Rippmann M., Van Mele T., Popescu M., Augustynowicz E., Méndez Echenagucia T., Calvo Barentin C., Frick U. and Block P.
Advances in Architectural Geometry 2016
This paper describes the development of an unreinforced, freeform vault consisting of 399 discrete limestone blocks with thicknesses ranging from 5 to 12 cm. The vault covers an area of 75 m2 and spans more than 15 m in pure compression, without mortar between the blocks. We discuss how the design of the vault and its individual pieces was entirely driven by constraints related to the fabrication process and to the architectural and structural requirements and timeline of the project. Furthermore, we describe the form-finding process of the shell’s funicular geometry, the discretisation of the thrust surface, the computational modelling and optimisation of the block geometry, and the machining process. Finally, we discuss some of the strategies that were developed for dealing with tolerances during fabrication and construction.
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