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Theory and Criticism
 
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_frame
George Duma
Responses
 
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
George, any architectural space that uses a frame is a space frame, therefore "space frames" go back many hundreds if not thousands of years.

And a prime example of a space frame in traditional architecture is the Mongol Yurt.
Frank John Snelling
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
Dear MR. Snelling,
Thank you for the reply, it was really useful.
If I understood you correctly, you are trying to tell me that I need to aim my thesis in direction of using the space frames trough history?
George Duma
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
George, Yes, I think an exploration of "space frames" throughout human history would give you both the functions and aesthetics.

For example, temple roofs in the Far East (China, Japan, etc) are not only aesthetic in appearance, the complex interlocking forms create a structure that allows these roofs to flex in earthquakes.
Frank John Snelling
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
this topic is interesting... goodluck i would love to read your article about this when its done...
Rowell Orilla
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
thank you for the reply once again Mr. Snelling.
Hm, I will try to find something, but it will be quite hard.
Any other tips about space frames though history?


Mr. Orilla, I promise, I will post the link to Phd when it is done, in here.
George Duma
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
please visit this site.. this might be of help..

http://www.walkingmelbourne.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4696
Rowell Orilla
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
George, The earliest space frames come from Human pre-history, such as the the frame of hut using tree branches and covered either by leaves, thatching or animal skins.

Another source of pre-historic space frames is found in the plank and frame construction of wooden boats and ships or even with the canoe or kayak made of a frame with either skin or birch bark streched over the frame.
Frank John Snelling
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
Thank you for such a useful links, both of you. I am apologizing for the late reply.
The biggest problem is that I still do not understand which structures can be called space frames, and which not. I bought a couple of books related to this topic, both from the architectural and structural engineering viewpoint. In both the definition of the space frame/truss is the same:

"a structure system assembled of linear elements so arranged that forces are transferred in a three-dimensional manner."

Still this makes me confused about it. For example is a steel column,beam built skyscraper a space frame system related to the fact that its floors slab rely on both direction? But if its floors rely only in one direction, then it can not be called a space frame?
George Duma
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
Space frame is structural form used for asthetical purpose. However ther is scope to exployite its potential as structure. I have designed and erected the spaceframes . Can I help you?
Vijay Devi
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
George, I would imagine your are confusing "space" with "space frame" which are two quite different things. Therefore to remove your confusion, you should make some physical models of space frames.

Because as the definition says a space frame is a 3D system, so any column and beam structure is a space frame, because the force of gravity will follows the frame structure from top to bottom and will not follow any non-structural parts of the building.
Frank John Snelling
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
Yes you can "Vijay Devi". Please I would be more than grateful if you could contact me on my email issworld2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com, or by any other way, you name it. If you think that having discussion in here would be more appropriate, that's fine with me. Thank you.

@Mr. Snelling:
Thank you for the reply once again. I really got interested in this subject when you said the:
"George, any architectural space that uses a frame is a space frame, therefore "space frames" go back many hundreds if not thousands of years. "

But then again, this made complete crash of my knowledge related to this systems.

Mr. Snelling I did not understand your last reply. I am very interested in and excited in what are you saying but I did not understand the last part.
George Duma
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
George, A "space frame" is made up of interconnecting load-carrying parts. At the top of the frame structure, these load-carrying parts only carry their own weight, but at the bottom of a frame structure, the load carried both the part itself and the combined weight of the parts above. This is because the Force of Gravity is acting upon the load-carrying frame structure.

You should look at the work of the American engineer Buckmaster Fuller who designed Geodetic (hemispherical dome) space frames. An example of this type of space frame is the hexagonal format of chicken-wire netting.
Frank John Snelling
Space frames and their potential in architecture ?
George,
I am following the discourse.To see technology as decorative element is in itself a regressive idea. but it is undeniable that a powerful structural concept like space frame has an overwhelming presence that kind of dictates the overall aesthetic output.
The repetitive tetrahedral or other geometries create their own effect independent of other building elements.
It is therefore not surprising that 20th century pioneering architectural movements like constructivism in newly
formed Soviet union,metabolists in Japan,and Archigram in the U.K used concepts based on the aesthetic potential of space frames.
The most spectacular example in my opinion is the Kenzo Tange designed
festival plaza at EXPO70 Osaka.
The giant space frame demonstrated the idea of "plug in city" theorised by
ARCHIGRAM.
Earlier in the century Tatlin's vision of a rational and a bright future world was seen in the monument to the third international(unbuilt) in Leningrad.
In my opinion structure was used in all the above cases in aspirational ways rather than making aesthetic statements. undoubtedly the aesthetic fallouts were impressive.
Sambuddha Sen
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