Design and construction of a bending-active reciprocal dome structure

The ReciPlyDome is a bending-active reciprocal structure based on the rhombic triacontahedron.

The kit-of-parts structure consists of only two different components: 40 basic members and 5 shortened ones to create the bottom edge.

The kit is compact and easy to transport thanks to the limited length of the beam elements.

A jig simplifies the fabrication of the double-layered bending-active components.

Pre-assembling a set of pentagonal modules optimises the assembly time on the ground.

It is possible to assemble the structure in only a couple of hours, using no specialised tools: only enough hands.

The connections are very simple: a couple of bolts.

The team (left to right): Niklas Munk-Anderson, Niels De Temmerman, Olga Popovic Larsen, Lars De Laet, Stijn Brancart, Mikkel Asbjørn Andersen and Christian Jespersen (not on this picture).

The structural configuration combines pentagons, rhombs and triangles.

The ReciPyDome is an open grid structure, but can be covered for sheltering purposes.

The torsion in the components allows simple, tangential connections.

The dome moved to Roskilde for the annual music festival, where it was reassembled with partial covering.

At Roskilde festival it served as a hangout space.

In collaboration with the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) in Copenhagen, we designed, developed and constructed the ReciPlyDome, a bending-active reciprocal dome structure. The project originated in the VELUX visiting professorship of Niels De Temmerman and is part of the PhD research of Stijn Brancart. Based on a rhombic triacontahedral geometry, the kit-of-parts structure consists of 40 identical, double-layered components and 5 shortened members to close the bottom ring. Using elastic bending to create these components simplifies the fabrication process and defines the structurally efficient and architecturally pleasing curved shape of the interwoven dome structure. The simplicity of the nodes, the uniformity of the structure and the possibility of pre-assembling base modules allow a low-tech, rapid assembly of only a couple of hours. The structure can be fully disassembled, stowed away and reconstructed.

During the spring of 2017, the first ReciPlyDome stood at the courtyard of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. After a couple of months, it moved to Roskilde for the annual music festival, where it surved as a hangout space for festivalgoers. Being partly covered, it provided shade and sheltering. A new version became part of a temporary exhibition on circular economy, from September unitl December 2017 at KADK in Copenhagen.

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