The solution is inspired by built examples in tile vaulting in which thin vaults are stiffened by diaphragms, also called spandrel walls. In the present structure, this structural system is implemented and constructed in concrete to achieve an extreme thinness (2 cm in the case of this prototype for both vault and ribs) and to resist asymmetrical loading.
This floor would save more than 70% of the weight compared to traditional, 25-30cm-thick concrete floor slabs used in the construction of framed buildings. This directly lowers the requirements for the foundations (often a dominant resource and cost factor), but also enables lightweight building extensions and a reduction of total floor height, offering possibilities to address, among other issues, the vertical densification of cities.
A form-finding and analysis procedure for the design of such floor systems is presented, which consists of consecutive topology, shape, and size optimisations.
This research was featured in the Beyond Bending exhibtion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016.
This floor will be implemented in HiLo: Research & Innovation Unit for NEST.