Gennaro Senatore has designed a series of software applications to ease and enrich the process of teaching structural mechanics, engineering and architecture. Educational apps PushMePullMe 2D, Catastrophe and Make A Scape have been adopted by educators to aid the teaching of structural design principles to high-school and undergraduate students.

School-aged learning outcomes:

  • Engineers design structures that support our way of life
  • Engineers design structures through scientific principles to resist physical forces
  • Effect of gravity on structures
  • Effect of loads (wind, snow, people) on structures
  • Tension and compression elements
  • Different types of triangulated structures

Undergraduate learning outcomes:

  • Support reactions, and their proportions
  • Simple mechanisms
  • Internal forces
  • Bending moment and shear
  • Displaced shape
  • Bracing
  • Slenderness
  • Buckling
  • Stiffness of structures
  • Types of spanning structure
  • Live loading (wind, snow, people)
  • Value of material conservation and reuse

PushMePullMe 3D has been employed to aid the teaching of more advanced topics including geometric nonlinear behavior as well as shape optimization and form-finding. The model is able to compute complete stress-field and displacements, including rigid body motion, in real-time. Geometric nonlinearity is handled inherently since force equilibrium is computed on the deformed shape. PushMePullme 3D enables the digital version of the hanging chain model to determine efficient and stable shapes of cable-nets, vaults and free-form structures. In addition, PushMePullme 3D allows the use of beam elements during form-finding (i.e. active bending), which, among other uses, can be employed to model the erection of grid shells from flat grids. Scaled models of grid-shells designed through PushMePullme 3D have been successfully built. According to the workshop organizers, the students responded extremely well to the software, the use of which enabled them to produce complex yet buildable structures in a short time (1-3 days).

Graduate learning outcomes:

  • Shape optimization and form-finding
  • Geometric non-linear behavior
  • Local and global buckling
  • Effect of prestress
  • Grid-shells
  • Cable nets
  • Cable-strut structures
  • Tensegrity structures
  • Morphing and adaptive structures

Workshop Organizers (selection):
Stylios Yiatros | Brunel University
Lawrence Coates | University of East Anglia
Gregory Brooks | University of Texas at Austin
Cristoph Gengnagel, Gregory Quinn | Berlin University of the Arts

Technical and pedagogical assistance:
Gennaro Senatore

PushMePullMe 2D
PushMePullMe 3D
Make A Scape

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teaching / Workshops