Publications: Conference Paper

Computational design and robotic fabrication of a self-supporting acoustic shell

Loh Paul, Mirra Gabriele, Leggett David, Pugnale Alberto

July 2022 | Conference Paper

]This paper presents the development and application of a computational workflow for the design and fabrication of acoustic concrete shells. The workflow allows controlling the shape of small, curved panels that can be assembled into continuous surfaces. The panels are designed to comply with the robotic fabrication requirements of a...


The Airshell prototype: a timber gridshell erected through a pneumatic formwork

Liuti, Alessandro, Pugnale, Alberto & Colabella, Sofia

September 2017 | Conference Paper

This paper presents the construction of Airshell, a small timber gridshell prototype erected by employing a pneumatic formwork. Inspired by the work of Frei Otto and Dante Bini, the technique is based on a pneumatic membrane and an Arduino® board – the former used as dynamic formwork and the latter...


Building timber gridshells with air: Numerical simulations and technique challenges

Liuti, Alessandro, D’Amico, Bernardino & Pugnale, Alberto

July 2016 | Conference Paper

Construction has always been a fascinating and challenging aspect of timber gridshells. So far, only three techniques have successfully been used for the erection of such structures: the so-called ‘lift-up’, ‘push-up’ and ‘ease-down’ (Quinn et al. 2015). Inflatable Membrane Technology is here proposed as a new solution and is tested...


Erection of post-formed gridshells by means of inflatable membrane technology

Liuti, Alessandro & Pugnale, Alberto

December 2015 | Conference Paper

This paper describes a new erection technique for post-formed timber gridshells which takes advantage of inflatable membrane technology. Consolidated construction techniques for timber gridshells are based either on “pull-up” / “push-up” (i.e. Mannheim Multihalle) or “ease-down” behavior (i.e. Downland Open Air Museum). However, these techniques show shortcomings already at small...


Dante Bini’s “New Architectural Formulae”: Construction, Collapse and Demolition of Binishells in Australia 1974-2015

Pugnale, Alberto & Bologna, Alberto

July 2015 | Conference Paper

The Italian architect Dante Bini began his studies on shell structures during the 1960s. He developed and refined a form-finding and construction technique to erect a finished large-span reinforced concrete (RC) shell structure through the use of an inflatable membrane. This system was patented in 1964 under the name ‘Binishell’...


Computational Morphogenesis applied to the Church of Longuelo: Reflections upon a possible parametric interpretation of the original design concepts

Liuti, Alessandro & Pugnale, Alberto

December 2014 | Conference Paper

Before the introduction of NURBS-based CAD software and optimisation, the design of form-resistant structures was based on the use of either experimental tools (physical form-finding) or analytical surfaces, and architects were challenged in the articulation of spaces from the intrinsic characteristics/rules of structural forms. An outstanding example of this kind...


Dante Bini’s air structures (1964-1979): From early Italian prototypes to the Australian experience

Pugnale, Alberto & Bologna, Alberto

April 2014 | Conference Paper

The construction of concrete shells has always been a difficult and expensive procedure. Preparation of complex formworks, as well as placement of curved reinforcing rods require experience and increase the overall cost. Building concrete shells is even more of concern within the Australian context, where the use of simple and...


Reciprocal systems based on planar elements: morphology and design explorations

Baverel, Olivier & Pugnale, Alberto

September 2013 | Conference Paper

The concept of transferring forces in a reciprocal way has always been related to the use of elongated timber elements. However, planar components can also be considered - circular tiles, squares, triangles and more articulated or irregular geometries are all valid alternatives. This paper proposes an initial study on reciprocal...


Multi-Objective Optimization of Concrete Shells

Méndez Echenagucia, Tomas, Pugnale, Alberto & Sassone, Mario

July 2013 | Conference Paper

This paper discusses the application of a Multi-Objective Search method to the design of shell structures. Contrasting objectives of lightweight and high stiffness are considered for two case studies with different geometry and constraints. The Multi-Objective search is performed in the frame of the Pareto theory of non-domination, implemented in...