T-Splines accelerates architectural shape development Print

Time to create the smooth continuous 3D surface model was reduced from weeks to hours.

The customer

magma architecture is an innovative architecture firm based in Berlin, Germany specializing in complex organic shapes.


“We are interested in complex architectural forms, which turn out to be difficult to build as a computer model. T-Splines made it possible to quickly create such a single accurate, smooth and continuous surface model.”
- Dipl. Ing. Martinn Ostermann grad. Dipl. Des. (AA), Managing Director, magma architecture

Case Study

The challenge

magma architecture needed to create a complex free-form fabric sculpture, with creases, blends, and irregular surfaces, as the central piece at the jetzt|now series at the Berlinische Galerie. The dimensions on the end holes were known, but the rest of the surface needed to flow smoothly. Using NURBS, it was difficult to achieve continuity in the middle of the surface while observing the creased conditions on the edges. The company needed an accurate digital 3D model of the sculpture for its archive, as well as for pre-production planning and promotion of the exhibit. It was very difficult to attempt this shape using traditional 3D architectural tools. What was needed was a tool that would allow representation of the complex shape as a single continuous surface, yet still allow full control.

The solution: T-Splines

After trying various NURBS approaches, Ben Reynolds at magma discovered T-Splines and learned about its ability to represent complex surfaces as a smooth single surface. He decided to start the job over using T-Splines, observing that it would be easier to start over with a smooth surface than to try to tease continuity out of the existing complex poly-surface. Once Reynolds discovered T-Splines, the company was able to create this smooth shape in much less time (12 hours) and achieve much smoother results than possible with NURBS.

Learn more

To learn more about how magma architecture completed their project with the help of T-Splines, there is a tutorial available on the case studies page.

Return to the case studies home page.

Visit our tutorials section.