Design of timber gridded shell structures

Richard Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Engineering and architecture are close disciplines with much overlap. Co-operation between design team partners to combine their experience leads to successful building structures. The paper discusses the key issues in the design of shells, giving methods of categorisation to aid communication within the design team. There has been a recent move towards freeform shells and the paper shows the necessity of working these up from clear rational parameters rather than relying on a computer-generated image alone. It shows the key material parameters that need to be addressed in grid shell design and shows how results from model tests and smaller-scale precedents can inform choice of material and size of structural elements. A review of recent shell structures includes references to timber gridshells (Downland, Savill) comparing their form-finding, modelling and construction techniques with the Pods, Scunthorpe (construction start September 2009)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Structures and Buildings
Issue number2
Early online date14 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • timber structures
  • shells
  • design methods & aids


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