Discovering Architecture within a Seashell
Kamon Jirapong and Robert J. Krawczyk
Illinois Institute of Technology, College of Architecture

Elevation View Perspective View Section View
Tapestry Turban
Turbo petholatus Linnaeus
Perspective View Perspective View Perspective View
Horn Snails
Tapestry Turban Variation

Architectonica perpectiva Linnaeus

Telescopium telescopium Linnaeus
Turbo petholatus Linnaeus

In the study of nature as a basis for architectural form, we studied actual seashells to determine their mathematical foundation. In this sequence of images a seashell is cut and scanned, then the scanned image is converted to a drawing which can be used to measure the shell's growth properties. Of interest is the relationship of the radius of the seashell section and its growth rate and the change in the height of the seashell. From the measured data a series of equations were developed that best fit the shell's growth.

The growth equations were used to create a digital model of the shell. In this particular approach, the exterior markings of the shell were of little interest. We concentrated on determining the intersection of the seashell section during the growth process. This would enable us to produce an accurate internal structure of the shell.

This phase of the research resulted in a series of renderings of a sample set of seashells.

Shell Photos Cut Shell
Shell Scan Shell Drawing
Measurements Shell Data

The renderings convey the perfect quality that the equations produce and transparency highlights the internal structure of each shell and also the delicate nature of the actual seashell.

The next phase of the research will determine, from this study of shells, their primary form properties and then suggest a set of architectural forms.

Summary Height
Section Growth

Copyright 2001 Kamon Jirapong and Robert J. Krawczyk, All Rights Reserved.