Week 2: Research and Interests

On Wednesday I presented a menagerie of tensile membrane structures that I found interesting focused on two basic concepts.

Exoskeletal Supported Memberane Systems:

From looking at a variety of precedents I began to find interest in systems where the membrane is supported within an exterior structure. I especially enjoy the notion of how one can derive such a multifaceted object, from a simple, orthogonal structure. The precedent that seemed to tickle my fancy the most is the Schlumberger Research Facility designed by one of my favorite firms, Hopkins Architects. It’s true beauty lies in the simplistic complexity of the structures canopy roof, composed of 3 bays with 4 compression members on each corner, supporting a more multifaceted(18 sided) membrane within each bay. This membrane, composed of teflon coated fiberglsss provides natural light to its inhabitants without the blinding glare of the sun.


Schlumbereger: Hopkins Architects


Exoskeletal Structure: Tensoforma


Creative Function and Sustainability in Membrane Systems:

     Focus- Conical Structures

 Based on what I saw at the Lord’s Cricket Gound, I began to look into the conical shape and it many uses. A favorite precedent of mine is the newly built (2009) Rosa Parks Transit Station in Detroit, designed by FTL Design Engineering Studio. Like Schlumberger, the tensile structure is broken down into bays. Each bay consists of a double conical membrane suspended between two A-frame trusses. The form of these bays show us a new way of thinking about how a traditional form can provide an out of the ordinary, sustainable function such as rainwater collection. I also gained quite a bit of feedback about a fabric with photovoltaic panels woven into it, but I determined that I needed to do quite a bit more research on this subject.


Rosa Park's Transit Center: Model of Single Bay


FTL Photovoltaic Tensile Fabric


Based on feedback from my peers, I’ve decided to focus on how some of these systems in my precedents are implemented and focus on the sustainable aspect of tensile structures.

Stay tuned for more breakthroughs!


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