Structural integrity of fonts

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Results of the simulation. Form finding through deformation.

In “Critical Essays Volume III,” Roland Barthes argues that by using a structuralistic perception of language, the individual letter shows itself as an atomism of a universal and, thus, determined language system. The individual letter itself – based in a language system – appears to be meaningful. The following approach interprets letters as detached from a language system. The single and contextless letter will appear as “Adamic state of language”. “It is the before the guilt because it is the language before discourse, before the syntagma.” The demolition reinforces the original state of the letter on behalf of the language system by unfolding the aesthetics of the letter as an end in itself and wants to be understood as a structuralistic, linguistic, and cultural critique.

Fig. 36, Frei Otto, structural studies, 1962-63

Fig. 37 Cooling tower project, Frei Otto, 1974

Vertex-Spring systems are used in architecture and 3D-VFX for the simulation of textile surfaces and generation of minimal Surfaces. For this, links between the individual vertex-coordinates are treated like coil springs and their simulated behavior is calculated under the influence of external forces like wind or gravity. By choosing suitable parameters for the springs, it is possible to simulate stiff materials like iron sheets as well. Well-known examples of their use are Gaudi‘s Sagrada Familia and Frei Otto’s roof of the Olympic Stadium in Munich (both analog simulated examples).

Fig. 38 Tesselated character

Due to the different treatment of the font’s plane and curved surfaces through the tessellation algorithm, the subdivision of its nurbs surfaces into polygons, volumes of different structural strength are formed within one character. Curved volumes are generally stiffer than flat regions due to the higher structural resolution. During the simulation each font is accelerated and the deformation at impact on a collision object is calculated and stored. However, the simulation has its limitation: the simulation does not calculate tearing of geometry and does not recognize intra-geometric penetration.