Press Room

'Spatial Efficiency Now: Work from the Polyhedral Structures Laboratory at Penn'

Philadelphia–The Center for Architecture and Design and the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design stage an exhibition of models and photographs documenting some ongoing design research projects at the Polyhedral Structures Laboratory (PSL). PSL is an interdisciplinary research center working at the intersection of architecture, structural engineering, computer science, mathematics, and material science to bridge the gap between engineering and design.

Spatial Efficiency Now: Work from the Polyhedral Structures Laboratory at Penn 
Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia
Monday, December 2, 2019 – Thursday, January 16, 2020
Lecture and Reception
Monday, December 9, 6:00pm
With Dr. Masoud Akbarzadeh


Each work on display is a unique design response to specific conditions of forces being brought into equilibrium. These examples illustrate an unconventional design method that introduces the inclusion of force equilibrium at the very early stages of design. With this method, a designer can precisely control the geometry of the flow of forces in a three-dimensional space to design architectural structures. 

The works in this exhibition were designed using new methods of 3D Graphics Statics developed by the Weitzman’s School’s Assistant Professor of Architecture Dr. Masoud Akbarzadeh. PSL has developed a software based on this research called Polyframe Beta, a geometry-based, structural form-finding plugin for Rhinoceros3d. This tool allows architects and structural designers to explore a variety of unconventional spatial structural forms, accessing possibilities that they could not discover or design before. PSL is part of the Advanced Research and Innovation Lab in the Department of Architecture.

The Center for Architecture and Design provides Philadelphia with educational programs, exhibitions, and a public forum to explore architecture, urban planning, and design, allowing visitors the opportunity to understand how these disciplines affect us all in our daily lives. Using our city's distinctive breadth of architecture, pioneering urban design, and manufacturing heritage as the foundation for conversation, we educate the public through talks, exhibitions, publications, hands-on workshops, design competitions, festivals, and children’s programming. 

The mission of the Weitzman School of Design is to prepare students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation.

Image: Spatial Efficiency Now on view at the Cherry Street Pier as part of Design Philadelphia, October 2019


Contact: John Caperton, caperton@design.upenn.edu, 215.898.8194