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Manja van de Worp


  • Manja van de Worp
  • Area

    School of Architecture


    Tutor (Structures & Technology)

  • Manja van de Worp is a tutor (Structures & Technology) in the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. In her role, she conceptualises, coordinates, and administrates research into structural studies across the School and explores new academic developments into structural innovations.

  • Biography

  • Manja van de Worp is a trained architect and structural engineer from the Netherlands and completed a postgraduate in Emergent Technologies and Design at the Architectural Association (AA) in 2007. Her expertise lies in the translation of an idea into a working structural design, relating fabrication, materiality and geometry, working closely with architects and artists.

    She has worked for Arup in London in the Advanced Geometry Unit and at the Advanced Technology and Research group in ARUP, designing structures with a complex geometry and moveable structures.

    Manja launched NOUS engineering LONDON (now YIP, Yes It's Possible) in 2013, an engineering consultancy bearing extensive knowledge of advanced structural analysis tools, complex structural systems, materials and fabrication technologies. YIP combines Structural design, Geometry & Fabrication.

    Current projects involve a FRP shell and a modular steel roof structure.

    Next to that YIP is involved in research based projects, looking at innovative ways to use timber, 3D printing of concrete, searching how materials not conventionally used in structural design could find their way into building engineering.

    Manja has over 10 years' experience teaching structural design to Architects in undergraduate to postgraduate level.

    Manja runs the design and build project for the Emergent Technology & design department at the Architectural Association in London, a yearly timber wooden structure project exhibited at Timber Expo sponsored by Trada. She also teaches a graduate course in Mass Customisation at the AA exploring new design methodologies and has been involved in Technical Studies at AA between 2007 and 2017.

    Manja holds a lecturing position at the  Institute of Advanced Architecture Cataluña, IAAC in Barcelona, teaching Data Informed structures to MArch Students, linking digital structural simulation to Physical prototyping and understanding structural design performance.   Next to that she teaches workshops worldwide.

    Key Academic projects:

    • Membrane + [2016] :  'Active fabrication' utilising pre-stressed membrane and buckled plywood strip pattern
    • AAVS – Kuwait [2016] : Emergent Constructions
    • Twist, [2015 ]articulated surface utilising the fibre orientation and stiffness of elements – Timber design award 2016
    • Fingers crossed [2014] – Interlocking friction + geometry to form shell without mechanical fixing
    • Milan, FouriSalone, Unfold [2014] – Folding + Karamba + Kangaroo: 6 day workshop Milan’s Design Week
    • IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture Cataluña, Barcelona Surface Active Structures using Karamba plugin for Rhino [2014] [2015]

    Manja's research interest combines Innovative structural design with explorations of new design methodologies.

    Working on the idea of multiple stables, one branch explores the idea of 'life long design' - and how a design can evolve with you - how we design for growth, change, interaction and embedded multiple 'stable configurations', that can be triggered as different behaviours.

    The work on multiple stables states is a result of the postgraduate dissertation in Emergent Technologies and Design at the AA in 2007. 

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  • Practice

  • YIP Engineering London

    YIP Engineering (former NOUS engineering London) offers sophisticated bespoke engineering solutions to architects, artists and developers. We seek out synergies between engineering and design, and are continually adapting to engage with advanced simulation software and cross-platform links between design, structure and fabrication.

    YIP holds specific expertise in Structural design, linking structure geometry & fabrication. With the design philosophy: YIP 'Yes It’s Possible', we challenge how one might think of structural design.

    Projects have explored new materials as Seaweed and Paperpulp + rope as structural materials in installations. Others involve a high-rise project in China, referencing Tetris as varying stiffness and porosity of the façade linking structural performance in a seismic area to architectural spatial drivers. 

    Ruins Studio, designed by Lily Jencks & Nathanael Dorent, (finished 2016) has won various awards. The private house in Scotland, is built inside ruins and houses an amorhp timber / GRC interior structure.

    Key projects YIP / NOUS:

    Manja has worked in the Advanced Geometry Unit in Arup with Cecil Balmond, and in the Advanced technology and research department designing moveable structures, building an extensive knowledge on special architectural structures.

    Projects include a glass house designed by Heatherwick Studio, Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke Mill: Heatherwick Studio and NUS kinetic Façade, the design of a retractable origami façade that forms an external shading device based on the Momotani folding pattern and West 8 - Wenduine pedestrian bridge  Interwoven timber trusses resembling driftwood, where variation in the truss allows for section size and material to generate the randomness.
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Selected work


Research interests

Manja van de Worp's research interests combine Innovative structural design with explorations through new design methodologies learning from different industries.

One key interest is multiple stable states; designs that house multiple embedded performances which can be triggered over the lifetime of a design, providing a new form of multi optimisation – curating interacting digital and physical parameters.

This quest revisits how we design, a place where product can be read as process. It is not anymore static, it is able to evolve from its first 'state' to the next and grows with you.

Behind the scenes, a powerful curation allows for the “unknown”; interacting parameters working through means of redundancy – a multiplicity of combinations - to drive a continuous equilibrium – i.e. multiple stable states embedded in one 'object'. 

Today everything is about performance, which can be classified, measured and drives design. I want to take this opportunity to make an evolving performance, which is not only about how we compute but also how we create, interact and engage: a creative personalised LONG LIFE performance.