Symmetry groups for understanding and interpreting structural grids of kinetic skins in architecture

Creative Commons License

Çavuş Ö., Sorguç A.

Mimarlıkta Sayısal Tasarım XV. Ulusal Sempozyumu, İstanbul, Turkey, 28 - 29 June 2021, pp.125-134

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.125-134
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Structural grids of kinetic surfaces are mostly neglected in the initial design phases in spite of their mechanical and visual significance. The grid design needs to be considered together with the hosted kinetic surface because these structures should be compatible with their mechanical components. Otherwise, the slightest change in the assigned motion can bloke the mechanism. Motion and mechanism are significant as kinetic structures are controlled mechanisms. Hence, designers need to understand and interpret structural grids of kinetic skins to increase efficiency and design variety. In this regard, this paper proposes symmetry groups as an alternative way for designers since these symmetry groups are related to tessellations. Indeed, these tessellations can be grid systems in architecture. Existing studies mostly investigate symmetry groups as a pattern generation tool. Beyond creating new patterns, they give an understanding of kinetic surfaces’ grids whose pattern can be either a single motif or an entire network. In this sense, this paper differs from existing relevant studies. Accordingly, this paper aims to show the relation between symmetry groups and the grid layout of kinetic surfaces in architecture. In this regard, it associates mathematical patterns of symmetry groups with kinetic surfaces. Then, it interprets these groups for grid design of kinetic skins in terms of the motion as kinetic surfaces are the moving bodies shifting their form. The original contribution of this study to the field of kinetic structures is that it offers architects or designers symmetry groups as an alternative way to understand and interpret structural grids for design variety. The result of the study shows that a grid design is linked to the motion during deployment, so they need to be considered from the lens of descriptive guidelines of moving bodies. Considering tessellations of kinetic surfaces based on symmetry groups, design variety can be increased, and their design would be performed from a holistic perspective.