Crowning Achievement

by David Bodamer, Contributing Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Reston, VA.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1999, Vol. 69, Issue 8, Pg. 54-57

Document Type: Feature article


The $800 million Sony Center built in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin is divided into seven structures which are all literally brought together under one roof. The fabric and glass roof, which sits above a 4,000 m� forum, looks like a scalloped shell. The roof is held up by cables suspending between a king post and a ring beam using the same principle that supports a bicycle wheel. Glass and fabric strips alternate to give the roof a 50 percent transparency level. The roof's shape was derived from a shallow hyperbolic cone that designers cut a diagonal section through. The main axis is off center and tilted 8 degrees, giving the roof an elliptical shape.

Subject Headings: Roofs | Cables | Glass | Fabrics | Shell structures | Conical bodies | Bicycles

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