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By Escrig, F.1) and Sanchez, J.2)

Professor of the School of Architecture of Sevilla. Spain.

This paper relates the objectives and solution for design a great area by means of a space grid
structure with clamped joints. The plant is elliptic with 144 x 114 sqm of edges and all is supported on
four piers. Non lineal analysis, dynamics and wind loads tested in a wind tunnel have been used. The
result is a curious wing like that is discussed.

Curved Space Structures with pined joints are very known an they are a lot of great and interesting
examples that illustrate the possibilities of this system. A recent book by Chilton (Reference 1)
provides a general survey of main of them. Fuller has made an art of the design of Space Grid
Structures. The Expo 69 USA Pavilion in Montreal (Figure 1) was at his time a great achievement.
The merit of these structures is that can be easily assembled and mounted. The Sant Jordi Sports
Palace in Barcelona (Figure 2) or Namihaya Dome (Figure 3) by Kawaguchi shows the possibility
of erect them without scaffolding.

Fig. 1. Expo USA Pavillion of Montreal 1969. By Fuller

Fig. 3. Namihaya Dome. Kadoma. Fig. 2. St. Jordi Sports Palace. Barcelona.
Structures with rigid joints are less frequent. But they have permitted to roof wide areas in a economic
alternative. Candela used them in the Mexico Sport Palace for 1968 Olympic Games (Figure 4) and
more recently The Akita Skydome by Kajima Design (Figure 5).

Fig. 4. Sports Palace in Mexico. 1968 Fig. 5. Akita Skydome. 1990.


The commitment was to cover an existing velodrome without modify any part of walls of amphitheatre.
The plant is oval 150 x 115 m. of main axis. Figure 6 shows a general view of the building. It was
desirable too not interfere with the daily activities or the facilities during construction or do this during
short periods,
We decided to use a two layer curved grid supported on four piers placed in the corners of a square
edged 91 m. This was the minimum span to guaranty that the supports are outside of the perimeter
(Figure 7).

Fig. 6. View of the Velodromo. Fig. 7. Plan with the situation of Piers.
Our proposal was to use two cylindrical grids intersecting between them as shown in the Figure 8. To
stiff the structure a perimetral steel box 3 m. depth and 2 m. with bound the edges an the curve of
intersection. This box connects to the piers and is used to visit any part of the roof (Figure 9).

Fig. 8. Perspective. Fig. 10. Patern of the nesh.

Fig. 9.
The mesh selected has a pattern like shown in the Figure 10 that is conceived as an optimal choice to
achieve a good behaviour. The two layer are similar but not concentric and gives a complex geometry
in spite of the simplicity of the surface. The joints will be welded without any intermediate piece and
works as clamped.
Then as a resume we proposed a kind of bird that looks like shown in the Figures 11 and 12.
covered with a steel sheet.

Fig. 11. Front elevation.

Fig. 12. Diagonal elevation.

The drainage is provided on the top of perimetral boxes by means of a special profile that continues
along the piers as shown in the Figure 13. At the feet of piers they will be a tank for regulation that
avoids the sudden fall of water from the top. The final internal appearance will be as shown in the
Figure 14.
The four great piers will support great horizontal forces and then they are heavy and with a wide
size. We have preferred this solution to any other to support the grid.

Fig. 13. View of the pier. Fig. 14. Internal view.


Alternatives considered was:
a) A plane grid as shown in the Figure 15 with a 5m depth with problems to solve drainage a poor
aesthetic appearance.
b) Spherical grid (Figure 16) with a geometry easily of understand but with excessive occupation
of the land.
c) Spherical grid (Figure 17) with intersection of three shells. There is not any advantage against

Fig. 15 Fig. 16 Fig. 17

One of the most difficult steps of the construction is the assembling process without the use of expensive
The elements will be cut and preassembled in the factory and only bolted unions are permitted
in the struts. Even in the border box the unions will be bolted priors of the welding.
The suggested order of assembling is:
a) Erection of the inner girder boxes.
b) Erection of the cantilever borders.
c) Construction of the central main arches.
d) Fill the mesh of the little cylinders
e) Erection of the border of great cylinder.
f) Fill the rest of the grid.
This process can be shown in the Figure 18.
Fig. 18. Erectng Process.

Load Case 1. Self weight. Done automatically by the analysis Programme (SAP2000).
Load Case 2. The weight of the steel sheet and insulation. 20 Kp/sqm.
Load Case 3. Snow load and use. 60 Kp/sqm.
Load Case 4. Machinery. 40 Kp/sqm.
Load Case 5. Wind loads. Tested in wind tunnel (Reference 6) according with the expression
q=150 (cpi - cpe). The figure 19 shows the coefficients cpe.
Load Case 6. Dynamic Analysis. We consider only the first five modes.
Load Case 7. Thermal changes of +/- 30ºC.
We will combine these cases according the codes of practice. The SAP-2000 Programme checks
local buckling. To check the overall buckling we use the References 2 and 3.

being hm the equivalent depth.

Fig. 19. Winds loads.

With the result of the analysis we achieve a dimensioning that can be shown in the Figure 20. In the
final position only bolted connections are permitted. (Figure 21). The Figure 22 shows the final
As an alternative not accepted by the client we proposed a Retractable Roof, as shown in the
Figures 23 and 24.
The works have been commenced in February of 2001 and are provided to be finished in the
period of 12 month.

Fig. 20. Plan with the pipes used. Fine lines represents Ø 270.e6. Depth lines represents Ø 350.e6.
Fig. 21. Details of construction.

Fig. 22. General view.

Figs. 23 and 24. General view of a retractable roof.

1.- Chilton, John “Space Grid Structures” Architectural Press. ISBN 0 7506 3275 5. 180 pgs.
2.- Buchert, Kenneth P. “Buckling of Shell & Shell like Structures” K. P. Buchert &
Associates. 113 pgs. 1973.
3.- Escrig, Felix «Pandeo de Estructuras» Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla. ISBN 84
7406 308 0. 251 pgs. 1986.
4.- EUROCODE 1. «Basis of Design and Actions on Structures. Part 2-4:Action on
Structures: Wind Actions» 1995.
5.- Ishii, Kazuo. “Structural Design of Retractable Roof Structures” WIT Press. ISBN 1-
85312-619-5. 208 pp. 2000.
6.- Meseguer, José et alii. «Aerodinámica de Instalaciones Aeroportuarias». Fundación Aena.
ISBN 84-95567-02-4. 268 pgs. 2000.