The forms of architectural surface have evolved over generations, from thick, heavy masonry walls to thin, light curtain walls. In the process of studying architectural surfaces, people have kept discovering knowledge for the application of new substances and materials, and the historical mission of walls in terms of weight-loading has been gradually discharged, embarking on the emancipation and pluralization of the system of surfaces. In the digital era of information explosion, precise computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques have allowed designers to focus the issue of architectural design on "hyper-surface", leading to the creation of more diverse surface forms.
By means of the simulation through computer animation as the tool of design conceptualization and operation, the study would try to look into the potential for kinetic surfaces of organic architecture with an eye on a typological analysis of the development of the forms of kinetic surface. The study would also apply digital fabrication techniques to reflect on buildings with kinetic surfaces in a bid to explore the potential for applying digital technologies to develop buildings with kinetic surfaces shaped by the process in which organic kinetic surfaces are conceptualized, meditated, simulated, fabricated and assembled.
Computer animation software have employed to simulate surface waves when the idea of kinetic surface develops, transforming surface waves in motion into the ripple simulation of movements generated by mechanical kinetic surfaces. With the experiences of the ripple simulation, specific devices for generating kinetic-surface ripple have been developed to create more kinetic-surface devices, such as those for ripple wall, mechanical leaf wall, powered mechanical leaf wall and mechanical leaf wall of the multiple-cannular style.
The process from developing concepts of the devices to materializing the concepts has revealed that mechanical movements only existed in the artificial world. However, the capabilities demonstrated by life forms'' organic surfaces go beyond the scope of modern technologies, and, as a result, there are still many issues, with regard to human attempts to imitate Nature through artificial machinery, which are worthy of more investigations. From single-mode movements to multiple-mode ones, even to the movements of mechanical surfaces in a hierarchical form, all of them are the preliminary approaches to try to learn lessons from Nature. Meanwhile, the process of imitation and learning has enabled researchers to ponder over the relations between artificial objects and Nature.