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By- Milo S. Ketchum & Mark A.


INTRODUCTION The purpose of this book is to provide sketches and descriptions of many types of shell structures to aid the architect or engineer in the selection of a structure for a particular use. No claim is made for completeness. Drawings have been used rather than photographs, first because of the limited number of photographs available, and second, because there is always a reluctance on the part of the architect to use something already built because it would seem like copying. Only the structural features are shown in the sketches and details such as windows, gutters, fascia members, etcetera, have been omitted. The criterion has always been to picture the shell after the concrete has been complete but before the brick, stone, windows, or roofing is placed. Most of the nomenclature is standard in the literature but some of it

was devised by the writer to fit gaps for which satisfactory terms were not available. In illustrating shell types, many obvious structures have been omitted because they are so similar to the basic types. The criterion for showing examples has in all cases been its usefulness as an architectural or structural unit of construction. CHAPTER I - FOLDED PLATES It seems appropriate to start the presentation of examples of shapes and forms for shell structures with the folded plate because it is the simplest of the shell structures. The distinguishing feature of the folded plate is the ease in forming plane surfaces. Therefore, they are more adaptable to smaller areas than curved surfaces which require multiple use of forms for maximum economy. A folded plate may be formed for about the same cost as a horizontal slab and has much less steel and concrete for the same spans. Folded plates are not adapted to as wide bay spacings as barrel vaults. For widths of plate over, say, 12 feet, the thickness of the folded plate must be thicker than for a barrel vault. Some advantage may be gained by increasing the thickness of the slab just at the valleys so it will act as a haunched beam and as an I section plate girder.

BASIC ELEMENTS The principle components in a folded plate structure are illustrated in the sketch above. They consist of, 1) the inclined plates, 2) edge plates which must be used to

stiffen the wide plates, 3) stiffeners to carry the loads to the supports and to hold the plates in line, and 4) columns to support the structure in the air. A strip across a folded plate is called a slab element because the plate is designed as a slab in that direction. The span of the structure is the greater distance between columns and the bay width is the distance between similar structural units. The structure above is a two segment folded plate. If several units were placed side by side, the edge plates sould be omitted except for the first and last plate. If the edge plate is not omitted on inside edges, the form should be called a two segment folded plate with a common edge plate. The structure above may have a simple span, as shown, or multiple spans of varying length, or the folded plate may cantilever from the supports without a stiffener at the end.

THREE SEGMENT FOLDED PLATE This sketch shows a folded plate structure with three segments for each barrel. The end stiffeners are rigid frames rather than deep girders as in the last example. The forces from the reactions of the sloping plates on these rigid frames will be quire

large and at an outside column they will not be balanced by thrusts from the adjacent plates. The size of the frames may be reduced by using a steel tie between the tops of the columns which can be concealed in the fenestration. The dimensions of the plates are dependent on both the width of the barrel and on the span. The depth of the shell should be about 0.10 times the span and the maximum slope of a plate should not be greater than 40 degrees. For example, assume for the above structure that the span is 60 feet and the bay width is 24 feet. The depth of the shell should be about 6 feet and the horizontal width of each plate with a three segment plate should be about 8 feet. The slope of the plates is 6/8, which is about 37 degrees and is satisfactory. The thickness of the plates could be about 3 ½ inches.

Z SHELL Each of the units above has one large sloping plate and two edge plates arranged with space between the units for windows. This form has been called a Z shell and is similar to the louver used for window ventilation. The architectural effect is very dramatic if the structure can be shown by a cantilever projected out beyond the support. The windows are normally open to the north but most of the light is actually reflected south light. To increase this effect, the roof surface can be painted with

concrete is cast flat on the floor and raised into place by cranes. . the spans are limited in comparison to the plates having a large number of units side by side. Adjacent units should be tied together by structural window mullions. In this design. The Z shell is not an efficient structural shape since it is discontinuous and its effective depth is much less than the actual vertical depth. columns are not necessary at the junction of the individual side wall panels because the walls are braced at the top. The tilt-up walls can be designed for this lateral load because they are held at the top by the shell and act as vertical beams rather than as cantilever retaining. The walls are designed to be continuous with the roof plates.aluminum so light from the sun is reflected through the windows to the ceiling and the windows need not be very large. Dock height interior floors can be constructed by filling the interior of the building up with dirt to the required height. Tilt-up walls usually are joined by poured-in-place columns. Only a simple grouted key slot is provided. In constructing the Z shell. The tilt-up panels can serve as their own foundation walls so only a continuous footing pad is used with a notch to receive the tilt-up panel. movable forms need only be lowered a short vertical distance if construction is started on the right and proceeds to the left. Therefore. WALLS CONTINUOUS WITH SHELL In this structure the walls are of tilt-up concrete construction.

At the wall of the building there should also be a stiffener hidden in the wall construction.CANOPIES A folded plate structure for a small canopy at the entrance of a building is shown. a torsion member can be placed in the valley which will carry the unbalanced loads. This folded plate has four segments. The height of the shells at the center of the span is the critical dimension for bending strength. acting as stiffening members. Another possibility is to place the smaller depths all at one end so that the entire structure forms a circular ring. This instability can be demonstrated by a paper model having the ends of the model glued to vertical pieces of cardboard. A two segment structure is not desirable because it has very little torsional resistance. TAPERED FOLDED PLATES Folded plate structures may be built with tapered elements and only one of the many possible combinations is shown here. Another weak element in this design . Provision should be made for drainage of the center valley. Stiffeners can often be hidden on the top surface so they are not in evidence and the shell will appear to spring from the vertical column. Therefore. the structure is not very efficient and not suitable for long spans because of the excess height required for the large ends. If it is absolutely necessary to have a two element system.

A wall of this type can be made much thinner than a flat wall. . A folded plate may be used for walls as a thin structural element by casting each plate flat on the floor and grouting the joints full of concrete. If a large number of units are used in each span. the transfer of loads may be the transfer of shear from the small end of the triangular plate to the large end.

Wind loads are taken by rigid frame action in the columns and stiffeners. There are horizontal ties across the width only at the ends of the building and the structure acts as an edge supported shell as shown in the previous example. The bottom chords are the ties at the base of the side gables and the diagonals are formed by the sloping valleys at the intersection of the gables and the triangular plates. The top chord of the inclined truss is formed by the ridge member. The beam element that carries the load of the roof between columns will then be wider and windows under the slab will have the same function as in the previous examples of folded plates. FOLDED PLATE TRUSS The term "folded plate truss" is intended to indicate the structural action of this structure. The slab between columns must be designed as a beam and it may be convenient to extend the main roof slab as a cantilever canopy. The thrusts from the triangular crossed arches are carried lengthwise to the ends. The top . These take the reactions of the plates and the horizontal ties may be eliminated.EDGE SUPPORTED FOLDED PLATES The usual upturned edge plate can be eliminated and the roof structure can be made to appear very thin if the edge plate is replaced by a series of columns. Note the vertical columns in the end walls at the crown of the gable.

Ties across the plates are required at the knees and at the crown in order to distribute the forces at the ends of each segment. This is truly a space structure and its structural action is not as obvious and. . therefore.longitudinal compression member may require some additional thickness to form a compression member of sufficient size to carry the compression force. FOLDED PLATE RIGID FRAME An arch with straight segments is sometimes called a rigid frame. the architectural appearance is mote subtle that the usual shell structure. It is not as efficient as the curved arch because the bending moments are greater.

Design stresses is shells should be very conservative. Click on image to enlarge. thick and is much denser than for the 3 in. at the center and 3 in. It is movable and slids on wooden rails on the ground. There are four frame in a series. Concrete should be supported as long as possible. The concrete in shells is not compacted in the way thick concrete members are. Click on image to enlarge. . This was done so the movable form could be decentered and moved The shell thickness is 2 in. This is a poor photo but it brings up an important problem. except for the center which is fixed.A PHOTO GALLERY OF SHELLS This set of photographs is to supplement those in Mark Ketchum's photo gallery and to point out special problems in shell design or construction. They occur where the frames are above the shell. The span of the frames that support the shell is 85 feet and the distance between frames is 35 feet. The structure is a short shell for a bakery. near the valleys. Shells get their strength by shape and form. Notice the white streaks on the underside of the shell. not by the strength of the material. This is the previous shell under construction showing the form work. In these areas the concrete is 3 ft.

then the calculation of stress is merely incidental. Click on image to enlarge. Here is group picture of a brewery in Mexico. There are both short . and covers an area of 150 feet round. but he was the master of all types of shells. If this is done. Deflections are a constant problem with so thin members. The curvature of the hypars is not as great as the previous example so he was more conservative. The photograph of another shell by Candela shows a dome made from three hyperbolic paraboloidal units separated by skylights.This is a picture of the famous shell by Felix Candela in Xochimilco. To create a shell with minimum streses. the shell must have double curvature in all areas. Candela was a master of geometry. Mexico. Click on image to enlarge. Candela is best known for his many hyperbolic paraboloids. Note the steel columns under the edges.

The use of north light shells has not generally been accepted in this country. There are other problems. The open architecture promotes the appearance of extreme lightness. Remember that Candels's shells are all only an inch and a half thick The construction of airformed shells is a growing industry in this country. and therefor you will need artificial illumination anyway. The photograph is of a house and was save from a website entirely devoted to dome constructors. with large slanting windows between each unit. Click on image to enlarge. Also the acoustics of the curved surfaces need to be solved. The next picture is of north light barrel shells by Felix Candela in Mexico. One unit consists of a gutter to collect the rain and a barrel. however. The windows therefore support the high point of the barrel. spill of cold air from ovehead windows may be a problem in cold climates. Any one who has worked under natural light knows that this theory is not valid. Changes in lighting for various conditions gives relief to the worker.shells and translation shells. I selected this picture from one of the references . The argument is that the light is variable.

. Click on image to enlarge. also shell structures. A SECOND GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHS A drawing of the Panetarium in Forest Park.Click on image to enlarge. In adition there are shops. This architectural drawing shows the maintaintence facilities for Trans World Arlines outside of Kansas City. The viewing screen. is inside this "hyperboloid of one sheet". The thickness of the shell is three inches except at the base. We were the consultants for the design of the shell. My son. St. and has since been subject to considerable research. then it is possible to climb to the roof and view the stars in nature. was the engineer of record. San Francisco. which have had a record of several failures. Only two of the latge hangars were built. a spherical structure. This form is used for the huge power plant cooling towers. After viewing the stars. a Principal of OPAC Engineers. Louis. Here is another dome use for bulk storage. Mark Ketchum.

The shops are the typical inverted umbrellas and the hangar surfaces are all hypars. It was one of the first large folded plate structures to be built in this country. . Candela built hundreds of thousands of inverted umbrella hypars in Mexico. The plan of each unit could be square or rectangular and dimensions varied from 40 ft. Here is a typical building. The shop facilities are typical two element folded plates and have spans of 80 ft. Moore Company in Denver. A display area is to the left and the parts department to the right. The is the sales and maintenance facilities for the H.The Engineer on this complex was Dutton Biggs of Kansas City. They were so inexpensive that it would undermine the industrial building market. and my firm was a consultant on the hangars. He told me that he could not charge owners what they cost. W. The display areas are a series of Z folded plates with spans of 75 ft. All the structures were hyperbolic paraboloids.

The first is a concourse for the St. Here is a picture of the previous shell under construction. Note the long ramp for workers to carry the concrete in containers up to the top. Candela always used fixed 60 ft. goverend by buckling considerations. The shells were constructed using massive movable forms. The ground plan is 100 ft. and is a manufacturing facility. and. presumably. In this case it is intersecting cylindrical shells with triangular slots between elements. The next photos show two different solutions for a similar problem. Note how the shells are picked up by continuation of the end ribs. and the thickness of the shells is 4. The second example is from Candela. The shells are hyperbolic paraboloids. Louis Airport. The shells are picked up by large ribs at the intersection of the cylinders. the units were tilted and a clerestory served to add light to the interior. square. and erected and dismanteled them so they can be used again. It is a very efficient system if labor is cheap. In this example. The ground plan of the units is 120 ft. and put exactly in place. one and one half inches thick. This enables the structure to be placed above the platform on which it rests. .5 inches. A much lighter solution than the previous example. Buckling was not a consideration.

They were first used for the cover of a water collection canal in the mountains of Colorado. As many as six shells were made from one form by casting the next shell on the previous one. This picture shows the precast barrel shells being placed in the mountains of Colorado. They were fabricated in Denver and shipped by truck. but later were used in a number of industrial and residential buildings. The supports for the shells are cast in place circles. all of the vertical dimensions must be the same.A THIRD GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHS The next picture shows the construction of precast barrel shells. To acccomplish ths. Click onimage to enlarge Next is a folded plate for a high school gymnasium. This design is the result of the experience accumulated for a number of previous designs. . They will carry the end forces of the shells if there is adequate reinforcing in the shell over the support.

Shell structures need not involve projects with large areas or be of momumental design. In this case. When I wrote my program for folded plate analysis. triangular in plan. in turn. are carried by prestressing cables to a similar rib in the . The building is a barrel shell. Note. This. The thrusts from this bent arch at the high point. again. makes it possible to use less slope on the slabs. the edge slabs are small and the edges are supported by steel columns embedded in the brick walls. so it built a structure that would use one of it's products. by an arch bent in the middle. resulting in excessive deflection. The next picture shows a small shopping unit with a folded plate roof having a small span. the stiffness of the edge elements is much less. The normal practice for edge member slab elements was to make them as much as one third of the width of the other slabs. which must have a clear span. but the shores were constructed so that they could remain in place while the other forms were moved quickly and still have the concrete supported agianst deflection. that the edge valleys have been supported by steel columns that will be embedded in walls. 2. The rear is supported by a number of columns and the front. I was motivated to include this feature of variable slab thickness. The roof was formed with fixed in place forms. In this case over 20 feet. Clixk on image to enlarge The Ideal Cement Company needed a hangar to house a company plane. making it possible to use longer spans with the same minimum thickness. Even this wide.Click to enlarge image 1. The slab elements are thicker at the valleys and ridges. resulting in easier construction. light weight concrete.

There are no internal ties to take the thrusts of the dome and the end thrusts are carried by external diagonal braces. The layout is four domes wide by nine domes long. The walls are precast and erected in place. so no shoring is required amd forms may . Our architects might not like this kind of solution but Candela had complete control of all phases of design and construction. doors to cover the opening.back wall. thus making a tie free open space. This project is a series of 40 foot square domes for a discount store. mostly for open air markets. Some examples had skylights between adjacent arches. Note that the ties to take the thrusts form the arches are above the shell and exposed. of course. There are. Click on image to enlarge A FOURTH GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHS Candela built hundreds of thousands of square feet of this basic design of a short shell. so that there was natural light for the interior. The domes are formed by bow string trusses. The shape is not a sphere but is a translation shell: see section on Types and Forms.

A set of four units were used with nine reuses. The first picture shows the basic geodesic dome. He commissioned a design for a fraternity house using hexagonal units rather than the familiar triangles. was formed by using a mond of earth as a form. One of our architectural clients. Denver was fascinated with Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Domes. . Tom Moore. the external appearance of the fraternity house. were joined to create a spherical framework over which the shell was easily moved. This multiple dome for a church shown under construction. The trusses were salvagable and could be reused. Temporary ties were required until the outside braces were cast. Then the earth was removed. and the next picture. of Denver. a member with a Y shape at each end. Precast units called "dog bones".

If you rush into computer calculations without a thorough study of the structure with several possible arrangements. . an adequate preliminary design should be within 10 percent Shell structures can be estimated to within 5 percent because the only usual unknown is the amount of reinforcing.SOME BASIC CONCEPTS FOR SHELL STRUCTURES By Milo S. For any shell structure. Support the edges of shells if they are already supported visually by masonry walls or window walls. For ordinary structures. Shell structures. There are only a few basic structural systems for post and beam structures. Shell structures can usually be understood as a set of beams. Do not throw away all you structural intuition when you design shell structures. each requiring a unique approach to design. Shell structures can carry relatively large point loads. Shell structures are very complex and carry forces by many paths. then a simple model is worth 1000 calculations. there are thousands. Ketchum               If a picture is worth a 1000 words. Shell structures get their strength by shape and not by high strength of materials Do not push stresses to their limit. In case of doubt. Stiffest path concepts are useful in understanding shell structures. because of their complexity and unfamiliarity require a large lead time for developing the design. The supports for a shell are more important than the shell. reinforce. but for shell structures. there will be a simple method of analysis that can be used to check the more precise analysis. arches and catenaries and can be analyzed by that approach. then you may not get the best structure.

Most now use the name hypar instead. In this case they are much thicker and are well reinforced. We have the structure carrying loads in two ways. You could invent a new type every day for your lifetime and still not invent them all. and from the center point to the lower corner. The thickness of most of the structure is a mere 3 inches except for the thick edge members around the edges and across the top. to the other middle point. folded plates. For the Broadmoor shell they are prestressed with steel cables.. and. This is only one of many types of shells. barrel shells. the shell humps. a barrel shell carries load as a beam from . Some of the common types are hypars. That is except for barrel shells and folded plates..A BRIEF TUTORIAL FOR THE UNINITIATED This is a shell: It is called a hyperbolic paraboloid. Think about this awhile. For example. A catenary carries load in tension. Back to the hypar: Why are we able to span 260 feet and be only 3 inches thick? The reason is double curvature. (260 feet across the diagonal) and about 50 feet high. and the hump is called an arch. from a mathematical equation of the same name. domes. This one is at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. If you want to see a presentation of types go to Mark Ketchum’s home page. this shell sags. My mother wanted to call it an iambic pentameter. They carry the loads from the edges of the shell to the ground. The other factor is the edge members. Most shells have this property of carrying load in several ways. to the section called Types and Forms. Note that from the middle of the side of the roof. The sag is called a catenary. and an arch carries loads in compression. translations shells. It is 185 feet square.

is supported by internal shears. The arch. the end frame is solid and the side element is a vertical beam. the barrel shell is not a true shell. columns. . You will learn how they are built and how they perform. however. Only then should you turn to the structural theory. A barrel shell carries load longitudinally as a beam and transversally as an arch. This is the end of the tutorial but I hope you do not stop here. Here is a photograph of a north lignt barrel shell. which may be a cylindrical element. Look at pictures of shells. including the columns. for the shell shown in the sketch. Here is a picture of a barrel shell. If we want to get technical. (2) The frame or ties at the ends. or all combined. a folded plate element. and so may be calculated. Barrel Shells The elements of a barrel shell are: (1) The the cylinder. and (3) The side elements. Just for start. Make to support and crosswise as an arch. and try to figure how the forces work.

the end supports and the side supports are both complete walls To see a picture of a folded plate click HERE Short Shells The elements of a short shell are the barrel. and (2) As as a curved beam to the arches. and the moments in the slab elements are affected by the differential movement of the joints. For the structure shown.Folded Plates The elements of a folded plate structure are similar to those of a barrel shell except that all elements are planar. In this case it is a ridgid frame arch. The short shell carries loads in two ways: (1) As an arch carrying load to the lower elements. and the arches or rigid frame to pick up the entire ensemble. There may be multiple spans. the element at the base of the cylinder to pick up the arch loads. . which is relatively short compared to radius. The thickness of the shell can be quite thin due to these properties. The size of the arch could have been reduced by horizontal ties at the springings.

the ring stresses are compression until the angle to the vertical is about 57 degrees.Here is a photograph of a short shell Hyperbolic Paraboloid This is only one of thousands of possibile shapes for hypars. under its own weight. . the internal stresses are tension and compression and are staticaly determinate if the proper edge conditions are fullfilled. Consequently this surface can be constructed with straight boards. In this case. and the other element is an arch and is in compression. The surfaces are made by sliding a line over two other lines that are at varying angles. In a dome of uniform thickness. the diagonal element that sags is in tension. They have a slight twist depending on their width. Domes Domes are membrane structures. Click here to see one of the possible types of hyperbolic paraboloids. The hypar carries load in two directions. a ring is required at the base of the dome to contain the forces. If the dome is less than a full hemisphere. It makes for inexpensive forming. These forces must be picked up by the side ribs and delivered to the supports.

Click on Dome to see a photo of a dome Translation Shells A translation shell is a dome set on four arches. was very successful. All vertical slices have the same radius. Most notable was the publicity given to the shells of Felix Candela. came from other sources rather than these proprietary methods. I do not accept that the reason was the exorbitant cost. WHAT HAPPENED TO SHELLS ? By Milo S. and a large number of industrial buildings were built during the war. Then the construction seemed to stop and little was heard. rather. I will attempt to list and explain some of these and show their effect on the construction of shells. However there are high tension forces in the corner. a Spanish architect and engineer living in Mexico. Ketchum Concrete shell structures were introduced to this country. It is easier to form than a spherical dome. The movement had run its course. the architectural magazines were full of examples of structures built by many different designers. it is true that unfireproofed steel structures of short span . There is no single reason that accounts for the demise in the construction of shell structures. The real impetus after the war. The shape is different from a spherical dome and is generated by a vertical circle moving on another circle. tension forces are offset by compression in the arch. 1. Their development and promotion. in the early 1930's. The stresses in a translation shell are much like a dome at the top. who imported the technology from Germany. For a decade. starting from 1956. it is a result of many factors. but at the level of the arches. For industrial and commercial structures. by the Roberts and Schafer Company of Chicago.

Furthermore. Also. No such support was available to the designers of shell structures. Most great movements center around strong and charismatic leaders. the Shell Builder" by Colin Faber. the building climate in Mexico City was favorable with low cost labor. this support was withdrawn. and construction was affected by the removal of men from the labor market. and the building of shells is no exception. and many shells were designed. "Candela. without excessive calculations. 6. In this case it was Felix Candela. If all the cost factors are considered. The end of the shellbuilding era. analysis has become much more precise. coincided with the Vietnam War and all of the social disruption that occurred. Pumped concrete makes it easier to place at the heights required for roofs. When the financial situation in the country got tough in the cement industry during the 1960's. it must be noted. he took great pains to publicize his work. As an engineer. often to show the extreme forms available. to be effective. Candela was an architect. entrepreneur. nor did the have the confidence in their knowledge of structures. are much less expensive. but as the span increases. not the structural material. readily available to the engineer. if you can. he was not dependent on others for the architectural design. 3. Coincident with the development of shell structures. engineer. The Portland Cement Association put on a vigorous promotional campaign with sales engineers of a high caliber available to any engineer. of the period. Preliminary estimates for the costs of shell structure are easy to estimate. and construction estimating is less laborious. If you do not believe this then go to your library and find. with a national society to back them up. Shells. they may actually cost less. must use the interior beauty as an asset rather than depend on the external appearance. In my opinion. shells have a great many advantages going for them that they did not have in the past. however. 4. really understood the structural design of shells and the possibilities. shells become more and more competitive. . and mathematician. 7. and as a contractor. 5. At the present time. was that of precast prestressed concrete. not many architects really understood the possibilities and the proper function. he was not hedged in by a engineer or architect. Labor also was having different attitudes. For monumental structures. With the computer.2. Architects were quick to get on the band wagon at the time. There was an eager staff of salesmen to push the product. the architectural solution is the dominate factor. contractor. whose achievements both in number and quality will never be duplicated. Few engineers. This was a factory product.

reinforcement selection and placing. It is fairly easy to estimate quantities. concrete materials and placing. and will start the cycle of popularity again. The are built or done because someone wants to build or do them. well prepared plans. the average thickness per square foot of projected area is about 3. All of these problems must be understood in order to make the structure safe and economically feasible. the contractor must use his ingenuity to devise form systems that can be erected. Things are not built or done because they are economical.5 inches and for a gabled HP shells or saddle shells. and some one will discover the utility and beauty of shell structures. The factor next in importance is the cost of formwork. To build a satisfactory shell requires a detailed study of the methods of construction. These are outlined in the codes. The weight of steel for an inverted umbrella is about 3 pounds per square foot of horizontal area.5 inches including the edge members. publicize them. More than almost any other structural system. and publications of the American Concrete Institute. find they are salable. For example. 4. and curing and decentering. standards.Some time in the future. will design them. we mean the design and construction of the best building at the least cost. especially if there are intangibles that cannot be evaluated in terms of money. the cost of structural steel will rise beyond reason. the production. These quantities vary little with the span. CONSTRUCTION OF CONCRETE SHELLS By Milo S. shells depend upon the ability of the architect and engineer to foresee the design problems and upon the ingenuity of the contractor to solve the mechanical problems of construction. because it is difficult to define the best building. is usually less than the concrete in the floor slab. The normal standards for the construction of concrete structures are. absolutely necessary for shells. This criterion is not always useful. beautiful. Only the highest standards should be acceptable for shell structures. and good supervision. Shells require a minimum of structural materials. Ketchum The construction of a reinforced concrete shell involves many problems. and curing of concrete must be under firm control. placing. moved forward and re-erected at . for hyperbolic paraboloid (HP) umbrella shells. For square gabled hypars or saddle shell it is about 17 pounds per square foot of horizontal area. ECONOMY By the term economy. Other types of shells have similar quantities. The volume of concrete in the roof. Particularly. and in the process then become economical or beautiful or utilitarian. or utilitarian. of course. the design and construction of forms.

The aesthetics and functional solution of the architectural problems often have a more important effect on the selection of the structure than have the costs. and the engineer should point them out. There are certain industries. particularly food handling and processing. The quantity of materials is almost independent of the span. clean. Long span shells. lighting. Other structural systems may require large additional costs for hung ceilings. For example. There are intangible advantages to shell structures that are difficult to estimate. the use of a shell structure may raise or lower the cost of heating. For this type of shell structure. Comparison with other materials. the economy may be lost. The undersurface is uncluttered. The next factor is the time to erect forms. alternate materials are also expensive. increases with the span. The costs obtained will apply only to a particular bidding climate and do not necessarily hold for some other . light. designs. and finish materials. and to obtain accurate formal bids from contractors. One cannot make an out-of. The only accurate way to determine the least cost of alternates. place and cure concrete. The contractor must have a well-planned organization with good supervision. and moving ahead is rapid. especially if they are not absolutely necessary. it is important that the forming system be movable and that the construction be planned so that steel setting. The weight and cost of steel structures. and not just the cost of the structure. and be ready to the next cycle. but are nevertheless real. A large shell will require a single use form unit unless there are many repeated uses. is to make separate. is the forming system.minimum cost. It is difficult to put a price on intangibles. An increase in the efficiency of the workers should have a monetary value. costs may be greater than other materials. to achieve acceptable results and costs. must be considered.hand judgment that shells are too expensive for a particular design. The economy of long span shells depends on many factors. The overriding element in the cost. so the cost of longer spans may be only a little higher than for short spans. the cost of shells of 50 to 100 foot span for roof systems for industrial or commercial use may be less than the cost of other structural systems such as steel or timber. For short spans. Without the savings of multiple use forms. The entire cost of the building. These factors are not always properly evaluated by owners and architects. Light interior surfaces may reduce the cost of lighting and bright interiors may be better for the morale of the workers. set reinforcing. however. so the cost of the structure alone is no measure of the economy. and dust free. complete. concrete curing. where such dust free surfaces are most desirable. concrete placing. On the other hand. There are many factors that make this possible. dismantle forms.

and the forms are not reused. If large numbers of elements are to be built. It is important to have available more panels and shores than required for each concrete placing operation. say. However. It requires a large amount of forming materials in comparison to the final area of the shell. for example. curing. 4 units. A crew can be kept continuously busy removing and reerecting panels and shores. where there is a single structural element. then it will pay to design these form units so they can be raised and lowered by hydraulic or mechanical jacks and have wheels to move . An advantage is that it is not necessary to have an elaborate schedule of sequential forming. patented steel scaffolding is often used and may be rented. forms for one unit can be constructed in quadrants so it is necessary to decenter only a few inches. say. The entire roof is formed at one time. for umbrella shells. then the reinforcing. and decentering. Some of the built-in shores should remain in place until adequate concrete strength precludes excessive deflection from overloaded young concrete. This method is most useful when. The form is constructed with panels supported by shores arranged so that the shores are built into and support the shell directly. reinforcement pacing. either for small or large shells. Fortunately this type of shell is structurally self-supporting so it is not necessary to leave shores in place until the next element is joined to the structure. Single use forms should be considered if there are fewer than. Then the quadrants may be separated and moved to the next unit to be constructed. The contractor and the engineer should fully agree upon the schedule for removal of panels and shores. It is important to understand the various types of forming and their advantages and disadvantages.small decentering For inverted HP umbrella shells. the corners may tend to sag. Then some of the panels can be taken down and moved ahead in one or two days without disturbing the shores.bidding situation. so re-shores should be used at these places. FORMS The design and construction of forms is a major consideration of costs. concrete placing. and involves a significant proportion of the total cost. Single use forms. otherwise this system will have no particular advantage in terms of labor efficiency. three or four structural units are to be built which require some mutual support. as for an industrial building. Movable forms . Demountable panels. This method is satisfactory. and so forth. On large shells. All of the forming can be done at one time.

A structural problem is the connection of these shells to the supporting columns. Movable forms . but they are considerably more expensive. Precast shells.them around. The mechanical ingenuity of the contractor is very important for proper design of this type of forming system. then the transportation is easier. say four inches wide. This trick makes an interesting under surface of the shell. It is expensive to trim all the sheets. if not. It will be necessary either to trim the large sheets slightly to obtain double curvature. then four foot by eight-foot sheets must be cut into two-foot widths. have been used to cover these gaps. Precasting has the advantage that material and construction conditions are under the best control. After casting the concrete. Most of the structures built in this manner have been domes. This method requires a considerable investment in mechanical equipment such as long hydraulic jacks or the repeated use of short jacks. The surface of the earth mound is covered with a suitable contact material such as plywood to make the under surface of the concrete acceptable. Usually the curvature of the surface is such that plywood can be twisted to the required shape. On shells other than umbrellas. The most convenient and least expensive material for the surface of the forms is plywood. and must be replaced more often. forms may be constructed for repeated use. placed on the top of the plywood. The disadvantage is that it is usually necessary to transport the shell units over a considerable distance if the are built in a precasting yard. Earth. or provide some method of closing the gaps between sheets. it may be necessary to decenter the forms for a major portion of the full height of the shell. but it is necessary to have large cranes to move and to lift them into place. . Shells have also been built without forms by using a close grid of reinforcing bars with the concrete placed by shotcrete The form surface. and afterward the are difficult to use again. Loose boards may look better to the architect. and concrete materials may be better controlled. Precasting should be considered only for small units. A number of shells have been built by using earth as a forming material. the earth is excavated. The underside of the shell will show as rectangular panels if additional strips are placed at the middle of the eight-foot length. Strips of plywood. If they are precast on the construction site.large decentering.

a gap will form in the concrete below the bolster. The optimum number of uses appears to be from 6 to 10. On the other hand. or if the reinforcing is heavily stressed. If the shell membrane is thin. It must be specified and detailed by the engineer. On a sloping surface. girders. the most convenient method is to use wire mesh or metal lath panels that can be removed as soon as the concrete has been placed. With curved surfaces. The shell was virtually plastered. Except for very steep slopes and thick walls. and may be expensive. together with the details of the method of stress transfer such as the inclusion of keyways. top forms are unnecessary. usually the stresses are fairly small. By this number of uses. Candela has built these shells with practically a vertical slope. and possible thickening of members.Top Forms. and if the bolsters are horizontal. Construction joints. Small to medium size shells may be placed at one time and construction joints may not be a problem. On steep slopes. The reinforcing should be detailed so the bolsters are vertical. that is not possible to place all of the concrete at one operation. this may be unsightly and be an unsatisfactory structural condition. and columns should be followed. and construction joints become necessary. and that careful preparation of the surface for the next concrete placing is provided. and indicated on the construction drawings. The thickness was only 1. the cost of forms per square foot is reduced if the forms are used repeatedly during construction. depending on the total length for the time of construction. and the curing time between uses. the usual good construction methods for beams. then the slab bolsters will run horizontally. These joints should be planned and specified by the engineer. Fresh concrete on slopes tends to slide downward.5 inches. the bars may be welded. and no special reinforcing is required at construction joints. steel setters find it more convenient to place the lower bars vertically. and the form surface may not have to be rebuilt at an additional cost. It is important to provide adequate lapping of the bars. and there was a grid of reinforcing bars to support the concrete. special reinforcing. If this is done. the original total cost will be divided by the number of uses. For movable forms. a shell may be so large. The most important detail is that the screed at the edge of the placing area is carefully fitted to the reinforcing. so that the surface can be finished with the rest of the roof. it is easy to . It top forms become necessary. REINFORCING In many cases there is a grid of reinforcing bars that must be held in place. In edge members. Form uses.

because gravity is a very convenient concrete mover. It there is too much water. The use of admixtures that make the concrete more fluid for pumping may cause the concrete on steep slopes to move downward. with an adequate number of workers and finishers. CONCRETE PLACING The objective of concrete placing is the production of a smooth dense solid texture on the under surface of the shell with no pockets or honeycombing. and should be close enough together so that the screed board will rest on the rails. The . the concrete will run down the slope. so every effort should be made to make the operation simple and convenient. the concrete becomes unplacable. so that the engineer in writing the specifications must consider this problem. It is important that the concrete be placed on the form at the place where it is required. so the reinforcing can be placed underneath. both in the specifications and in the supervision on this point. the reduced weight on the footings may save some concrete.underestimate the length of bars. but this saving will result in little reduction in stresses. and if there is too little. Placing concrete in shells is hard work for the placing crew who must work on a sloping surface and often shovel heavy concrete uphill. Otherwise the placing will be greatly slowed. If soil conditions are marginal. There is considerably more work for the crew to place the concrete from the bottom up than from the top down. so there will be little reduction in the quantity of reinforcing. However. The use of lightweight concrete for shells may save some weight. Placeability and low shrinkage are important. There is a general agreement among engineers that concrete should be placed from the bottom of the shell upward. Screeds. There should be a thorough understanding. CONCRETE MATERIALS The compression stresses in shells are usually quite low. so the concrete strength is not the most important element in designing the concrete mixture. They may run either horizontally or vertically. Shells are so thin that the under surface will not have the advantage of the weight above the surface as in beams or columns. Both the contractor and the crew may resist placing from the top down. there are some cases where high early strength concrete becomes necessary in order to move forms rapidly for maximum production. There are several methods to establish the thickness of the shell as the concrete is placed. so extra care must be taken. One method is to use long screed rails set on blocks on the form. For slanting surfaces. the water cement ratio tends to become adjusted to the optimum value. Then the concrete will not sag downward and cause pockets.

the better the results. CURING The accepted standards for the curing of concrete apply to the construction of shells. The vibrator should be placed at the center of each square for only a short time. the vibrator must cover so every square foot of the surface. especially for thin cantilevers at the corners of an umbrella shell. Another method is to use concrete blocks or short posts nailed to the form and placed close enough together so the finisher can establish the proper thickness by eye. both above and below the surface is essential. the vibration of the concrete must be under careful control. where movable forms are used. Shells are thin and vibrations are transmitted only short distance. Time of decentering. the enclosure may be part of the forming system. so cold weather protection. Too early removal of forms may not affect the strength. if rapid movement is involved. especially for industrial buildings where large areas are to be covered. by movable wood runways and carts. One method that has been used. The vibrator operator must be given precise directions. so precautions must be taken. Special precautions must be made. Vibration. by bucket and mobile crane. and the depressions left by the boards and blocks are filled up so there are no marks on the under surface. mechanical screeds are desirable. In general. whether by pumping. Placing method The selection of the type of placing equipment. the steepness of the slopes. and the distance above the ground. for any concrete structure.screed rails are removed as soon as the surface is established. is to construct a rectangular grid of 3/4 inch square wood strips fastened with s single nail or bolt at the intersections. In order to produce a smooth dense texture. the thin surface is susceptible to plastic cracking. A decision must be made on the minimum cylinder strength allowable in the concrete before . an air pocket or rough texture will result. They are thin and do not generate or retain heat. On relatively small inverted umbrellas. rapid decentering may be directly involved with the economy of the project. In hot weather. This grid will fold into a compact unit so it can be moved from spot to spot. but may have serious consequences for deflections. If this is not done. should be the decision of the contractor. the form and shape of the shell. One touch of the vibrator is required to achieve the desired result. On a large production job. the longer the forms remain in place. based on factors such as the equipment available. It is often possible to build enclosures under the forms that can be insulated and heated. However.

San Francisco. and must show sufficient details so the contractor can construct it economically. the heyday of shell construction. I hope that you will find it of value. The engineer should. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Shells have a great economic potential for the construction of low-cost industrial or commercial buildings to cover large areas. The engineer must be aware of the economic factors in shell construction. but it requires teamwork and the cooperation of the contractor and engineer. the word to both architects and engineers is . There are three factors to consider in discussing costs of shells:    Designing shells to reduce costs and to use them effectively. so it can be written into the specifications. 1962. However. The joint efforts of the contractor and engineer will create a structure bringing pride and a sense of accomplishment to all parties. With respect to designing shells effectively. I have not included any of the prices quoted and have omitted many of the arguments for the use of shell structures. The only answer to the economic question is to take bids from contractors on several competitive systems. during construction. California. COSTS OF SHELL STRUCTURES Much of the material in this discussion was taken from my paper “Economic Factors in Shell Roof Construction” in the proceedings of the World Conference on Shell Structures. one with mechanical ingenuity and perseverance. On large projects. The construction of shells is not difficult. the time of decentering is sometimes controlled by deflection tests to establish an acceptable modulus of elasticity at which forms may be moved. He should use a competent superintendent. they have other advantages that may outweigh the initial cost of the structure. Comparison with costs of other materials. The latter must design the structure so it is easy to build. Long spans are more expensive to build because they must usually be constructed with a single use form.decentering. Then the contractor can make his decision on the type of concrete and the rapidity of movement of the forms. be free to make decisions on plans and specifications that will expedite the construction without any reduction in quality. It may be possible to move forms on a 24 hour curing schedule if high early strength concrete is used. The specifications must be carefully written to reflect the problems in thin shell construction. Accurate estimation of quantities of materials. and the critical thin shell element are reshored. The contractor should study the plans in order to solve the construction problems before they become difficult in the field. and subsequent costs.

When the bids come in low.77 Steel frame. span 1. there is little to be gained by elaboration. span 1. The first building in the area should be simple in design with relatively simple finishes. 20 ft. however. Here. engineering. steel deck 1.“Keep it Simple. beams or trusses. The area of forms . square Hypars Compared to Other Systems Hypars. In all cases. but it is difficult to put a price on intangibles. Shells do not require elaboration because they are strong forms in themselves. light. 60 ft. Here are some more statistics developed. Certainly the increase in efficiency of the workers in a building should have a monetary value. steel purlins. Other structures may require hung ceilings. increase with the span. Another study was made for umbrella hyperbolic paraboloids. 40 ft. There is a way to promote shells so that they will be used more often.25 Barrel Shells.90 Prestressed Concrete 1. Stupid. the architect can prove that shell structures are inexpensive and their economic future is assured. and construction. All other data is useful but is always in question.00 Timber frame 0. is that the quantity of materials will vary little with the span while others. that can be avoided with a shell roof. the area covered (1600 square feet) was the same. The difficulty in comparison of shells with other systems of construction. clean.” From the point of view of aesthetics. The biggest factor is the unit cost of forms. sponsored by the Ideal Cement Company. are some of the results of a study made in the late 1950’s. resulting from the smooth undersurface of shells that have no girders. spacing.04 Steel frame. steel deck.91 Steel frame wood joists 0. and steel purlins Barrel Shells. Comparison of costs with other systems It should be emphasized that the only accurate method of cost comparison is to make alternate designs and take bids.10 The obvious conclusion is shells are increasing competitive with longer spans.01 Estimating costs Surprisingly it is less difficult estimate costs of shell roof buildings than it is to estimate costs of other types. 40 x40 ft. Ratio of cost of shell to steel frame. Shells offer uncluttered. 60 ft. open web joists 0. dust free surfaces.78 Steel frame wood purlins 0. spacing. There are many advantages to shells. and here the ingenuity and experience of the contractor plays an important part. 1. Ratio of Cost of 40 ft.

to 60ft.002L Guidance for selecting the forming system is given in the section on construction of shells.25 1. Shells of minimum cost Shells can compete with other structural systems. slope of plate: 4/12 Barrel shells. for example for hung ceilings. width: 30 ft. both steel and concrete.38-0. span half the width.and the volume of concrete are easy to estimate. to 100 ft.71-0.. it is necessary to go back to fundamentals. In general. but a system for construction at a minimum cost must be devised. slope: 4/12 Quantities of Reinforcing Steel for Typical Interior Bays of Shell Roof Structures Type Thickness.  The formwork must be inexpensive.  There must be a real desire on the part of the contractor to reduce costs. Following are some of the results of studies on the quantities of reinforcing steel in the following shell structures.     Folded plates. and to collect local costs based on systems you know to be satisfactory for the particular job. The building must be extremely simple. unless the forms can be used at least five or six times. psf Folded Plate 3. Square inverted umbrella hypars. The most difficult element is the cost of forms. There are many solutions which must be carefully studied to arrive at the most desireable solution.004L Umbrella Hypars 2. spans to 70 ft. or expensive finish materials. with no extras for light.003L Dome Hypars 3.10-0. are considered. radius of shell 25 ft. to design and price forms for the particular project. 40ft. . The thickness is based on minimum values. 30 ft.50 1. spans: 50 to 100 ft. Therefore. and the reinforcing is only a fraction of the total cost. slope: 4/12 Square hypar dome shells.25 1. heat aesthetics.. The quantity of reinforcing does not vary greatly with the spans and is a relatively small percentage of the total cost.. They are not difficult to estimate. Determination of the cost of forms is the most difficult part of the estimation of the cost of shells. Four conditions must be fulfilled:   There must be minimum quantities of materials. it is better to stick to single use forms. especially if additional costs. Published costs are virtually worthless. These shells were design for 30 pounds per square foot. inches Steel. Summary Shell structures may cost only slightly more than competitive materials.007L Barrel Shells 3..50 1.80-0.

For a barrel shell or a folded plate: Two 1/2 in. It is not expected that these preliminary design calculations be precise. Do not try to design shells without a thorough study of the relevant sections of the current American Concrete Association regulations. For a description of the structural elements of the shells discussed here. of cover equals 2. of cover equals 1. The worst way to start a design is to immediately set up a finite element analysis.75 inches.PRELIMINARY DESIGN OF SHELLS The principal purposes for preliminary design of any structure is: (1) To obtain quantities of materials for making estimates of cost. Do not think that a shell will be stronger if it is thicker than required. but rather they should be within an accepted tolerance. has been restricted to principals rather than to presentation of calculations. bars. there are usually only two layers so the minimum thickness could be: Two 3/8 in. bars. Thickness of shells The thickness of the slab elements are normally governed by the number of layers of reinforcing bars. Of course. one 3/4 in. the concrete stresses should be checked. bar. However a little tolerance should be added. but they seldom control. the reader should first study the presentations in Mark Ketchum's Types and Forms of Shell Structures Preliminary Design for Types of Shells Barrel Shells Folded Plates . The discussion of preliminary analysis here. and. For shells of double curvature. two 1/2 in. There are differences from the normal structures. Given these principals. (2) Obtain a clear picture of the structural action. two 1/2 in. the engineer should be able to set up his own calculations. Any new type of structure requires an extended lead time to obtain a thorough understanding of the structural action. (3) Establish the dimensions of the structure.75 in. (4) Use the preliminary design as a check on the final design.

Umbrella Shells Four Gabled Hypars Domes of Revolution Translation Shells BARREL SHELLS First find the longitudinal and shear (diagonal tension) reinforcing required for a typical interior element of the structure. 4. A barrel shells acts as a beam in the long direction and as an arch in the curved area. 1. It may require several approximations to get a fair value. The tension in the diagonal direction is determined first by equating the longitudinal force to the shear forces. from the center of reinforcing to the center of compression. of course. The area of reinforcing is. the force divided by the allowable stress. The arch is supported by internal shears. Let S equal the unit shear at the end of the beam. . The area of reinforcing is obtained by estimating the effective depth of the beam element. 2. 3. Approximate values for the bending moments in the arch are summarized in the following sketch. The force in the reinforcing is equal to the bending moment divided by the effective depth. Then: S times the width of the shell times the length divided by 4 equals the longitudinal force. The sum of the shearing forces equals the longitudinal forces.

The stiffness of a barrel shell at the outside edges is simply not stiff or strong enough to carry the required loads. 3. squared divided by 8 and the rise. Assume that this is simply a wide arch equal to half of the span. If it is haunched. then as a continuous haunched beam. . FOLDED PLATES The design of folded plate roof structures follows the design of barrel shells. a pattern of diagonal tension bars can be constructed. Analyse and design the slab element as a continuous beam on fixed supports. The edge spans of the shell should be supported by intermediate columns. but is much simpler because the elements are all essentially beams. 6. Support the ends of the folded plates by rigid frames. Support the folded plate at its longitudinal edges by frequent columns as was suggested for barrel shells.If there are no other forces on an element at the neutral axis of the beam. 4. The horizontal reaction of the arch elements of the shell must be contained by an rigid frame and a horizontal tie. Design a typical longitudinal interior element as a beam by the usual methods. 5. normally a simple support. including the first spans. 2. An approximation for the horizontal force would be equal to the load per foot on this arch times the arch span. From this information. then the diagonal tension equals the shear. 1. In this case the frames are loaded by the shear forces from the slab element and are in the plane of the frame members. The shell reinforcing at the edge members acts more like a typical arch and should be reinforced with two layers of bars. The thrust in the arch can be determined from this and the vertical reaction.

. and f is the vertical height of the panel. Be sure to include adequate reinforcing for any contingency. and are used to design the ribs. The connection to the shell defies analysis. If the external ribs are placed above the shell then the edge member will be prestressed in positive moment and the edge of the shell will tend to deflect upward which is most desirable. The internal ribs are in compression and the external ribs are in tension. The exterior rib supporting the shell. a and b = the dimensions of the individual panel. the direct stress varies from zero at the edges to maximum at the center. The interior rib created by the intersection of the shell elements. The central column should be designed for some unbalanced load. The membrane equation for a hypar gives the direct stresses in the shell: Shear = Tension = wab/2f. It is also desirable to design this member for the additional weight of the edge member. These loads are transfered directly to the supporting ribs through shear. In both cases. The deflection at the end of the rib is critical.UMBRELLA SHELLS Following is a sketch of a typical inverted umbrella hypar. particularly in the exterior corners The cental column and the connection to the shell. The principal elements are:     The shell element with stresses predicted by the membrane equation. but tests by the Portland Cement Association have proved the strength of these types of joints. where w = unit load.

therefore. a steel tie stretching.FOUR GABLED HYPARS The design of this structure follows. for example.) It is. The membrane theory would predict that the stresses would be the same but of different sign. Please refer to the previous example. Which brings us to the conclusion that for the first case it would be advisable to increase the thickness of the shell near the supports to take the load off the rib elements. (Which has happened. Studies by the finite element method have demonstrated that if the abutments are fixed. with exceptions. the compression stresses are greater. advisable to camber this member upward to offset this tendency. This is a long compression member and is free to deflect downward with the possibility of ultimate buckling. say one quarter for a start. but if the abutments move because of. The top ridge member is in compression and may require additional area above that of the shell. The sketch shows the essential elements: The shell acts as an arch in one direction and as a catenary in the other. DOMES OF REVOLUTION . the design of the umbrella hypar. then the catenary stresses are larger. The slanting side ribs are also in compression and to some extent in bending. and sould be designed for some of the weight of the rib.

Z. where R is the horizontal radius of the shell. The steps are as follows: o o o Determine the total weight. The shape is generated by a curve moving along another curve. above a series of horizontal sections The total vertical stress. and the cylinder formula: P = HR. The symbol. so it is usual to gradually increase the thickness at this point and add moment reinforcing. of the force at the base as shown in the sketch. The force in the ring beam is obtained from the horizontal component. at any section will be equal to the vertical force. is perpendicular to the element. There will be some bending moment at the junction of the shell and the ring beam. The dome is usually supported by arches. P. If the curves are circles. P. or nearly vertical. then every vertical section is the same. The radial force at any section can be obtained for the freebody diagram for an element as shown in the sketch. TRANSLATION SHELLS The translation shell is simply a square dome as shown by the sketch. H. not just cylindrical domes.V. There are three principal design areas: . at the base.The rules described are suitable for domes of revolution of any configuration or variable thickness. then a ring beam will be required. For a cylindrical dome the radial force can be obtained form the equation: (T(vertical) + T(horizontal))/R = Z o o If the shell is not vertical.

After each circle is completed. supported on its side by walls or columns. They are loaded in shear including the weight of the arches themselves. The largest shells constructed are now less than 300 feet in diameter. has been constructed with two or three element folded plates. and the ring above placed. For very large spans. such as sports facilities demand greater spans.          INTERESTING POSSIBILITIES FOR SHELL STRUCTURES There are several types of shell structures that offer advantages in terms of utility and cost and perhaps in aesthetics. The construction of this structure will require the greatest ingenuity. Some uses. and then moving around to place the next section. The virtue of the vault is that half of the load on the shell is carried by the walls.o o o  The central dome area which is designed like a spherical dome. These spans will require a ribbed structure created by pans or insulating blocks of foam set on the forms. The design and construction of such a shell is a challenge. This structural system can be used. then the rig would be raised. The corners where there is considerable tension from the ring beam affect. and tied at the ends by frames and horizontal ties. and using inflatable forms and a uniform depth may not be possible. The spans of the slab elements can be of relatively long. A much more interesting system is to use plates with much less slope and use vertical columns for end support rather than the usual ties. for example. and the other half is carried to the ends and at that point the usual arch and tie are required. The grid could be formed by using semirigid insulation thus ensuring acoustical treatment VAULTS A vault may be defined as a single barrel shell. placing concrete at a short horizontal and vertical section. a grid constructed with pans is necessary so that the dome will be stiff enough and still weigh less than a uniform depth. The thickness of a shell can be much less that for a normal arch of the same span because the shell carries loads as a space structure. FOLDED PLATE The usual folded plate structure. LONG SPAN DOMES Constructions of spherical domes by using inflated membranes as forms has proven to be a viable solution to many problems. Again ingenuity will be required for maximum economy. The arches which take their share of the total load. One method will be to construct the dome by a form on a track that moves around the inside of the dome. with slopes of slightly less than 45 degrees. for sports facilities with widths up to 300 feet and lengths to 500 feet. (25 . perhaps as much as 1000 feet.

and the span of the folded plates.     I have written a paper on "Funicular Frame Works" which shows how to generate and solve the equations. The decentering of such a large structure for would be a real chore and would require expensive manual or hydraulic jacks. and is one of the most efficient structural systems possible. The slope of the slabs is the a ratio of 1 to 5. 50 ft. To put it another way. The construction of this model was possible because the dimensions were generated by the program. say. It is available by sending me an Email. This type of structure deserves further study. This arch is suitable for extremely long spans. The concrete would be much easier to place than The usual steep slope. The usual method would be to use a curved form moving on a track that would form two or three units. The photo shows a stick model of a tear drop shaped dome. with a height of 5 ft. 50 ft. SHELL ARCHES A shell arch has a longitudinal cross section of a barrel shell or a folded plate. Finite differences are used to solve the equations. In my opinion the shape would be more esthetically interesting.     FUNICULAR SHELLS A dome of any size or shape can be designed for any plan by using the differential equation of a bubble. say to 1000 feet.. but is a circular arch or other shape in profile.   . move to the next set of shells. thus leading to better economy. leading to a de-emphasis of the repetitious nature of some folded plate structures. and the massive forms would not need to be decentered. if the slabs are haunched. and the reinforcing will be minimum The most interesting aspect of the design is the selection of the forming system. then the bags could be deflated to move to the next 30 feet). My idea is to form the final curves with air inflated bags. recenter and cast the next unit. there will be less concrete in the roof than in the floor system. and then decenter. The optimum distance valley to valley would then be.

ketchum. in Three other similar structures were subsequently torn down. a four element hyperbolic paraboloidal roof structure collapsed.. so we carefully prestressed it as well as all edge members. The structure was 155 ft. I looked at one of them that had a deflection of 18 inches at the center. Janney. 24. I was called in by the investigating firm. Sept. 1970. and Elsner to give my opinion.  A SIGNIFICANT FAILURE On September 14. Wiss. The Owner proposed to hang a heavy curtain from the ridge member. It shows that when you design shells.html    . and there were injuries to the school children. This structure has had no problems and is in excellent condition. After tests on materials and further analysis. http://www.. We designed a similar structure in Colorado Springs in 1962 except that it was 185 ft. the gymnasium ot The Tucker High School in Hennison Virginia. The following photographs were borrowed from Engineering News Record. 1970. It was a good ten years before it finally occurred to me what the real design fault was.    The collapse was complete. by 162 ft in plan. all your normal design instincts flee. as you see. This comment was received from a reader in December 2007: Correction to Milo Ketchum's web archive. the conclusion was that the failure was due to progressive deflection caused by the eccentricity of the compressive forces in the central ridge members. The center point should have been cambered upward .

and all the basketball games with thunderous cheering and bleacher stomping. a suburb of Richmond. as the contractor was behind schedule. also built at the same time and same architecture. Construction of the Henrico HS gym was still in progress when I started the 7th grade. Varina HS. I watched the construction right outside my classroom window. in eastern Henrico County. There was a third high school. I was a student at Henrico High School (from 1962-1968) which was built at the same time and same architecture as Tucker HS.   Tucker High School is in Henrico County. Whenever I think back to all the gym classes I attended there. all three gyms were demolished and rebuilt in a boxy. -Jim Garner (Contact information provided) . I shudder to think how close to death we all were. not Hennison (which I've never heard of). After the Tucker collapse. In fact. traditional style. Virginia. it is the Henrico HS gym pictured in the "before" photo.