Gehry: Using Aerospace Software to Design & Build the Unbuildable

By: | October 20th, 2015

Achieving Maximum Aesthetic Impact

Frank Gehry’s architecture is well known for its complex curves and waves that were once considered too complex or radical for building structures, primarily because of the expense. But Gehry began turning his “gestural shapes” into buildable architecture using a software package called CATIA, discovered by colleague Jim Glymph.

The software is written in C++ and was developed by Dassault Systems, an aerospace manufacturer, which used it to design airplanes, including the Mirage Fighter Jet in 1977.

Sparking an Architectural Revolution

According to art historian Irene Nero, creating complex shapes can cost many multiples more than creating traditional flat structures. Gehry’s use of what is now being called “parametric design and building information modeling” ushered in a new era of architecture, allowing for unprecedented creativity in shaping new buildings.

The following image shows an illustration of a 3D Bezier surface and its control points:

In the following video, Gehry discusses the key role of CATIA software in his architectural creations:

David Russell Schilling

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