Evolution of the Shell Lace Structure

Tonkin Liu, the Britain-based architects and Arup Deutschland GmbH has created Shell Lace, an innovative building technique. The Shell Lace Structure is a system of thin steel sheets with meticulously engineered voids, connected in ridges and spirals that emulate the structural rigidity and delicate contours of sea shells — nature’s answer to generating maximum strength from minimum resources. The structural and fabrication technique combines digital modelling, digital analysis, with cost-effective laser-cutting fabrication, transforming flat sheet materials into lightweight self-supporting structures. The technique represents an adaptive approach to architecture that allows for enhanced means of expression as well as additional opportunities to respond to site, structure, and climatic requirements.