Tonkin Liu: The Evolution of Shell Lace Structure

An exhibition of unique drawings and models charting the evolution of a pioneering structural technique developed with engineers Arup. 


September 3 2014 • 10.00am
October 18 2014 • 5.00pm


RIBA Public Programmes (0)20 7307 3799


The Practice Space, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD







For six years, through both research and practice architects Tonkin Liu have been developing a pioneering tailored surface structural technique with structural engineers Arup. This unique shell-lace structure integrates the 500 million year-old structural principles of seashells and the ancient art of tailoring with today’s powerful digital tools, resulting in stunning geometric forms that gain strength and lock in stiffness through curvature and corrugation. 

This exhibition explores the process that bridges the growing gap in architectural design and the dichotomy between the analogue and the digital, beauty and efficiency, research and practice. 

Associated talk by Tonkin Liu
'Perspectives on Architecture: The Evolution of Shell Lace Structure'
Tuesday 16 September, 6.15pm to 7.15pm. FREE of charge.

Due to popular demand, this talk will now be repeated on Tuesday 7 October, 6.15pm to 7.15pm. Booking is essential.

RIBA Research Trust Award
In 2013 Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin of Tonkin Liu were recipients of the RIBA Research Trust Award for the 'Shell Lace Structure' project. You can find out more about them and other trust work at the RIBA Research home pages.

Exhibitions at 66 Portland Place are open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.