Journal Name: Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (J. IASS)
ISSN: (Electronic Version) 1996-9015
ISSN: (Print Version) 1028-365X
Issue: Vol. 54 (2013) No. 1 March n. 175
Title: Nested Catenaries
Author(s): D. Sunguroglu Hensel and G. Baraut Bover
Keywords: Catenary, Nesting, Masonry Shell, Structural Hierarchy, Form-Finding, FEM
This paper examines the structural and spatial potentials of designing and constructing with catenaries based on the principle and strategy of nesting. For the purpose of design, nesting can be described as a spatial strategy and a method for organizing and structuring catenary arches. Nested catenaries assume a structural hierarchy with recognizable structure over several scale levels with the advantage to yield multi-functional properties. The following inquiry focuses on the structural properties of this thin unreinforced masonry shell system. The emphasis is placed on solving structural problems specific to the catenary by means of design, which foregrounds the importance of structure and shape as key factors. The research shows that the strategy of nesting can be used to create structural properties that are useful for loadbearing functions, while offering high stiffness-to-weight subjected to bending moments. This construction method allows building a spatial shell with a thickness of one brick, laid on face. The design and construction experiments utilize methods of form-finding, computational modeling, Finite Element and comparative analysis. The empirical case studies include three full-scale constructions in Norway and Chile. While the first two case studies are laboratory experiments, the third was constructed on a site subjected to seismic impact. The need to account for earthquake activities in Chile with high seismic accelerations led to the testing of local shape control to improve structural performance of the system at large, which has proven to be an important design strategy.