Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

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Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

Postby george85 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:56 pm

At architecture faculty in my country, there is a Phd degree thesis proposal:

"space frames and their potential in architecture"

I did a little search, and found out that this systems are:

From the engineering point of view: light, fully prefabricated, easy to assemble and erect, light to transport, can cover of huge spans, material savers (the amount of material spend is much less then at the solid systems) etc.

But I am a little bit confused about the Architectural potential of these structures - the main part of this thesis.

So what is the Architectural potential of these structures?
1. They are space forming structures - they define the shape of the buildings.
2. They have an influence on the overall architectural expression. What else?
3. I am also thinking of using the space frame as a high tech element - using it's structure as an ornament to express my vision of desired aesthetics.
I am starting to get scared, because I do not have a clue what I am going to write about this main part - the Architectural potential of space frames. And yes, I know that the answer to this is going to be: "you want to do a Phd thesis and you even do not have a clue what are going to write in it.". And I guess this is true.

Please, help. any kind of advice is valuable.
Thank you for all the answers.
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Re: Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

Postby missarchi » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:51 pm

I think you should do something else...
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Re: Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

Postby onq » Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:39 am

george85 wrote:At architecture faculty in my country, there is a Phd degree thesis proposal:

"space frames and their potential in architecture"

I did a little search, and found out that this systems are:

From the engineering point of view: light, fully prefabricated, easy to assemble and erect, light to transport, can cover of huge spans, material savers (the amount of material spend is much less then at the solid systems) etc.

But I am a little bit confused about the Architectural potential of these structures - the main part of this thesis.

So what is the Architectural potential of these structures?
1. They are space forming structures - they define the shape of the buildings.
2. They have an influence on the overall architectural expression. What else?
3. I am also thinking of using the space frame as a high tech element - using it's structure as an ornament to express my vision of desired aesthetics.
I am starting to get scared, because I do not have a clue what I am going to write about this main part - the Architectural potential of space frames. And yes, I know that the answer to this is going to be: "you want to do a Phd thesis and you even do not have a clue what are going to write in it.". And I guess this is true.

Please, help. any kind of advice is valuable.
Thank you for all the answers.


George,

Forgive me being so blunt, but you don't seem to have a grasp of the idea or strengths of a space frame - its not just an add-on "high tech element".

It main purpose is to span large areas with minimal mass using a fully triangulated structure.

Therefore the archtiectural potential automatically moves towards large-span or industrial spaces where intermediate columns might need to be avoided - factories, airports. conference centres and so on.

This in turn suggests its strengths will play to public buildings and non-residential buildings in general

Its external expression is usually defined by the envelope it supports, which blunts its otherwise dramatic appearance.

One weakness is the significant cost of the connector "nodes", although I have seen one clever solution that avoids this.

Another concern may be the means of fixing for the envelope -.

Being a metal structure it might expand significantly under heat gain and either the envelope or its fixings must allow for this.

Wiki does a good introductiry article on this subject, though not at a level suitable for a thesis I would have thought.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_frame

Look deeper into Buckminster Fuller and his structures and discoveries on the micro as well as the macro scale and also the Eden Project.

ONQ.
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Re: Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

Postby Bren88 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:15 am

My first reaction was that you are focusing on the frame itself and ignore (or prehaps not aware) that the fact that they cover large spans has huge architectural implications on other areas.

Clue: space frame = large span = bigger spaces + less columns = greater freedom architecturally
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Re: Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

Postby george85 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:21 pm

Thank you for the answers.
Any other suggestions?
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Re: Space frames and their potential in architecture ?

Postby george85 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:56 am

I am am sorry for the late reply, but somehow, I manage to read the onq's post in full, right now.

But, It seems that Miss/Mrs/Mr "onq" do not read other people's post neither. Here we go:

onq wrote:its not just an add-on "high tech element".


You are right, like I said, its not just an add-on "high tech element", it has also some of these advantages:

george85 wrote:light, fully prefabricated, easy to assemble and erect, light to transport, can cover of huge spans, material savers (the amount of material spend is much less then at the solid systems) etc.


then you said:

onq wrote:It main purpose is to span large areas with minimal mass


and you are right again, like I said:

george85 wrote:light, ... , can cover of huge spans, material savers (the amount of material spend is much less then at the solid systems)


Next thing:

onq wrote:Being a metal structure it might expand significantly under heat gain and either the envelope or its fixings must allow for this.


Insulated aluminum panels or E-low glass panels used for cladding can significantly decrease the direct exposure of the steel/aluminum space frame construction to the sun and heat.
In a case where the construction is more exposed to the sun and heat, the stresses in the members and nodes due to temperature change load, still can not be compared with those from the dead load or snow, as they are much smaller. Apart from this vertical loads, wind load is also a much bigger problem than temperature change you mentioned.

onq wrote:... using a fully triangulated structure.


No. Triangular shape is the most statically stable one, but this does not mean that you can not use a some other shapes. In fact, two layer space frames are in 90 % of the cases done with polyoctaedars (or in western literature: tetrahedrons, pyramid with quadrilateral base - rhomb, rectangle, square). You can even use the pentagon shape...

Also, as you can see, I already used the wiki page about space frames in my first post. But somehow you seemed to missed this too.

Thanks for the answer anyway.
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