The Department of Building Technology at the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft is studying and developing cardboard as a potential building material on a broad, systematic and, where possible, comprehensive basis. The guiding research question is: “How can cardboard be used in both architectural and structural terms as a fully fledged building material, making use of the material-specific properties?” An exploratory phase from 2003 to 2005 – including an outdoor pilot structure (multi-shed), a pilot pavilion accommodating; an exhibition, workshops on resistance to fire and to damp, a first patent (KCPK), the design of an interior wall (Besin) and the publication of this book – was concluded by an international symposium attended by both the paper industry and the building industry. This publication comprises the report on that symposium.
The paper and cardboard industry, just like the building industry, is a long-established business sector with considerable knowledge and experience. Apart from the honeycomb door and paper-based round column formwork, there are few contacts between the two industries. But architects have made many attempts, further back in the past and also more recently, to use cardboard as a building material.
~1930 – paper house, USA
~1970 – temporary accommodation, TU Delft
~1980 – two temporary theatres, Apeldoorn
~1990 – temporary accommodation Japan, Shigeru Ban
~2000 – Japanese pavilion, Hanover, Shigeru Ban
What is characteristic of these attempts is that experience and knowledge acquired during the work threatens to become lost because there is no framework for systematic collection, processing and development of relevant information.
Despite the poor image of cardboard, projects by such architects as Ban, Eekhout and recently the interior of Scherpontwerp in Eindhoven show that cardboard is an architecturally attractive material that also has good structural and acoustic properties. Cardboard, with all the accompanying knowledge already present in the mature cardboard industry, has the potential to become a valuable element of the architectural repertoire. Each (building) material has its own characteristics which generate specific applications in the building industry.
Cardboard consists of ~90% endlessly recycled material and, following use, can be recycled again to a degree of ~90%. Moreover it is cheap. These two properties allow the material to be viewed in a different light, in contrast to the traditional approach in the building industry of applying materials economically and efficiently. The option of throwing the material away once it has reached the end of its life – without harming the environment – creates another perspective on sustainability.
The Department of Building Technology at the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft plans to study and develop cardboard as a potential building material on a broad, systematic and where possible comprehensive basis. The guiding research question here is:
“How can cardboard be used in both architectural and structural terms as a fully fledged building material, making use of the material-specific properties?”
An exploratory phase from 2003 to 2005 – including an outdoor pilot structure (multished), a pilot pavilion accommodating an exhibition, workshops on resistance to fire and to damp, a first patent (KCPK), the design of an interior wall (Besin), two MSc students and the publication of the exploratory booklet Cardboard Architecture – was concluded by an international symposium attended by both the paper industry and the building industry. This publication comprises the report on that symposium.
In making this publication possible, special thanks goes out to Prof. Richard Horden (Technische Universität München), Prof. Chris McMahon (University of Bath), Prof.dr. Joop Paul (NL) Delft University of Technology, who reviewed the capters and gave constructive and usefull comments in order to improve the overall quality.
Cardboard research at the TU Delft is performed by 4 researchers, who divide their interest between, fundamental research, technology development and application designs. However these domains have strong relationships and need one another in order to become effective. The research in cardboard has 8 or 9 different aspects to cover all relevant aspects in architecture. The approach at the TU Delft is methodical; one of these methods is based on the development of new products and could give a proper lead to efficient product development, even in new territories. At the end a number of 12 different questions are posed on aspects that matter in fundamental research; 14 on development questions and another 14 on design questions. With these 42 questions research could be efficient and permanent for the coming 5 years. The industry should respond to these questions by selection and support. If not, the TU Delft has its own preferences.
The image of cardboard still remains that of a packaging material, but in the last few years, at home and abroad, different projects have been built using cardboard. This article gives a broad spectrum of projects and products using cardboard.
Cardboard tubes are being used by Shigeru Ban as a means of construction in a show of light and open space. Ad van Kil applies the specific texture of honeycell board. The lightness and the ability to recycle are properties fitting a short lifespan and temporary applications. As a result of these properties, two temporary theatres and one party tent have been built.
Cardboard is a lightweight, cheap and environmentally positive material. The packaging industry has a lot of knowledge on cardboard as a packaging material, in the building industry it is still a largely unknown material. To acquire a significant role in architecture, the mechanical and physical properties will have to be researched and determined. In principal, the fire and damp resistance problems could be overcome. Research also will have to be done into the possible areas of appliance, considering its characteristic properties. The lightness of the material and the possibility to fold and slide it, already led to a number of designs for temporary housing in disaster and war stricken areas.
The Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology Delft, has been looking at the possibilities that cardboard offers architectural engineers since 2000. Different disciplines are involved in this research group.
One step in this research program was the design, building and exhibition of a pavilion, made of cardboard. The pavilion is designed by master students of the Architecture department and build by master students of the Building Technology department. All work is done in strong corporation with the Dutch cardboard and paper industry. The pavilion has been presented at a 2-day international symposium in January 2006. This paper focuses on the design, engineering and building process.
Paper and cardboard are being used on a small scale in the building industry. One of the most common products is wallpaper, less well known are honeycomb door cores and cellulose insulation panels. Some architects use the material for an advanced agenda and more professionally: Shigeru Ban uses cardboard tubes for construction purposes and there are various projects in the realm of temporary housing.
This text describes the building of a cardboard house: it describes the current understanding of cardboard as a player in the building industry and the knowledge still missing.
Is a house made of cardboard feasible? Why would you want to use a cardboard house? In order to give a – temporary – answer, a few thoughts have been written down.
Summarized: in the foundation the only application is that of building-aid; constructively, tubes are a proven application. Connections in cardboard are still rather tricky, mainly because of failure at concentrated loads.
Thanks to water we have cardboard, and despite water it will have to remain in tact. Building components of cardboard separating the inside from the outside – whereby the material must be water-repellent and the many seams which exist in a building must be sealed – at the moment seem to be far from day-to-day use.
Cardboard is recyclable, cheap, lightweight, foldable and printable. Which of these properties is a real addition to the existing traditional assortment of building materials? A newcomer must be equal to the existing materials in the existing marketplace and to stand out in order to acquire a place in the building industry.
Ecology (recycling, short life-span, light weight) seems to be its greatest advantage. But, considering the thoughts afore mentioned, the application of the materials will often only be feasible in a combined shape, as composites.
The following paper outlines approaches to the use of cardboard in structural design and construction and illustrates its successful use on a number of example projects. The paper summarises and illustrates the experience gained in cardboard design by the multi disciplinary engineering company Buro Happold Ltd.
Cardboard and paper products have been used for decades in the fields of interior and product design and the packaging industry. But cardboard has not been used widely in architectural design, building technology and structural engineering and construction, despite its potential advantages of flexibility, low material cost, ready availability and good environmental credentials.
So far only a few cardboard structures have been built, each designed as a one-off by designers specifically interested in cardboard as a structural and building material.
As the structural design with cardboard and paper products is not yet codified and only limited material data is available the designer relies not only on empirical knowledge, project specific tests and the understanding of first principles of engineering, but also on a willingness and curiosity to take extra design responsibilities. As a result, cardboard allows the designer to pursue structures not primarily based on precedent and go beyond conventional structural ideas. The designer can thus gain new knowledge from the individual one off structures which might feed back into standard construction practice and lead to a wider acceptance of cardboard as a valid and economic structural material.
In addition cardboard responds well to current issues of sustainability: it is primarily manufactured from waste paper products and can easily be repeatedly recycled; it has excellent acoustic and thermal properties; and it is very easy safe to work with on site.
Recently the interest of architects grows in using cardboard for constructions. For the realization of any structure adequate knowledge of the mechanical properties of the building material is essential. For structural application the mechanical behaviour and the load bearing capacity have to be predictable as well. However, there is not enough information about the mechanical properties of cardboard in terms of a building material. Common numbers and codes are not established yet. In the presented PhD project the mechanical behaviour of cardboard and cardboard structures are investigated concerning structural application. Also a computational model based on the finite element method will be developed as a prediction tool. The project combines material testing, structural design and computational modelling. In this regard preliminary beams completely made of cardboard were designed and tested. In this paper the outline of the PhD thesis and the first outcome of the preliminary design of the beams are presented.
Designing is an incredible experience. Looking for new solutions for posed problems challenges you to keep on improving yourself and others. It is a continuous course of action: you will always regard issues and situations with ‘designer-eyes’, often resulting in passion and enthusiasm.
The most energy for the development of the cardboard dome was taken up by technical fundamental research. After 4 months from scratch, a trustworthy cardboard technology with circular tubes was established. This lead to a conventional engineered dome using the state of the art dome technology. Humidity is still one of the major problems of cardboard produced in the current industrial manner. The tubes were partially prestressed to avoid complicated bolted connections in this 3-way single layered dome structure.
IOS Press, Inc.
6751 Tepper Drive
Clifton, VA 20124
Tel.: +1 703 830 6300
Fax: +1 703 830 2300 firstname.lastname@example.org
(Corporate matters and books only) IOS Press c/o Accucoms US, Inc.
For North America Sales and Customer Service
West Point Commons
Lansdale PA 19446
Tel.: +1 866 855 8967
Fax: +1 215 660 5042 email@example.com