international association for shell and spatial structures

Working Group 21: Advanced Manufacturing and Materials

Competition and exhibition of innovative lightweight structures - IASS 2023 (Melbourne)

Working Group 21 organised a competition for innovative pavilions at the 2023 IASS Symposium held in Melbourne Australia 10th - 14th July 2023 (see also Jury members for the expo in Melbourne Australia were Ruy Pauletti, Sigrid Adriaenssens, Arno Pronk, John Orr. The winning entries were: 

First Prize Winner
Project: HyparUp | A Reconfigurable Construction System Based on Hypar Timber Components
Design team: Markus Hudert, László Mangliár
Fabrication team: Sofia Colabella, Jack Halls, Michael Mack, Michael Park, Alberto Pugnale
Institutions: Aarhus University and University of Melbourne

Second Prize Winner
Project: Controlling Frills of Bending-active Negative Curvature Surface
Team: Fuki Ono, Miwako Kase, Kotaro Sempuku, Mizuki Shigematsu, Hiroki Tamai, Seri Nishimoto, Haruto Kamijo, Tomohiro Tachi
Institution: The University of Tokyo

Third Prize Winner
Project: X-Form 3.0 | Constructing Topologically Optimised Spatial Structure Using Mortise-and-Tenon Joints
Team: Xin Yan, Ding Wen ’Nic‘ Bao, Cong Cong Ren, Yi Min 'Mike' Xie
Institutions: RMIT University, Tsinghua University, and Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture

The WG21 expo in Melbourne was supported by Builder

IASS Barcelona Competition

With the attached link you will find a video of the iass Barcelona competition

Structural membranes 2023

In Valencia Spain  there will be a structural membranes conference from 2 to October 2023. At this conference there will be a special session about membrane molding techniques. For more information look at the attached link 

Arno Pronk is also member of the scientific committee of structural membranes


The construction of lightweight structures by cutting-edge techniques and smart materials for the built environment. The tension between idea and technique has taken an interesting turn. The possibilities offered by new modelling software and smart materials have led to very complex architecture in all its wealth and beauty. The building designs developed tremendously from mass production to very sophisticated, just-in-time-shape-and-place production. Construction of advanced building structures has become industrial design. In spite of what has been achieved, the gap between idea and technique has become larger. Working Group 21 aims to narrow this gap by providing a platform to exchange research and application of advanced manufacturing and materials.

The working group focuses on several topics of the manufacturing process. Researchers are invited to exchange knowledge, to organise sessions and to participate in workshops and exhibitions. Beside creating a knowledge platform within the IASS, the group wants to introduce interdisciplinary cutting-edge techniques and developments into the built environment. In general, the working group aims to bridge the gap between mechanical engineering and the built environment.

Current Objectives

The Working Group proposes to advance the following research topics in advanced manufacturing as related to spatial structures:
Additive manufacturing (spraying, extrusion, curing, melting, lamination, etc.)
  • Casting & moulding (flexible formwork, fabric formwork, adjustable formwork, inflatable formwork, vacuum moulding, blow moulding, etc.)
  • Connections (bolting, welding, lamination, clamping, stitching, rivets, flexible joints, kinetic joints, zip fasteners, hook and loop fasteners, interlocking connections, etc.)
  • Subtractive Manufacturing (milling, electro-chemical erosion, laser cutting, water jet cutting, etc.)
  • Robotics (mechatronics, manufacturing automation, drones, etc.)
  • Smart materials (micro and nano-fabrication, (bio)composites, metals (alloys), ceramics, natural/synthetic polymers, shape memory alloys etc.)
  • Textile technology (spinning, (3D) weaving, (3D) knitting, non-woven, etc.)
  • Surface treatment (polishing, coating, electrotyping, abrasive blasting, etc.)
In addition, the working group aims to organise exhibitions of innovative pavilions to stimulate research and to show the results of this research. For the realisation of those pavilions, the aim is for a synergy of academics, artist and companies.

Recent History

  • A competition and exhibition of innovative pavilions was organised at the 2015 IASS symposium in Amsterdam.
  • ISOFF organized a flexible formwork workshop and symposium at the 2015 IASS symposium in Amsterdam.
  • Sessions by several people were organised concerning fabrication and manufacturing at the 2017 symposium in Hamburg.
  • A session on flexible formwork at the 2018 symposium in Boston.
  • Exhibition/competition of innovative pavilions at the 2019 symposium in Barcelona.
  • 2019 Ice Pavilion Competition in cooperation with HIT, Harbin, China
  • In 2021 a competition was organised by WG21 in Surrey. This competition was a great succes with 15 participants from all over the world.
  • Due to the policy in China, there was no competition in 2022.

Anticipated Future Activities

  •     Organize an exhibition/competition of innovative pavilions at the 2023 symposium in Melbourne.
  • There will be an invited session on fabric form work at 2023 structural membranes conference. For more information, please consult


Fabric formwork - Facebook Group -

Structural ice website

    Current Membership

    The Working Group welcomes additional members who have an interest in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials; those interested should please contact the Chair or Co-Chair of the Working Group.

    Further Information for IASS Members

    Last updated oct 2022

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