Speaker: Helmut Pottman

Title:  Geometric Computing for Freeform Architecture

Freeform surfaces play an increasingly important role in contemporary architecture. While digital models are easily created, the actual fabrication and construction of architectural freeform structures remains a challenge. In order to make a freeform design realizable, an optimization process known as rationalization has to be applied.

This means its decomposition into smaller parts, thereby meeting two competing objectives: feasibility, and consistency with the designer’s intentions. Mostly rationalization replaces smooth surfaces (possibly with an additional curve network on them) by other structures like meshes with special properties. The guiding thought in all considerations is the efficient manufacturing of the surface parts and their respective necessary supporting/connecting elements. Both simple geometry and repetition of elements contribute to this goal of efficiency. We report on recent advances in this new direction of Geometric Computing and discuss ongoing re!
 search on fabrication-aware design through shape space exploration, which unifies shape design and rationalization. While motivated by architecture, fabrication-aware design or design exploration is expected to be of great interest in other applications as well.

Dr. Helmut Pottmann is Director of the Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization Research Center and Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computational Science in the Mathematical and Computer Sciences and Engineering Division at KAUST. He assumed his duties in June 2009.
Dr. Pottmann is currently professor of Geometry and head of the Geometric and Industrial Geometry Research Unit at Vienna University of Modeling Technology. Previously he held faculty positions at the University of Kaiserslautern, Purdue University and the University of Hamburg. He has also been adjunct professor at the University of California, Davis, and visiting chair professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing.
His research interests are in applied geometry and visual computing, in particular geometric modeling, geometry processing, geometric computing for architecture and manufacturing, robot kinematics, 3D computer vision and visualization. He has coauthored two books and more than 170 refereed articles. He has also many years of experience in cooperation with industry. Dr. Pottmann tries to build bridges between academia and industry by linking topics of pure geometry to the solution of problems in various application areas. Currently, he employs and further develops methods of discrete and computational differential geometry for the solution of challenging problems which arise in the fabrication of freeform structures in contemporary architecture.
Dr. Pottmann is a member of the executive board of the Austrian Mathematical Society. He has been program director and vice chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design and served on the editorial boards of several journals and book series including Advances in Computational Mathematics, Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Geometric Design, Geometry and Computing, SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences and The Visual Computer.
Dr. Pottmann received his master’s degree and a doctorate in Mathematics from Vienna University of Technology.

TASC1 9204
Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 10:30