Soft Spaces : Hybrid systems from structural membranes/cable-nets and conventional building technologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Gerry D’Anza Lighweight Architecture
  • IxRay ltd.


Tensile structures and conventional building techniques are both highly developed, but they have never been explored as coalescent architectural and structural unity. We are proposing hybrid configurations, which will merge 3 aspects, firstly architectural design from the complex interplay of conventional and fluent forms, secondly structural design from the 3D-bracing-effect by membranes, and thirdly benefits in assembly, costs and sustainability, from the pin-joint connection related ease of assembly, alongside minimum amount of material and high degree of prefabrication. For the benefit of a global system, the role of membrane structures has been moved from intrasystem purposes to an integral structural and architectural element.
As a first step, this paper looks into the structural performance of structural membranes spanning two planar, bending resistant elements, such as floor slabs, which are held at a predefined distance by vertical pin-joint struts only.
It is shown that combining the ease of assembly of conventional members and the 3D-bracing-effect of membranes result in highly efficient architectural structures.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the TensiNet Symposium 2019
Subtitle of host publicationSoftening the habitats, 3-5 June 2019, Politecnico di Milano
EditorsAlessandra Zanelli, Carol Monticelli, Marijke Mollaert, Bernd Stimpfle
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventTENSINET Symposium: Softening the Habitats - Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
Duration: 3 Jun 20195 Jun 2019
Conference number: 6


ConferenceTENSINET Symposium
Internet address

    Research areas

  • structural membranes and conventional building technologies, textile architecture, built environment, new applications, design rules and structural analysis, active bending, sustainability

ID: 37133292