Skip to content

Bending-Active Falswork For Tile Vaulting

By Léopold Sepulchre

How to approximate a compression shape with a bending active gridshell, and to how to design this gridshell to be a low-cost and reusable guidework ?

In this work we investigate the use of a bending active gridshell to serve as a guidework for building tile-vaults, which are compression-only shells made of tiles that can cantilever during construction. The aim of this research is to reduce the waste and costs of the falsework for tile-vaults, but also to provide a kit-of-part and fool-proof system for local labours.

​Bending active gridshells seem to be a promising solution for the falsework as they are constructed from initially linear elements that are bent in place. The challenge is then to get the final equilibrium shape to correspond to the compression shell, and to have a dense enough description of the shape for the mason.

​In a first time, this work investigates computational modelling and design strategies of a bending active gridshell to serve as a falsework, and based on target geodesic curves drawn on the desired compression shell.

​In a second time, a prototype model is built as a proof of concept, but also to gain feedback on the construction and detail design issues of such a gridshell. This prototype is based on the tile vault “drone port” of the 2016 Venice Biennale, at half scale.

Video of the project :

Academic year
Date of defense
21 June 2021
computational mechanics, material testing (lab), digital tools
Director 1
Lars De Laet (VUB)
Director 2
Paula Fuentes Gonzalez (VUB)