Spanned Flexure
Convertible Roof Systems With Elastic Kinetic Plates
Actuated By Tension Cables



The research aims to expand the potential in convertibility of elastic kinetic structures toward adaptive load-bearing structural system. The study is focused by means of finite element method on the form-finding and the structural analysis of flexible plate structures actuated and supported by cable elements, in order to examine their feasibility in geometry and scalability under severe loading conditions.

Convertible roofs are shape-alterable structural roofs that provide buildings with the adaptability to external climates or internal conditions.
The mechanisms of the conversion of those roofs have been subjects of interests from both aspects of engineering systems and architectural functionalities, and faced with technical challenges as required to convert under the severe dead loads. Currently, available conversion mechanisms for roofs are crudely classified into flexible membrane systems and rigid mechanisms, although both of the systems have left certain potential aspects unsolved such as the secure use of intermediate states between open and closed, more agile operation of the conversion with less energy.

Bending-active structures are the structures which base their geometries on the elastic deformation from the initially flat configuration. The flexible structures can not only form stationary curved geometries but also serve elastic kinematics or in another word compliant mechanism by large deformations in an elastic range. Bending-active structures, coupled with upcoming fibre composite materials, thus have potential capability to provide convertibility to roofs, tackling the above mentioned defects of the existing roof systems.

The research is scoped not on prototyping of the structure but rather on the feasibility study of the load bearing system by means of simulations on a conceptual level, in order to understand basic natures of the complex large deformation structural models.

Contact: Kenryo Takahashi

Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design – Prof. Dr.‐Ing. Jan Knippers
Institute of Computational Design and Construction – Prof. Achim Menges

Valentin Koslowski, Axel Körner