Aline Vergauwen

Aline Vergauwen

Ir. arch. Aline Vergauwen is a PhD researcher at the Department of Architectural Engineering of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She obtained the degree of “Master of Sciences in Architectural Engineering” at the VUB in 2011. Next, she started here PhD research under the supervision of prof. dr. ir. Niels De Temmerman as a member of the research group TRANSFORM. Here research is about curved-line folding, a technique to design innovative pliable systems for kinetic architectural applications and is funded by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.


PhD research

Curved-line folding: a technique to design innovative pliable systems for kinetic architectural applications

Date2011 - 2016
SupervisorsNiels De Temmerman and Lars De Laet
FundsVrije Universiteit Brussel

Curved-line folding is the act of folding a flat sheet of material along a curved crease pattern in order to create a 3D shape, using the combination of folding (plastic deformation) and bending (elastic deformation). Most applications of curved-line folding only make use of the end state of the folding process: a static solution obtained through folding along a curved crease pattern. However, the elastic deformations that occur when a flat sheet is forced into a curved shape can produce an interesting transformation process. When one surface area is bent, the forces and moments are transmitted through the curved creases to the adjacent surface areas, which results in a folding motion. As a result, this kind of transformation process could be used for the development of a new type of pliable system, finding its application in the context of kinetic architecture.

The aim of my PhD research is to study the potential of curved-line folding as a technique to design pliable systems for kinetic architectural applications. The main goals is to better understand the relationship between the geometry, the kinematics and the structural behavior of different systems. The main challenge, however, is to find solutions for the materialisation and actuation of this new kind of deployable structure.

Master’s thesis

A design strategy for the transformation of vacant office buildings into schools

Date2010 - 2011
SupervisorNiels De Temmerman

The oversupply of office space and the shortage of schools in the Brussels Capital-District are indicators of the fact that our society is changing so rapidly, that constant transformation of our infrastructure is required in order to respond to these changes. However, due to the static character of our current building stock, transformation and adaptation of buildings often results in the demolition of building parts or even entire buildings. To avoid this, it should be possible to substantially reuse the inherent energy and materials of a building and in this way extend the sustainability of the building’s total life cycle. Extending the life cycle of buildings, their components and materials implies the ability to transform them by means of reconfiguration and disassembly. This research proposes a strategy for the transformation of vacant office buildings into schools, as an approach to solving the high office vacancy rate and the lack of schools in Brussels, and with the aim of increasing a building’s transformation capacity. This will be done by applying four-dimensional design strategies in a transformation strategy that aims at increasing the building’s transformation capacity. It was also found important that a mix of functions be created for a successful transformation. The strategy consists of two parts. The first part is a strategy for choosing a suitable vacant office building, while the second part defines guidelines for every building layer in order to make the transformation technically feasible while taking into account measures to increase the transformation capacity of the building. Additionally, the strategy is applied to a real situation in a design proposal for building G on the RAC-site in Brussels. In this way, the strategy can be tested on a design case and optimized using the feedback obtained by the application.