A Complex Timber Roof in China
Topping a boutique restaurant venue, the N4-3 canopy is a complex timber gridshell incorporating efficient engineering, 3D and prefabrication techniques to ensure a smooth erection.
We worked through detailed design for the gridshell roof, as well as connections in the timber and steel frame. A total of 400 fabrication drawings were produced for each element of the gridshell using a parametric model, with teamwork from three continents to bring this beautiful project to fruition.
Engineering & Dfma
Design softwares such as Rhino, Grasshopper, and Speckle were used extensively in the modeling and planning of this roof, or the design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA). As a parametric object, each glulam member was created to evolve during the project phases, to match design changes. The entire model went through a reference, base, detail, and fabrication stage, reflecting the design process from initial to complex.
To maintain fabrication precision and standards, the original concept model was re-built. Pre-coordination was essential to ensure that a quick fabrication led to short erection times. To meet this goal, each cross connection was designed in the same direction for ease of install. Additionally, the steel columns were fixed before we came on board as engineer, so it was imperative to work with the provided positions. The roof geometry had to be rationalized to allow single curved beams that still maintained doubly curved top-bottom surfaces in keeping with the architect’s design intent.
Allowing for all these challenges ahead of time, erection has gone smoothly, and the full timber structure is complete, with SKF Construction as the principal contractor.