How Structures Move: Three Projects in Deployable Structures

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This paper describes three projects from a graduate structures course in the architectural curriculum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The senior author has been teaching "deployable structures" as part of required courses, as independent study and as an exclusive course when possible. Constructing transformable designs has been exciting and challenging to architecture students who typically design structures to be static. Students have been able to implement the principles and advantages of transformability, namely - deployability, lightness, ease of transportation, ease of erection and material reuse, in their design projects either in portions of their buildings or as the main structural system. This paper starts with a brief discussion of the importance of courses dedicated to deployable structures in architecture and architectural engineering curricula. The three projects are described to provide a sense of the knowledge and skills required by students to be successful in the endeavor. Both "research" and "learning by making" were central to the projects assigned. With American universities intrinsically serving as experimental grounds for rethinking design curricula, the possibilities of teaching a course on transformable architecture in the context of disciplinary diversity has never been as ripe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018


  • Architectural curriculum
  • Deployable
  • Learning by making
  • Transformability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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