3D Grid Shell with Membrane
Covered facilities for 2 padel courts.
The original plans were created by the client (Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, architect Ridha Haraket). During the final phase of the planning process, architect Amandus VanQuaille and Prof. ir. M. Mollaert were giving advise in regard to typical elements of membrane architecture and engineering.
All the nodes of the metal structure are conceived as free rotating 3D hinges. In fact, the complete metal structure can be seen as a freestanding grid shell, consisting of triangular elements.
Although this structure is a 3D grid shell, it nevertheless looks like a ‘classic’ structure with vertical walls and a roof structure. The translucent membrane is tensioned as a free membrane over the metal structure, sustained by spectacular flying masts.
We created an integrated model for both metal structure and membrane. Each hinge is conceived as a 3D free hinge, whereby each bar is connected with 1 single bolt.
That means that there are no ‘stiff’ hinges or connections: the complete structure consisting of steel bars, cables and membrane, is completely ‘form active’. The stiffness of the supporting frame is achieved by triangles configured as a 3D grid shell form. The membrane is about 1,5 metres wider and longer than the grid shell avoiding rain on the playfield. The membrane is supported by cantilevers at the outside and flying masts in the middle. The stiffness of the fabric membrane is achieved by tensioning the wires.
The advantage of this system is undoubtedly the considerable reduction of weight and materials. Only 2 types of ‘force’ affect the structure of this building: compression and tension. As there is no shear or torsion, the full section of each member is used in an optimal way, reducing considerably weight of material.
It is clear that designing such a structure demands a huge expertise, experience and knowledge.
As a full-service firm, The Nomad Concept is present on projects from start to finish, ensuring that the ideas conceived in the beginning with clients are manifest at the end.
It is clear that, from the very beginning, the calculation and optimisation of the form is of utmost importance. Each phase is of great importance: the general form and planning, each detail and shop drawing (execution drawings), the fabrication and precision of each element, including the foundations, every single bolt is of capital importance to the whole system… and finally the mounting is of capital importance for the stability.
This is only possible if each single phase is checked and controlled meticulously.
We have developed each single shop drawing in-house, the manufacturing of single element was checked daily, and even during mounting each bolt and tensioner was checked by us.
It is not at all a feint that “The Nomad Concept is present on projects from start to finish, ensuring that the ideas conceived in the beginning with clients are manifest at the end”.
As explained before, this project was a huge challenge. Maybe the biggest challenge is to integrate the design and engineering process – which cannot be regarded as separated processes because the design of this structure is ‘form active’. Architects and designers are used to design in a ‘free’ way, sketching, whereby the engineer finds some solutions afterwards to make the structure stable and strong enough. In a ‘form active’ structure, the form of the structure defines the stability itself. It not only requires the knowledge and skills to design with the right computer programs, but foremost it requires experience to ‘play’ with the forms to achieve both stability and an architectural form. With other words: it is not the computer program that defines the form, but the architect. The architects have a vision, a ‘composition’ in mind, and it needs a lot of technical skills and experience to ‘pour’ this vision into an active-form-structure.
As a pioneer, Amandus VanQuaille is involved in this field since 1991. From his studies on, Amandus VanQuaille was fascinated by nature and ‘natural’ organic forms. We may discuss a lot about forms, cencepts and design, but we should not discuss about spilling materials. Designing optimal organic forms is a question of responsibility towards our ecological environment and to ourselves.
The Nomad Concept is a Belgium-based studio practice focused on modern tensile architecture with a passion for design.
From our inception in 2000, we have delivered exceptional public, corporate and private environments that are stimulating to occupy and fundamental to their surroundings.
As a full-service firm, The Nomad Concept is present on projects from start to finish, ensuring that the ideas conceived in the beginning with clients are manifest at the end. We achieve this through close collaboration with all members of the project team, including consultants, contractors, material suppliers and artisans.
The Nomad Concept helps clients and advises colleague-architects in realising a tensile project in each phase: optimising design and form, engineering and analysis, patterning, detailing, manufacturing, mounting and maintenance.
Do you consider a challenging project with tensiles or membranes? Don’t hesitate to contact us!