Loadbearing shell structure showcases sustainable architecture

by Madelein
Loadbearing shell structure showcases sustainable architecture

The Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart recently showcased its latest design, the BioMat Pavilion 2021.

The Institute combining teaching and research in a highly interdisciplinary environment, the goal being to push the boundaries of engineering and design towards novel and non-standard architectural applications.

Shell engineering

The BioMat Pavilion 2021 consists of a loadbearing structure in the form of a shell. It is combining a bending-active, cross-beamed shell construction under compression to form a unique doubly-curved structure that is combined with a stretched membrane roofing under tension.

Both systems are connected to double-profile beams that transform the forces from both systems to the three footages connected to a superficial foundation. The structure has a covering span of 10m and heights varying between 4,5m (highest point) and 3m (clear-head inner point).

Natural materials

The unique bending-active structure is constructed from newly developed “bamboo-like” pultruded profiles made of natural flax and hemp fibres. It is freshly produced through pultrusion in the linked Leicht-Pro research project and is directly applied in this innovative structural application, presenting a sustainability approach in future architecture.

Structural grid profiles

The inner grid profiles are attached in a similar way to the bamboo constructions, through winded steel threads in a crossing format. The membrane is linked to the three footages and then stretched along the external beams through an extended rope to the compressed NFRP profiles, similar to the technique used for sailing boats.

The pavilion is the result of several years of research in the field of the application of biobased materials and various concepts for future-oriented sustainable architecture.

The material development and production took place through DITF, CG-Tec and BAM teams, with Zenvision assisting in the technical product design and market development phases. Steinhuder assisted in assessing another connection system of the structure, while Bieri has produced and sponsored the membrane.

Project team
• BioMat director: Jun.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. M.Eng. Hanaa Dahy.
• BioMat team: Evgenia Spyridonos, Jan Petrš, Piotr Baszyński, Paulina Grabowska.
• Structural support: Yanan Guo, Marta Gil Pérez.
• Geodesy team: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Schwieger, Gabriel Kerekes.
• Membrane support: Bieri GmbH, technical: Tomas Thommen.
• Membrane assembly: Zimmermann Zeltbauten, technical: Ronald Burgau.
• Technical support: Michael Preisack, Michael Schneider, Michael Tondera.
• IntCDC laboratory: Sergej Klassen, Kai Stiefenhofer.

Funding and support
LeichtPro partners:
o Zenvision GmbH: Carsten Fulland, Jacob Börner.
o DITF: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Milwich, Martin-Uwe Witt, Dr. Mark Steinmann, Patrick Kaiser, Marion Gebhardt.
o CG-Tec: Andreas Gerstner, Oliver Kipf, Manuel Rupp, Michael Nehmeier.
o BAM: Dr. Klaus Dippon, Uwe Schönfeld.
o Steinhuder: Michael Wölfl.

Participating students:
Participating students (WS 20/21): Dominik Abele, Alexander Jansen, Sarah Rüngeler, Viktoria Schüle, Daniela Solueva, Rita Teixeira, Louisa Teufel, Ekin Şiar Baloğlu.
Participating students (SS 2021): Fabian Schmid, Vural M. Ali, Matay Kaplan, Larisa Elena Simion, Maysa Abu Alqumboz, Sarah Rüngeler, Dominik Abele, Anastasia Kandylaki.
Student assistants: Rita Teixeira, Daniela Solueva, Mahnaz Shahriyari, David Schadwill.
Special thanks: Asmaa Hassan, Marcel Wachter.
Photo shooting: Masih Imani.

Our sincere thanks and appreciation to The Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart for the use of the information contained in this article.

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