Architecture in the Making
Architecture as a Making Discipline
and Material Practice

Topological Interlocking Assemblies

Tessmann, Oliver

Project Contact:
Project Type: Research Project
Project Period: 20120110 - 20120430


This research project investigates topological interlocking assemblies for architectural constructions. Topological Interlocking Assemblies (TIA) are systems that unfold structural capacity by kinematically constraining and interlocking elements. Masonry is a simple example of an interlocking system. Nevertheless mortar, as additional rigid aggregate is needed to bind the elements. Assemblies with intricately interlocking modules in contrast, exclusively constrain their elements through inherent geometrical and topological properties. Topological interlocking systems were developed in material science and masonry construction. This project seeks to re-conceptualize the system within an architectural framework by embracing computational design, analysis and fabrication tools and procedures. The goal is to develop geometrical differentiated, reversible, force-locked systems and the processes and methods to design and manufacture them.


In 2012 Oliver Tessmann has taken up a new position as assistant professor in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH, Stockholm, in Architectural Technology. His teaching and research revolves around computational design and digital manufacturing in architecture.
He has been a Guest Professor at Staedelschule Architecture Class (SAC) in Frankfurt, heading the specialization “Architecture and Performative Design”. He worked with the engineering office Bollinger + Grohmann in Frankfurt at the interface between architecture and engineering. After graduating in 2001 at the University in Kassel he was working with Coop Himmelb(l)au in Mexico and Vienna and Bernhard Franken in Frankfurt.

In 2008 Oliver Tessmann received a doctoral degree after four years of research in the field of ""Collaborative Design Procedures for Architects and Engineers"" at the University of Kassel. The research sought for novel strategies to use structural analysis as a design driver in architecture by establishing digital interfaces between the disciplines. His work has been published and exhibited in Europe, Asia and the US.


  2013 (2)
Topological Interlocking Assemblies. Tessmann, O. In ECAADE 2012, Vol 2 : Physical Digitality, volume s. 211-219. ECAADE 2012, Vol 2 : Physical Digitality, 2013.
Topological Interlocking Assemblies [link]Paper   bibtex   abstract   buy
Interlocking Manifold : Kinematically constrained multi-material systems. Tessmann, O. In Advances in Architectural Geometry 2012, volume s. 269-278. Advances in Architectural Geometry 2012, 2013.
Interlocking Manifold : Kinematically constrained multi-material systems [link]Paper   bibtex   abstract   buy

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