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Jan Knippers


Jan Knippers is since 2000 head of the Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart and a consulting structural engineer. His interest is in innovative and resource-efficient structures at the intersection of research and development and practice. In addition to advanced wood and fibre structures, bio-inspired compliant mechanisms are one of Jan main research topics.
Jan published his works in several books and numerous scientific publications. From 2014 to 2019 Jan Knippers was coordinator of the collaborative research centre TRR141 „Biological Design an  Integrative Structures“ between the Universities of Stuttgart, Tübingen and Freiburg. Since 2019 he is Deputy Director of the Cluster of Excellence “Integrative Computational Design and Construction” and currently dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning in Stuttgart.


Compliant mechanisms are omnipresent in nature and, until now, have mostly been used for small technical devices, but are widely unknown on the larger scale of building construction. The urgent demand for more energy-efficient and sustainable architecture has been leading to a growing interest in adaptive building envelopes that can adjust themselves to changing external environmental conditions or internal comfort requirements. For kinetic systems in building construction, the criteria of “robustness” and “adaptability” are usually of major importance, whereas other aspects such as “accuracy” or “velocity” are of less relevance. Movements of many plant surfaces fulfil these criteria and are additionally interesting because of the often very aesthetic movement patterns. The lecture will present attempts to transfer plant movements to large scale architectural façade devices.

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