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Practice-based research, testing and application of Tensegrity for a demountable ‘Tension Pavilion’


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This paper presents the results of practice-based research into Tensegrity systems, formfinding, structural analysis, testing and use in a ‘real-life’ project: a demountable Tensegrity pavilion with a tensile fabric canopy – ‘Tension Pavilion’. Tensegrity has rarely been utilised in the built environment for a building structure. The term is often misunderstood and wrongly applied to structures that use different structural systems, or have been adapted to such an extent that they are no longer purely Tensegrity. This demountable pavilion was built with a chain of simplex Tensegrities that form an undulating ring, warped to follow a sine wave, creating three arches and three valleys. The Tensegrity ring and fabric canopy have been designed to resist 75mph wind loads, and tested for an 80kg load at the apex of an arch. In this paper we present preparatory practice-based research, parametric modelling, formfinding, structural analysis, physical testing, detailing, fabrication and construction. The benefits and challenges of using Tensegrity are discussed, and recommendations for future use and further study are made.
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Keywords: Tensegrity; construction; demountable; design; pavilion; practice-based research; structural use; tensile fabric; testing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: StructureMode Ltd 8a Peacock Yard, London, SE17 3LH, United Kingdom, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: July 16, 2018

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  • The Proceedings of IASS Annual Symposia include the articles presented at each symposium. They are grouped by thematic sessions. These limited-length conference papers are reviewed and selected by the Scientific or Technical Committee of each symposium, and generally only those actually presented orally at the conference are included. Although the metadata for the papers is available to the public, only members of the IASS can view the full papers, for which the author(s) hold the copyright. Further information about the projects or research should be sought from the author(s).
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