Architecture and Lightweight Structures: A Methodical Design Approach

by Vinzenz Sedlak, Univ of New South Wales, Kensington,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Spatial, Lattice and Tension Structures


Lightweight structures such as membrane structures, shells, space-grid, lightweight trussed and suspended structures have become an integral part of the international building scene. While a wide range of constructed examples exists, the general quality of architectural integration with the building complex and environment is, with few exceptions, arguable. To improve architectural design quality, accessability to the vast repertoire of lightweight structures must be improved and a methodology be developed that architects and designers can employ during the conceptual stage of the design process. Current research at LSRU focusses on the hypothesis that there is a logical grammar which rules the relationships between design application, building form, structural type and building envelope and that can be used as a predictive design tool. Based on a morphology of structures developed by the author [Sedlak, 1987], a typological method has been established and its validity has been checked by systematic examination of a database containing 200 Australian projects constructed over the last 100 years. Statistical evaluation of this database shows the interrelationship that exists between the three main aspects of lightweight structures design: shape, structure and architectural application.

Subject Headings: Building design | Structural design | Architecture | Wood structures | Suspended structures | Shell structures | Databases

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