Complex forms and form-finding
ABSTRACT: This paper will examine the integration of architecture and structural design in a symbiotic relationship that results in the generation of unprecedented built form. It is seldom considered or brought under review that the working practices or methods employed during the design of a project are tightly coupled and to a large extent responsible for the end form or product. The focus of this paper will be on the collaborative process between architect and structural engineer and the resulting innovative form that was borne from this process. The project involves the development of a building enclosure system that forms a portion of a large mixed use complex that includes retail, office, residential and hospitality uses in the United Arab Emirates. The challenge of this project lies in the variety of conditions the enclosure system was required to mediate. The project began as a design exercise to develop a skylight system to cover a large retail atrium. Through the collaborative process and the development of the system the project grew to include exterior walls, floors and protective coverings for terraces serving the hospitality areas.