Natural Forms Through Geometry and Structure: Design of the Parachute Pavilion

by D’souza, Nicola Laila

Abstract (Summary)
“Mathematics is only a means for expressing the laws that govern phenomena” stated Albert Einstein. Similarly, geometry is only a means of defining the laws that govern natural structures, both organic and inorganic. Hence it is a powerful and ubiquitous explanator of form in the natural world. Nature is abundant with the most profound examples of delicate strength. All natural forms have an intrinsic geometrical order with an inherent flexibility for variable outcomes. This thesis is inspired by the geometrical order that is responsible for beauty, variety, strength, stability, functionality and economy in nature. It hypothesizes that the geometry that has shaped the natural world, can be used at an intrinsic level to create form in the built environment. The result of this exploration is the Golden Tetrahedral System. It is a triangulated and dimensionally stable geometric system for light weight space frame construction. It is derived from the geometry of the Golden Section. Six tetrahedral blocks, composed from four different lengths and triangular faces, form the basic units of the system. These versatile blocks can be combined to result in planar, spherical, cylindrical and other curved surfaces. With the use of this system, it is also possible to create naturally curved surfaces like those found in a flower petal or a leaf. The modularity and use of repetitive elements enables economic manufacture and construction. The system is tested out in the design project, ‘The Parachute Pavilion’. It is used to form a space frame structure that derives its form from a collapsing parachute, frozen in time, just before it meets the ground at the base of the tower in whose shadow it stands. The intricate complexity of the geometry in this building is integrated with simplicity of form and construction technique so as to be easily constructable.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:geometry and nature natural forms the golden ratio


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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