Drexel Students Build Space Frame as Senior Project

by Harry G. Harris, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, Pa.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 9, Pg. 118-120

Document Type: Feature article


Drexel University's geodesic tri-span is an open-air monumental structure conceived, designed, fabricated and constructed by a group of senior civil engineering students to celebrate the 200th birthday of the United States. It is constructed of bolted, rectangular timbers which form planar triangular elements, having an average length of 14 ft on each side and whose vertices lie on a spherical surface with a radius of 50.27 ft. The geodesic tri-span has a triangular plan form and is supported on three podia, giving it a side span length of 72 ft. It rises 22 ft at the crown, straddling an existing campus walkway over an underground subway-surface trolley station in Philadelphia (SE corner of 33rd and Market Sts.). The article describes design and construction and points out significant features.

Subject Headings: Space frames | Students | Space construction | Geodetic surveys | Structural design | Fabrication | Bolts | Wood | United States

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