Space-Frame Pyramid

by Michael D. Griffin, Advanced Structures, Inc., 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd. 202, Venice, CA 90291,
Michael R. Patterson, Advanced Structures, Inc., 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd. 202, Venice, CA 90291,
Tejav J. DeGanyar, Advanced Structures, Inc., 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd. 202, Venice, CA 90291,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 11, Pg. 68-70


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The world's largest space frame pyramid, completed at California State University in Long Beach in late 1994, proved to be a lighter weight and more economical alternative to an original design featuring massive box trusses and conventional framing. Designed for basketball and general athletic use, the pyramid is 56.62 m high; and 25.5 m opening is centered on each side of the 105.23 m base. The original design featured box trusses at the edges and a custom metal deck enclosure, but the architect also solicited a space frame alternate. Only one general contractor bid the space frame, winning the project for $1.97 million. Conventional framing bids came in at about $3 million, plus $650,000 for a foundation. Total budgeted cost, as bid, is $15 million. The structural framing system is a non-patented multiple layer space grid with prefabricated connections. The node is a flat plate and the assembled space frame behaves as a three dimensional truss system with individual struts primarily carrying axial loads. The frame is constructed from 3.64 m chords and 3.17 m webs to form a 45 degree pentahedron pyramid. The foundation consists of eight grade beams 36.3 m long, 1.82 m wide and 0.76 m deep. They were cast with both transverse and longitudinal shear keys. There is a separate mat foundation for the interior structure.

Subject Headings: Costs | Design | Frames | Space frames | Webs (structural)

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