How virtual becomes real is a design studio offered by the Master of Architecture, MSD, Melbourne University, where the students deal with form-resistant structures, such as RC shells, steel gridshells and post-formed timber gridshells. The first edition was run by Alberto Pugnale and Louis Gadd in Semester 1, 2013.

The impact of the “digital” is growing exponentially in architecture, as demonstrated by Greg Lynn’s “BLOBs” and by the NOX “free-forms”. The adjective “free” here indicates the freedom to create architectural form, irrespective of any compositional, structural or construction principle. and, in this framework, form-resistant structures such as shells and gridshells are placed in a strategic position. On the one hand, they belong to a form-resistant structural typology – iconic projects by Frei Otto and Jörg Schlaich have always been the result of a creative-generative process that indissolubly welds structure and form. On the other hand, free-forms and BLOBs are forcing the limits of this classical approach, bringing new energy to this research area – the MyZeil shopping centre in Frankfurt and the Centre Pompidou in Metz are two recent examples of this trend.

Below you can see some sample projects from the first edition of the studio.