par Devos, Rika ;Marijke, Mollaert
Editeur scientifique Bowen, Brian;Friedman, Donald;Leslie, Thomas;Ochsendorf, John
Référence Fifth International Congress on Construction History(5: June 2015: Chicago), Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Construction History, Vol. 1, Ed. 1, page (591-600)
Publication Publié, 2015-06
Publication dans des actes
Résumé : Expo 58, the first post-war world’s fair (Brussels) was appreciated for its unprecedented col-lection of lightweight structures. Recent study has revealed how hanging roof structures have pushed contemporary building practice to its limits. These pavilions demonstrated an early mas-tering of tensioning calculation and specific building techniques, but both design and construc-tion phases met with unexpected problems. In particular the choice of the materials to cover the curved surfaces presented a challenge difficult to meet with contemporary means. New archival research revealed three textile structures at Expo 58, which help to further probe the state of knowledge and practice in lightweight building in Belgium from 1955 on-wards. The bandstand cable net by architect O. Schomblood and engineer A. Paduart; the roof of the snackbar by architect R. Bastin and engineer R. Greisch and the ceiling of the International Science Exhibition by architect A. Jacqmain and engineer L. Culer are textile structures using cotton fabric as cover. These structures were erected as part of the fair’s functional equipment supervised by Expo 58’s Technical Service and have remained unpublished. Archival material documents the planning and construction processes through letters, plans, photographs, building specifications, bills, construction site accounts and calculation reports.This paper highlights the methods and tools used, and the issues at stake during the design and construction of these early textile structures. Cotton canvas was chosen in all three cases in spite of several experiments with Cocoon, a sprayable plastic. Different structural concepts were developed, blurring the difference between cable reinforced tensile structures and tensioned ca-ble nets. The work of engineers, architects and controlling agency reveals the state of knowledge on, and ambition in, building with innovative, precisely calculated and detailed tensile structures in textile. The contractors’ experience on the other hand, when available, appeared to be mainly in the field of classical tent building and interior furnishing: practices with long-standing, hands-on knowledge in handling textile covers. By focusing on the documents produced to communi-cate the design and to steer and monitor the construction process, this paper investigates how both fields of construction knowledge were confronted. What is revealed is neither a situation of structural or material innovation, nor of a perfect mastering of concepts and processes, but an amalgam of approaches, materials, techniques and actors at a crossover point between estab-lished, general construction practices and ambitious lightweight building calling for increased control and mastering of calculation and execution.