at SIGGRAPH, and featured in numerous media sources including MIT Technology Review, Make magazine, and the PBS NOVA web series 'The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers'.
Emily Whiting is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at ETH Zurich in the Institute for Visual Computing. Her research interests span architectural geometry, computer-aided design and 3D fabrication. Emily received her Ph.D. (2012) from MIT, where she worked jointly in Computer Graphics and Building Technology studying structural optimization of 3D masonry buildings. She obtained her M.Sc. (2006) in Computational Design from the MIT Department of Architecture, and B.A.Sc. (2004) in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. Emily's experience also includes R&D at Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic, structural design with Halcrow Yolles engineering firm, and cultural heritage projects of Italian architecture with the National Research Council of Canada.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.