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Stijn Brancart

Ir. arch. Stijn Brancart (°1990) is a PhD researcher at the Architectural Engineering Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He obtained his master's degree in Architectural Engineering at the VUB in 2013. Later that year he started a PhD research under supervision of prof. dr. ir. arch. Niels De Temmerman and prof. dr. ir. arch. Lars De Laet. This research focuses on the development of new kinematic systems for transformable structures based on the principle of active bending, i.e. structural, elastic bending. For this research Stijn received a PhD grant from the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) in 2014.

Projects

PhD research

Analysis and development of transformable bending-active systems for mobile architectural applications

Analysis and development of transformable bending-active systems for mobile architectural applications

Date2013 - 2017
SupervisorsNiels De Temmerman and Lars De Laet
FundsAgency for Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT)

In a rapdily changing society it is important to have structures that can adapt their shape and function to changing conditions and temporary structures that can be immediately erected and removed again. Despite a growing interest in these transformable structures, e.g. for disaster relief or shelter for temporary events, architectural realisations remain limited. The high complexity of the connections and the relatively high selfweight in comparison to other lightweight structures restrict their realisation. By deliberately applying reversible, elastic deformations these problems can be tackled. Recent research focuses on this 'active bending' to create curved surface structures out of initially straight or planar elements. This research project proposes to develop innovative structural systems based on the active bending-principle for transformable and mobile structures. For these systems the integration between the material properties, the stability and the geometry (or possible geometries in the transformation process) of the structures will be investigated along with the development of technical solutions for the realisation of the transformable active bending-structures. An evaluation can then be made that compares the properties of these new systems with respect to the existing ones based on conventional, stiff components.

Master’s thesis

Planning for change: an adaptable spatial planning approach towards sustainable urban development

Planning for change: an adaptable spatial planning approach towards sustainable urban development

Date2012 - 2013
SupervisorsNiels De Temmerman and Marc Martens

The rapid increase of urbanisation and population worldwide has led to the proliferation of related urban sustainability problems. Consequently, urban areas are in need of theories that can guide them towards more sustainable urban development. Spatial planning approaches should enable cities to respond to changing conditions and survive unexpected shocks and fluctuations. The often static nature of urban elements and spatial organisations results in high construction and demolition waste and the inability to adapt to changes, causing high vacancy rates, shortages and destabilisation of the urban system, amongst other problems. Meanwhile, cities are confronted with a growing sense of temporality and urban experimentation that goes against the prevalent ‘dream of permanence’ and a craving for stability and security.

Planning for change proposes an adaptable spatial planning framework aiming to increase the urban system's capacity to adapt to (unexpected) changes. Its key element is a layer approach that combines spatial elements with a similar rate of change. The approach redefines the role of the planner/designer as the 'director' of existing urban processes in contrast to the obstinate notion of the urban 'creator'. Based on the study of urban transitions and complex adaptive systems, this approach stimulates design and planning to interact with the urban system's complex processes, such as self-organisation and emergence. Thus, these changing procesess can steer a more sustainable urban development.

Awards

Most innovative structural concept at the IASS 2015 International Expo on Future Visions in Structural Engineering

Most innovative structural concept at the IASS 2015 International Expo on Future Visions in Structural Engineering

Date2015

The Undulatus project was awarded the prize for most innovative structural concept during the International Expo on Future Visions in Structural Engineering in Amsterdam. After a short presentation by Stijn Brancart, the jury of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures selected the Undulatus out of 30 pavilions, for its innovative structural design concept, rapid assembly method and parametric design and fabrication.