Shell Lace Structure

Shell Lace Structure

Architect
Tonkin Liu
Location
London, United Kingdom
Project Year
2010
Category
Shops
Mike Tonkin and Sue Barr

Shell Lace Structure

Tonkin Liu as Architects

Shell Lace Structure, a structural technique pioneered in the past year by Tonkin Liu in conjunction with Arup. The structural and fabrication technique combines digital modelling, digital analysis, with cost-effective laser-cutting fabrication, transforming flat sheet materials into lightweight self-supporting structures. Iterative analysis produces highly efficient structures that respond to the environment and minimize weight and wastage. Shell Lace Structures are optimized through curvature, corrugations, and perforations. The technique is informed and inspired by nature; Sea Shells gain strength from curvilinear geometry growing in thin layers over time, only where they need to. As flamboyant and daring as Gothic vaults, which rely upon mass for their compressive strength, shells nevertheless demonstrate optimum structural principles. Lessons from tailoring demonstrate how pattern cutting thin flat sheet material can create stiff three- dimensional form. Curvatures, together with corrugations, lock in the stiffness. Perforations minimize weight by removing material where the structure does not require strength, bringing the delight of visual connection and refinement of scale and lightness. Three projects programmed during the London Festival of Architecture 2010 will publicly launch Shell Lace Structure. These events are the culmination of ongoing collaborative research implemented by Tonkin Liu and Arup. The concept has been explored through competition proposals for pavilions and bridges and a series of international workshops, which began in Tokyo, Japan and Tainan, Taiwan, and will culminated in London during June. The three projects include a tailor-made architecture installation, which profiles the new technique; an exhibition that communicates the research to date and a workshop to further develop experimentation.

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Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum
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