Discrete differential geometry aims to develop discrete equivalents of notions and methods from smooth surface theory. It constitutes an area of active research in mathematics, but also provides an effective methodology for a variety of applications. This talk will illustrate the fruitful interplay between theory and applications of discrete differential geometry at the hand of selected topics in architectural geometry and computational fabrication. We discuss the construction of architectural freeform skins from flat, nearly rectangular panels, and associated support structures. These discrete surfaces are in a certain sense the smoothest polyhedral approximations of a given smooth surface. Other representatives of such discrete structures are related to curved folding patterns and origami. We also address the design and fabrication of gridshells from simple elements and various problems related to design and fabrication with isometrically deformable materials.
Helmut Pottmann is a professor of AMCS and CS at KAUST and founding director of the Visual Computing Center (formerly Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization Center). He has had faculty positions in the US and in Germany and has been a Professor of Applied Geometry at TU Vienna since 1992. His research interests are in Applied Geometry, Visual Computing, and most recently in Geometric Computing for Architecture and Manufacturing. He is a Fellow of SIAM and received a number of awards including the Eurographics Outstanding Technical Contributions Award, the Bezier Award of the Solid Modeling Association, and the John Gregory Award for fundamental contributions to geometric modeling.