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Old August 22nd, 2010, 05:40 PM   #1
nedostizni
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What is the Architectural potential of space trusses-frames?

At architecture faculty in my country, there is a Master degree thesis (something like a final work, a graduation work):

"Lightweight three dimensional grid load bearing structures (space trusses-frames) and their relationship with architecture."

There were couple of other thesis too, but this one was the most interesting for me, so I decided to take this one, even I was not completely sure what is the main aim of this thesis.

I talked to my mentor and he said that I need to investigate the Architectural and engineering potential of these space trusses. I didn't quite understand him, but he said: "do a little search, then come back after the vacations". He said about a month ago. Unfortunately he is sick now (his second heart attack), and will probably be absent from the faculty in next few weeks. I tried asking some other professors, but they said that he is the appropriate one (he is teaching at the "Constructions and Construction systems in Architecture" cathedry), and that I need to wait for him.
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 and convinient for transport, can cover of huge spans, material savers (the amount of material spend is much less then at the continum systems) etc.

But I am a little bit confused about the Architectural potential of these structures - the main part of this thesis. After all I am studying the Architecture, not Engineering, so I need to focus myself mainly on the architectural potential of this structures.


So what is the Architectural potential of these structures? They are space forming structures - they define the shape of the buildings. They have an influence on the overall architectural expression. What else? 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 trusses.

Please, help. any kind of advice is valuable.
Thank you for all the answers.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 09:35 PM   #2
redstone
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Ability to span huge areas without support, hence a more flexible usage can be achieved below it. They can bend and create forms, feel light as compared to thicker trusses.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 05:26 PM   #3
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Thank you for the answer redstone, I really appreciate it.
But if you take a closer look to my first post, those are all things that I mentioned. I am not trying to sound ungrateful.

Any other Architectural potential of space trusses? Maybe the main answer to my question lies in the aethetical part?
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Old August 25th, 2010, 02:38 AM   #4
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If this was a Phd thesis (for example a Phd that lasts for 3,4 years) what would change?

How to express an aesthetical part of the space frame potential, if I have a 3,4 years to work on it?
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Old August 25th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #5
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I'm sorry my qualification is below a Masters.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 01:04 AM   #6
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No problem, this is not about how to write a Master thesis.

I just want to know, what will be main direction for writing this kind of Phd topic - "Space frames and their potential in architecture".
If I have a 3, 4 years for Phd, what will be the main thing to focus on? Aesthetics potential? If so, then how to present it?
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Old August 27th, 2010, 12:14 PM   #7
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http://www.pushpullbar.com/forums/forum.php

I use to frequent this forum. It's more toward architecture than here.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 05:01 PM   #8
nedostizni
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Thank you for the link redstone.
I am also registered at pushpullbar, and posted the same topic with the same title few days ago .
There are some replies, but still not the right ones.

Thank you anyway for concern, I appreciate that.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedostizni View Post
Thank you for the link redstone.
I am also registered at pushpullbar, and posted the same topic with the same title few days ago .
There are some replies, but still not the right ones.

Thank you anyway for concern, I appreciate that.
No problem. Hope you find the answer you need soon.
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Old August 30th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #10
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I don't get it.

Don't you think that the wording "architectural potential" sounds a little bit strange and too general at all? It's quite obvious that it has some potential as well as the every structure and technique we use to create architecture. So what should you finally do? Describe it? If so, the only thing you need is just to explore few exaples and then to present how it works. But I don't think it's a good way. I guess it's more about how you use such a structure to find your own architectural solution for the object you work on. Try to focus yourself on the process of how that space trusses-frames could become an architectural expression and not only on the fact that a structure support or cover something, whatever.

And I recommend to return to it:

Quote:
From the engineering point of view: light, fully prefabricated, easy to assemble and erect, light and convinient for transport, can cover of huge spans, material savers (the amount of material spend is much less then at the continum systems) etc.
Quote:
Ability to span huge areas without support, hence a more flexible usage can be achieved below it. They can bend and create forms, feel light as compared to thicker trusses.
The size of an enclosed space, the transparency, the shape... This is all about architecture! You can create totally diverse buildings using different materials. I'm sure you are able to see a high difference existing between a mostly masive concrete structure and a filigree stell grid... especially from the architectural point of view!

Besides, I like to see a structure or a framework as a part of architecture you can experience. Being between two pillars or moving from one to the other in horizontal or vertical direction also makes you feel something.

Put up the comments from the pushpullbar please. I'm curious
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Old August 31st, 2010, 05:58 PM   #11
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Thank you for the answer Yakub. Finally a worth reply.

Can you clear a little bit this part:

Quote:
Besides, I like to see a structure or a framework as a part of architecture you can experience. Being between two pillars or moving from one to the other in horizontal or vertical direction also makes you feel something.
P.S.

Here are the replies from pushpullbar:
http://www.pushpullbar.com/forums/sh...trusses-frames
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Old September 5th, 2010, 05:18 PM   #12
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Old September 6th, 2010, 12:46 AM   #13
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First thing I have to think of is the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts by Norman Foster

It isn't a space frame - in this sense that it is a one-dimensional span; it is a series of structural frames - but it does use the space-frame-like structure architecturally in a very suitable and sensitive way.

What Foster does - how I see it - is using the tension of this structure being at the same time a big block - porous but solid - and a complex void. The architectural potential here is found in exposing, semi-exposing and hiding the trusses. And of course to use them as elements that give rhythm, body and detail to the space. It is considered one of the best buildings by Norman Foster.





image hosted on flickr



Second thing I have to think of isn't as reference-worthy, but nevertheless. Space Frames are often used in border stations, toll gates, airport halls and entrance buildings. What always fascinated me is how it goes from feeling solid to feeling barely anything when driving past. It is a graphical trick, but very effective. There's a building i must have past hundreds of times (the entrance of the DAF factories) that always caught my attention as a kid, and still does.



If I'd have to design a building with this structure, I'd start from these two elements. 1. Exposing and hiding the visual complexity of the structure. 2. The dramatic difference in effect from the diagonal to the perpendicular perception, from high to low viewpoint etc



As for constructive/architectural characteristics, it has a big disadvantage above one dimensional truss-systems: it fills the space it uses. With minimum material it manages to eat maximum space. In other words: mostly it is tried to use the space needed for constructive span at the same time for functional space. For example the boxes at MVRDV's WOZOCO are in fact giant trusses, covered with wood, with windows placed in the space between the diagonals.





Thanks to the forest of diagonals in the space frame (in both directions) the use of this space is very limited.

(however, when big enough, it would be possible to lay a pathway inside the structure (at 1/3rd of the height), and the very same forest would feel like a high tech triangular version of Istanbuls Cisterns - apart from impressive it still would be pretty useless though ... it's biggest potential still is being a high tech ornament)

Last edited by Concrete Stereo; September 6th, 2010 at 12:54 AM.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:02 PM   #14
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Thank you for the reply Studio concrete.

Can you just clear a little bit this last part, and especialy the "it's biggest potential still is being a high tech ornament" part:

Quote:
(however, when big enough, it would be possible to lay a pathway inside the structure (at 1/3rd of the height), and the very same forest would feel like a high tech triangular version of Istanbuls Cisterns - apart from impressive it still would be pretty useless though ... it's biggest potential still is being a high tech ornament)
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Old September 7th, 2010, 05:59 PM   #15
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what I mean is to do this




... in the triangualar version. That'd be rather pointless and gimmicky, but very impressive indeed.




All other uses would start from the visual and technical appeal of the structure. To say it with a bit of disrespect, the specific character of the structure (the complexity and the graphical quality) would be used ornamentally - to dress up the space. Like it is used very well at Foster's museum.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 06:16 PM   #16
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well, actually, the trick I did with the pyramids could make a very nice exposition space out of it if you'd fill most of the structure - very MVRDV-ish. Imagine a market-hall or something similar with a giant span, work with these 5 or 6 m high versions of the space structure (like I did here) and you could make a museum inside the structure, hanging over the hall - with sometimes a bridge or a hole to give visual relations. That'd very unique and really be making architecture from the specific possibilities of the structure.

It'd look nice from the point of view the hall too ... one could use the pyramids to attach the lighting of the hall, sometimes you see the people walking, etc.

I've been in the Ruhr-museum in Zollverein, Essen some weeks ago (reconverted industrial site, masterplan by Rem Koolhaas). There they made a museum in the very top floor of one of this huge factory buildings (35m), with a real route architecturale trough the structure and these giant machines. In a way it'd be a similar trick. It's a very impressive place.

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Old September 9th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #17
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Thank you for the precis and interesting answer Concrete studio.
Just one thing: those first 2 images of the columns represent some sort of the pathway trough the museum?
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Old September 9th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #18
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My pleasure.

About your question: I often use analogs to help to see things differently.

The first two images are the Cisterns in Istanbul - an ancient underground water reservoir. What is interesting is that this place has become a tourist attraction even though it is built as a purely functional space (it has in fact always been filled to the top with water).

Apparently the sensation of walking trough this structure is very attractive (it is - there's a small layer of water and you have these wooden pathways trough it, a very memorable experience)

The space structure has to some extend a similar potential - just to walk trough the functional structure could be a memorable experience. Actually, the experience is very similar, it's just diagonal (as you can see from the graphics)
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Old September 10th, 2010, 02:16 AM   #19
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I see.
Thank you for all the help and answers.
I never been in your home town, but I visited a Rotterdam a month ago, and from what I saw back there, the architects in Netherlands are doing some splendid and amazing work! Now I see why.

Keep up the good work, and I wish you all best.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 06:00 PM   #20
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mvrdv is a good reference...

I think an interesting aspect for you thesis might be to analyse some possibilities on different scales... and search for useful options where people interact with the structure...
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