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WORKING GROUP 21 Advanced Manufacturing & Materials

Working Group 21 is a sub group of the international association for shell and space structures (IASS). Within the scope of innovative lightweight structures the working group invites engineers, designers, artist, inventers and researches to exchange knowledge and information. You can support our initiative by joining our workgroup and by attending and joining our activities.

Background & Mission

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 we want 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.

Mission: The construction of lightweight structures by cutting-edge techniques and smart materials for the built environment.

Research Topics

Additive manufacturing

spraying, extrusion, curing, melting, lamination, etc.


flexible,fabric,adjustabl,inflatable formwork, vacuum,blow moulding, etc.

Textile technology

spinning, (3D) weaving, (3D) knitting, non-woven, etc.


mechatronics, manufacturing automation, drones, etc.

Surface treatment

polishing, coating, electrotyping, abrasive blasting, etc.

Subtractive Manufacturing

milling, electro-chemical erosion, laser cutting, water jet cutting, etc.

Smart materials

micro and nano-fabrication, (bio)composites, metals (alloys), ceramics, natural/synthetic polymers, shape memory alloys etc.


bolting, welding, lamination, clamping, stitching, rivets, flexible joints, kinetic joints, zip fasteners, hook and loop fasteners, interlocking connections, etc.

Future Activities

Ice structures 2017
2015 IASS symposium

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.

2017 symposium in Hamburg

Sessions by several people are organised concerning fabrication and manufacturing at the 2017 symposium in Hamburg.

2018 Ice structures in Harbin

We organize a student competition for the design & construct of ice structures in Harbin China from 17 to 22 december 2017. Visit Strctural Ice

2018 symposium in Boston

We intend to organize a session on flexible formwork at the 2018 symposium in Boston.

2019 symposium in Barcelona

We intend to organize an exhibition/competition of innovative pavilions at the 2019 symposium in Barcelona.

People who endorse this initiative

Given Name Family Name Country Affiliation
Arno Pronk (co-chair) Netherlands Eindhoven University of Technology
John Orr (co-chair) United Kingdom University of Bath
Lars De Leat Belgium Vrije Universtiteit Brussel
Lancelot Coar Canada University of Manitoba
Paulo Cruz Portugal University of Minho
Philipp Eversmann Switzerland ETH Zurich
Andereas Falk Sweden KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Günther Filz Austria Universität Innsbruck
Manfred Grohmann Germany University of Kassel
Walter Jack United Kingdom Artist
Harald Kloft Germany Technische Universitat Braunschweig
Benjamin Kromoser Austria Technische Universitat Wien
Olga Larsen Denmark The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Jana Lipkovski Germany Florian weinmann, design studio
Massimo Majowiecki Italy University of Bologna
Elke Mergny Belgium University of Liège
Caitlin Mueller United States Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cristina Nan United Kingdom University of Edinburgh
Ruy Pauletti Brasil University of são Paulo
Remo Pedreschi United Kingdom University of Edinburgh
Robert Schmitz United States Structural Engineer
Gennaro Senatore Switserland Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
Alexander Stahr Leipzig Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig
Romuald Tarczewski Poland Wroclaw University of Technology
Patrick Teuffel Netherlands Eindhoven University of Technology
Michela Turrin Netherlands Delft University of Technology
Wim van Beek Canada Mammoet
Ivo Vrouwe Belgium KU Leuven
Rosemarie Wagner Germany Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Yue Wu China Harbin Institute of Technology