Minimal Structures

Efficiency depends on the trinity of material, shape and the process of making. The lighter that constructions have to be, the more critical the balance between these three…… Beukers

Shaping forces originate in all natural spheres

  • in inanimate nature
  • in animate nature
  • in animal and human technology
  • in art
Examples of such natural forms are:
  • Basalt
  • Crystallization
  • Lead Sulphide
  • Clay
  • Berries
  • Radiolaria
  • Grasses
  • Coral
  • Termites
  • Spiders

Anticlastic Surfaces

The centers of curvature of the membrane are on opposite sides of the membrane e.g. hyperbolic parabaloid, torus

Synclastic Surfaces

The centers of curvature of the membrane are on the same side of the membrane.
e.g sphere or balloon

The Process of Making => Classes of Construction

  • Membranes
  • Nets
  • Pneumatics
  • Suspended
  • Arches, Vaults and Shells
  • Branched

Membranes

The structural membrane acts also as the weathershield

Cable Nets

A separate grid of structural cables supports a non–structural weathershield

Pneumatics

The tension force is created by an interior positive pressure and the membrane acts as the weathershield

Suspended

These constructions are usually curved in one direction only and are stabilized by their own weight, by stiffening the surface or guying.

Arches, Vaults & Shells:

Arch and vault constructions use little material and small mass when the form is generated by the inverted catenary, or for shells, the inverted net.

Branched

These constructions are three dimensional supporting systems based on minimal path systems. They can be investigated with soap films between two parallel plates.

A simple paraboloid is defined by a minimum of four points w/ at least one out of plane.

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Frei Otto – Tuwaiq Palace

About the Building:

  • Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1998.
  • enclosed by inclined curved walls, forming a sinuous curvilinear spine 800 m long, 12 m high, and 7-13 m wide, used for guest services and accommodations
  • outdoor sports facilities, gardens, and extensive landscaping laid out in a pattern of complementary spirals, circles, and curves, in harmony with the building’s undulations
  • Mushrooming from the spine are tents supported by tensile-structure technology
  • design makes reference to two local archetypes – the fortress and the tent
  • The tents enclose the large-scale spaces: main lounges, reception areas, multi-purpose halls, restaurants, and a café
  • dramatic contrast between the lush greenery of the outdoor spaces enclosed by the spine and the arid rocky plateau beyond its walls
  • The white tents are made of Teflon-coated, woven fibre fabric
  • The tents are enclosed by glass walls

LIFE:

  • Began experimenting with tents for shelter
  • After the war he studied briefly in the United States
  • Visited Erich Mendelsohn, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Began private practice in Germany in 1952

Awards

  • 1974 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture
  • 1996/7 Wolf Prize in Architecture
  • 2005 RIBA Royal Gold Medal

Style:

  • authority on lightweight tensile and membrane structures
  • concerned with space frames and structural efficiency
  • experimented with inflatable buildings

Inflatable buildings:

  • structure constructed using two layers of membrane connected together
  • cavity formed between the layers is pressurized with air producing a rigid structural element
  • pavilions, airships, furniture, airspace structures, boats, escape slides, security mattresses, swimming pools, coverings, games and castles, air bags

Academics

  • Otto founded the famous Institute for Lightweight Structures at the University of Stuttgart in 1964

List of Buildings:

  • 1967 – West Germany Pavilion at Expo 67 Montreal
  • 1970 – Tuwaiq Palace, Saudi Arabia, with Buro Happold
  • 1972 – Roof for Olympic Stadium, Munich
  • 2000 – Roof structure of the Japanese Pavilion at Expo 2000, Hanover Germany (provided engineering assistance with Buro Happold and architectural collaboration with Shigeru Ban)

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FREI OTTO – Olympic Stadium (Munich)

LIFE:

  • Began experimenting with tents for shelter
  • After the war he studied briefly in the United States
  • Visited Erich Mendelsohn, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Began private practice in Germany in 1952

Awards

  • 1974 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture
  • 1996/7 Wolf Prize in Architecture
  • 2005 RIBA Royal Gold Medal

Style:

  • authority on lightweight tensile and membrane structures
  • concerned with space frames and structural efficiency
  • experimented with inflatable buildings

Inflatable buildings:

  • structure constructed using two layers of membrane connected together
  • cavity formed between the layers is pressurized with air producing a rigid structural element
  • pavilions, airships, furniture, airspace structures, boats, escape slides, security mattresses, swimming pools, coverings, games and castles, air bags

Academics

  • Otto founded the famous Institute for Lightweight Structures at the University of Stuttgart in 1964

List of Buildings:

  • 1967 – West Germany Pavilion at Expo 67 Montreal
  • 1970 – Tuwaiq Palace, Saudi Arabia, with Buro Happold
  • 1972 – Roof for Olympic Stadium, Munich
  • 2000 – Roof structure of the Japanese Pavilion at Expo 2000, Hanover Germany (provided engineering assistance with Buro Happold and architectural collaboration with Shigeru Ban)

Olympic Stadium (Munich):

  • original capacity of 80,000
  • large sweeping canopies of acrylic glass stabilized by steel cables
  • the tensile glass tent-like roof

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