Friday, December 20, 2013

Examples of Grid Structures

By Sufiyanu Momoh

A good example of grid shell roofing structures would be the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington dc. In the article “Smithsonian celebrates hip and 'Artragious'” the author Christina describes this structure as “a glass-enclosed engineering marvel it shares with the National Portrait Gallery”. This grid shell gives this courtyard a whole different feel to it. The 63 million dollar glass and steel structure was designed by fosters and partners. It covers over 28000 square feet. This roof structure sits above the court yard space. It is supported by some aluminum clad column so that the weight of the roof does not damage the existing historical buildings. Its structural frame is made out of steel which frames a double glazed glass panel. The roof structure allows day light in but also studded with a cluster of white lights which also gives it an elegant feel in the dark. The yas hotel located in Dubai, designed by asymptote architecture. A grid shell hangs over the structure acting like a skin. During day time this grid shell reflects the sky and the environment and by night it is lit by a color changing LED lighting system that incorporates video feeds that pass through them. The geometry of each unit in the grid shell was designed to mimic the ancient Islamic artistry. In an article describing this structure the author describes one of the effects of this grid shell. He says "the outer “grid shell” breaks the sunlight and generates a stack cooling effect" (gideon 2010). Considering how hot the location of this hotel can get, the effect of this sort of structures would definitely make spaces within this structure to feel better. The author further describes the function of this grid shell as he says "Starting at dusk, the grid shell becomes a light source of its own. LED luminaires—5,800 of them, each containing 144 bulbs—mounted in the vertices of the lattice function in unison as a wraparound screen, turning the Yas Hotel into something of a lava lamp, or a phosphorescent sea creature. Frits in the glass panels reflect the light sources outward, according to Rashid, without compromising transparency from within." (gideon 2010) explaining the elements of this structure when it gets dark. The Grid-Shell visually connects and fuses the entire complex together while producing optical effects and spectral reflections that play against the surrounding sky, sea and desert landscape.In most of this grid structure designs the major variables within them are lights. “Strikingly faceted with tons of holes letting in natural lighting, the pavilion offers a unique place to relax while also heralding a new technique for architects to consider. The pavilion was even outfitted with swinging hammocks for passersby to rest in." (meghan 2012) describing another grid shell structure which reacts with light to produce a well relaxing space within.A lot of these grid shells satisfy their design needs but do need really go deep into solving solutions and in cooperating environmental variables which can better the space. Pushing the boundaries on what these grid shells can be done; one can consider these shells to serve as templates for sustainable solutions such as solar panels thereby having certain parts of the templates orientated in ways they can get full potential of the suns energy. they can also serve as templates for other sustainable solutions such as heliostats. These heliostats can reflect light into darker areas within the region to brighten things up in those areas. Another possible function of this grid shell is to let them function as trellis which can act as a very good design element. The potential of these types of structures can go on and on.

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