This article describes the design, development & research build process of a new generation of shell roof structures for architecture. The result marks a new era, the renaissance of the shell structures, once popular in architecture in the 1960's, but disappeared since. Liquid Design Architecture enhances a more free and complex geometry of buildings. The main attention in this contribution is given to the ‘free form’ roofs of the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv (architect Moshe Safdie). The principle idea was initated in discussions with colleagues from aeronautic and yacht design. The subsequent process of design & engineering, made use of state-of-the-art design and engineering computer programmes, but relied even more on the ‘out of the box’ abilities and imagination of the technical designers. The production stage was greatly assisted by the transfer of technology from yachting industry, although the architectural application, mainly in its size, but also in transport, shipment and assembly had to be developed further on the building industry's level of technology and pricing.
The development owes much to the interdisciplinary design vocabulary from the different designing faculties at the Delft University of Technology. Professors Adriaan Beukers and Michiel van Tooren became involved and gave a second opinion to the client on the developed sandwich composite technology. After four years of hard labour, great risks on many frontiers and engineering and production experimentation a new generation of shell structures is born, giving possibilities for other wild architectural ideas like the Mediateque in Pau, France, according to the design of architect Zaha Hadid of London.
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