US 3898777 A
A structural arrangement for dome-shaped or vaultlike structures. Prefabricated, three-terminal members having Y or inverted delta shaped configurations are assembled in successive tiers and interconnected with one another at their terminals.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Georgiev et al.
[ 1 DOME AND VAULT CONSTRUCTION  Inventors: Tancho D. Georgiev, 78 Hawthorne Ave., Newton, Mass. 01915; Robert M. Scanzani, 182 Bridge St., Beverly, Mass. 01020  Filed: Apr. 23, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 353,417
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation of Ser. No. 35,777, May 8, 1970,
 U.S. Cl. 52/81; 52/308; 52/583; 52/587  Int. Cl E04b l/32; E04b 7/08  Field of Search 52/8082, 581, 52/583, 587, 432, 438, 441, 663
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,746,283 5/1956 Abrams 52/587 51 Aug. 12, 1975 OTHER PUBLICATIONS Space Grid Structures Plate 94 and plate 93 by J. Borrego Copyright 1968.
Primary ExaminerI-lenry C. Sutherland Attorney, Agent, or FirmCesari and McKenna [5 7] ABSTRACT A structural arrangement for dome-shaped or vaultlike structures. Prefabricated, three-terminal members having Y or inverted delta shaped configurations are assembled in successive tiers and interconnected with one another at their terminals.
15 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENTEI] AUG 1 21975 SHEET 1 160 &
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1 DOME AND VAULT CONSTRUCTION This application is a continuation of now-abandoned application Ser. No. 35,777, filed May 8, 1970.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A. Field of Invention This invention relates to a novel dome-shaped or tunnel-vault building structure utilizing novel prefabricated structural elements, and to a novel fabrication and erection process for the structure.
B. The Prior Art A great deal of activity has been expended over the years in design and construction of large hemisphereor sphere-like buildings and domes. For example, the geodesic domes of Richard Buckminster Fuller are typical of such efforts. In planning and designing a large enclosure of this type, a great deal of attention must be paid to the complex force vectors which must be borne by each part of the structure. Cost of assembly is high and, usually, a great amount of effort is put into erecting and removing scaffolding, i.e. into activities not really directly connected with the erection of the building itself.
Moreover large crews are required for erecting such buildings: Thus the time schedule for building erection is not flexible", the work of the various groups of workmen is so interdependent on the work of other groups that absence of any significant number of workers can bring the building program to a virtual standstill.
Thus for reasons related to the complexity of the known geodesic structures, or related to the complexity of the process of erecting the known geodesic structurcs. the building and utilization of large dome-like buildings has been limited. Usually one observes that they are constructed for show purposes, e.g. at International Exhibitions, or for essential defense applications. e.g. as the radomes used to house radar antennae.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore it is an object of the invention to provide novel buildings having arcuate' wall sections, e.g. domes, tunnel vaults and the like.
It is another object of the invention to provide novel structural units useful in forming the aforesaid novel buildings.
Another object of the invention is to provide a process for constructing a building which allows a building of immense size to be constructed with a minimal work force and with the use of very little or no scaffolding.
Another object of the invention is to provide a practical means for constructing such a large building from any of a wide choice of materials of construction.
A further object of the invention is to provide a building wherein the primary structural units from which the building is constructed are adapted to receive. and act as conduits for. wiring or the like.
Still another object is to provide a process for constructing a building as described herein at lower cost than has previously been thought possible.
Other objects of the invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art on reading this application.
The above objects are substantially achieved by constructing a building from prefabricated sturctural structural each of which has a basic three-terminal configuration embodied in a Y- or inverted delta-shape. In general. the structural elements are stacked so that they are joined to their vertical and horizontal neighbors at 2 the outer ends of the three arms of the Y-shaped elements or at the vertices of the inverted delta-shaped elements.
As will be seen, the elements may be arranged in herizontal tiers, in which case each tier of elements serves as a compression ring supporting the tiers above. In a dome structure, each tier also serves as a circumferential tension ring taking up outward thrust.
Alternatively, the tiers of structural elements may be geodesically oriented. A goedesic dome having this construction has only a single layer of elements generally conforming to a single envelope of the dome. This should be constrasted with the more conventional geodesic domes, in which structural elements extend in both the radial and circumferential directions so as to define a pair of concentric envelopes spaced apart by a relatively large thickness dimension of the structure.
It is here that the benefits of our structural arrangement are most apparent. For example, our single-layer structure has fewer members.
Moreover the same size structural element can be used throughout the structure and there are fewer connections between structural elements than in prior geodesic structures. 7
Beyond this, a dome embodying our invention can be erected without resort to the expensive staging used to support prior assembled-in-place or cast-in-place domes until they are completed. As soon as each tier of structural elements has been fastened in place, it is self-supporting and, further, it can be used in support- IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a partial schematic sectional elevation showing the interior of a building constructed according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view of a wall section of a dome or tunnel vault constructed according to the invention. This view is partially schematic to show the Y- shaped metallic spines which are embedded into the preferred prefabricated structural elements and, therefore, invisible from the exterior of these elements;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a Y-shaped prefabricated structural elements used in the wall section of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view showing the connection of a building element in the lower tier of the dome to its foundation;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a typical connection between the building elements making up the dome;
FIG. 6 shows an alternative connection between structural elements;
FIGS. 5A and 6A show coupling members useful in forming the connections illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 respectively;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a variant Y-shaped structural elements with web-shaped infills:
FIGS. 8 and 9 are fragmentary wall sections comprised of structural elements that are modifications of FIG. 11 shows an ancillary support system useful in erecting structures according to the: invention;
FIG- I IA illustrates the construction of a supporting mast and its mode of attachment to a structural element; Y
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION FIG. 1 shows part of a dome-type building comprising a dome supported on a base structure 12. The dome 10, which is the subject of this invention, includes tiers of structural elements 13a and 13b, intermittent rings 14 disposed between tiers. As will be seen, a dome can be constructed without rings 14. However, the rings will ordinarily be included because they facilitate the use of different structural element styles and conversely they can serve to minimize the number of sizes required for each style.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, it is seen that building elements 13a are Y-shaped and comprise concrete envelopes or skin 15 and centrally disposed metal reinforcing members 16 which are largely embedded within envelopes 15. The members 16 comprise interconnected spokes l6hwhose threaded ends 16a extend from-the legs 17 of the elements 130. The ends of thelegs 17 are capped with bearing plates 18.
As best seen in FIG. 2, each element 13:: joins its neighboring elements at connections 20 with the three legs that meet at each connection defining a triangular space 20a.
FIGS. 5 and 5A show the connections 20 in greater detail. Within each space 20a, is a triangularly-shaped coupling member 21 having slots 22 therein. The slots 22 allow the coupling member 21 to be slipped over the threaded end 16a of each of three reinforcing members 16 at the connection.
Within the connection 20, as illustrated in FIG. 5, a coupler 26 is integrally positioned within the triangular space 20:: in alignment with the threaded reinforcing member ends 16a so the captive nuts 28 on the ends of spokes 29 can be threaded onto the ends 16a to draw the elements 13a together. This places the members 16 under tension, thereby exerting a compressive force on concrete envelopes 15 through the bearing plates 18. Further details of the connections are described later with reference to FIG. 10.
The bearing plates 18 are readily integrated into the elements 13 by casting the concrete envelopes 15 about the reinforcing members 16 after welded connections are made between the spokes 161; (FIG. 2) of other. the gaps 30 between opposing flanges 31121: filled with compressible filler pads 30a.
Conduits may be accommodated by (a) the registration of grooves 31a (FIG. 7) in the adjoining flanges 31 of terminal bearing plates and (b) corresponding holes 4 34 inthe corners of the coupling members 21 (FIG. 5A). Such conduitopenings allow wires, etc., to be distributed through the structure. .The reinforcing members 16 can also be made tubular to provide conduits. FIGS. 6 and 6A disclose another coupling system for fastening the prefabricated structural elements together. Here the ends of the elements are arcuated and a circular coupling member 32 as shown in FIG. 6A serves the same purpose as coupling member 21 of FIG. 5A. Again end flanges 31 Onbearing plates 33 help transfer bearing thrusts from element to element by way of intermediate pads 30a. I
Returning to FIG. 3, the bearing plates 18 at the top of the elements 13a are preferably canted inwardly at a compound angle A to accommodate the change in vertical orientation from one tier of elementsl3ato the next. That is, the bottom tier of elements 13 (FIG. 1)
is almost vertical and succeeding tiers are tilted more and more inwardly toward the horizontaLThe compound cant angle accommodates this change in orientation through the couplings. Alternatively one may a cast the elements 13 without a cant and provide the I (FIGS.'5 andSA).
It will beapparent that succeedingtiers in the dome 10 (FIG. 1) have smaller circumferences. Thus, if the same member of structural elements are used in successive tiers. as in the arrangement shown in FIG. 2, the elements must decrease in width from one tier to the next. Specifically, if an upper tier has a circumference of C and the adjacent lower tier has a circumference of C, then the width of the elements from :which the upper course is formed must be W where and 1 I I W is the sidth width units in the lower tier N is the number of units in the lower tier In general, this relationship may be used in the construction of spherical, elipsoidal, hyperbolic, parabolic, or conical domes. v
Alternatively, one may use structural elements of the same size in two successive tiers, with fewer elements in the upper of the two tiers. However, without the oneto-one relationship, the elements cannot be interconnected vertically in the manner shown in FIG. 2. Ac-
I cordingly, in that case we resort to the rings 14 of FIG.
I, which serve as buffers to,which different numbers of structural elements above and below can bedirectly connected. It will be apparent that the connections shown in. FIGS. 5 and 6 can easily be modified to couple elements 13 to rings 14. I
During erection. of the dome I0, the structural elements I3 in the nearly vertical lower tiers can be supported upright solely by their connections to elements (or rings I4) below. However, athigher levels. where the elementsaremore tilted, additional support is necessary. Thissupport isprovided by the mast-and-guy arrangement of FIGQ II which. in essence, supports eachunfinished tier from one or more completed tiers immediately below. As, each tier is completed, masts and guy rods are transferred to'it from a lower tier to provide support for the next tier. In this connection, it should be noted that in a dome embodying our invention, as soon as a tier is completed. it supports itself from the next lower tier.
With further reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, each structural element preferably, though not necessarily, has a central socket 40 in the form of an aperture extending through the element. To accommodate the socket 40, the reinforcing member 16 is provided with a central ring 160 from which the spokes 16b extend. The socket 40 supports a mast 42, such as shown in FIG. 11, during construction of the dome 10.
As shown in FIG. 11A, each mast 42 is provided with an integral supporting flange 42a from which the lower end of the mast extends through the mast socket 40 of a structural element. A nut 42b serves to fasten the mast in place. Extending from the flange 42a are three swivels 42d to which guy rods 44 are attached. The top of the mast 42 carries three more swivels 42e, with rods 44 attached to these swivels also.
The outer end of each guy rod 44 has an eye 4411 or other fastening device suitable for connection to rods 44 on other masts in the arrangement described below. Each lower guy rod 44 is in two sections connected by a turnbuckle 44b used to shorten or lengthen the rod as needed. When a rod 44 is not connected to other rods, it may be folded out of the way against the mast 42 as shown in FIG. 11A. Accordingly, as seen in FIGS. 11 ans 12, a plurality of masts 42 are erected along a tier 43 of elements 13, with support rods 44 extending from these masts toward the tops and bottoms of masts in adjacent upper tier 45, thereby providing support for the upper tier 45. In practice, it is convenient that a rod 44 connected to the top of each mast 42 in tier 43 join, in a Y-junction, with another rod 44 from the top of an adjacent mast in the same tier. The Y-juction also includes a single rod 44 connected to the bottom of another mast 42 fastened to a structural element of the next higher tier 45.
similarly, each mast in the tier 43 has rods 44 extending from its upper end to Y-junctions with further rods 44 extending from the bottoms of masts 42 in the next lower tier 47.
With this arrangement, the masts 42 in the tier 43 act in compression to support the structural elements in the upper tier 45. Specifically, as shown in FIG. 12, they provide support against the radial components R of the forces F exerted by the rods 44 on the upper ends of the masts in holding up the structural elements of the tier 45. The tangential components T of the forces F are transmitted to the lower tier 47 by rods 44 extending thereto, and, as a result, negligible bending moments are applied to the masts 42.
As each tier is completed, the masts 42 from a lower tier are removed and fastened to the structural elements that are to make up the next higher tier. With this leaprogging" arrangement. the dome may be erected with a minimum number of masts. Of even greater importance, no scaffolding is required for erection of the dome 10 and this factor alone represents a material cost saving over other dome constructions.
FIG. 4 shows how the dome I0 may be attached to a concrete foundation ring 48 in the base structure 12 of FIG. I. A steel plate 49 is so shaped that the reinforcing rods 16 of the lowermost structural elements 13 may be fastened to the ring and tightened by nuts 50 before concrete 52 is cast about the nuts.
FIG. 8 illustrates a further embodiment of the invention wherein structural elements 13c are formed of concrete envelopes 62 cast over reinforcing members 64. Each reinforcing member 64 comprises two Y- shaped, equiangular junctions 66, with each element 131' thereby having, in essence, the form of a pair of Y- shaped elements 130 connected bottom to top. In FIG. 8, a tier of building elements 60 is shown between two horizontal rings 14. However, the elements may also be directly interconnected from tier to tier in the manner of FIG. 2 by making their top widths smaller than their bottom widths in conformity with the formula set forth above.
FIG. 9 illustrates the structural elements 13b. The elements 13b are similar to those illustrated in FIG. 8 except that there are 90 angles between the legs 68. Moreover, the elements are arranged in a pseudooverlapping configuration so that four legs come into each connection between successive tiers. Thus the square coupling member 72 of FIG. 10 can be used to fasten structural elements 13)) together.
As shown in FIGS. 10 and 10A, the coupling member 72 has a boxlike configuration, with sides in the form of integral bearing plates 74. At the top and bottom are a pair of spiders comprising central hubs 76 and spokes 78 extending to the corners of the member 72. These spiders position a coupler 80 eomprising a stepped hub 82 welded between the hubs 76. Spokes 84 extending from the hub 82 are provided with captive nuts 86. Slots 88 in the plates 74 provide for access by the threaded ends 160 of the reinforcing members of the structural elements coupled together at the coupling member 72.
The inherent centering of the coupler 80 of FIG. I0 and consequent automatic alignment of the structural elements connected thereto will be advantageous in most applications.
In FIG. 7, we have illustrated a Y-shaped structural element 90 that is a modified form of the element 131: of FIG. 3. The bays between the legs of element have been largely filled in by web portions 90a. The portions 90a provide additional strength and, to this end, they preferably include reinforcing members (not shown) to take up tension forces in them. The web portions may be beveled, as shown, for esthetic effect.
FIG. 13 depicts a wall section comprising inverted delta-shaped structural elements 94. As shown in FIG. 14, each element 94 has three legs 96 that meet in integral joints at the corners of the element. Bearing plates 98 are welded to a Y-shaped reinforcing member 99 at the comers of the element. Extending from the plates 98 are threaded studs 100 which may be the outer ends of the member 99. With this arrangement, the elements 94 can be fastened together by means of coupling members and couplers similar to those shown in FIGS. 5 and 5A. Preferably, each inverted delta-shaped element 94 includes internal reinforcing members in the legs 96.
The Y-shaped reinforcing members 99 of FIG. 14 can be dispensed within some cases at the expense of some advantages of the invention.'Thesc members provide more efficient transmission of tension forces through the structural element, and through the integral studs they provide a simple way to interconnect the elements and transfer tension forces between them.
The inverted delta-shaped structural elements provide many of the advantages of the Y-shaped elements. In particular. they can be erected in the same manner,
Y 7 though the masts 42 (FIG. 11) may have to beic'onfigured somewhat differently for attaehmenttothem.
A tunnel vault incorporating the inventioncan be constructed in much the same way as the-dome in FIG. I. In this case a temporary or permanent end structure must be erected before the structural elements are fastened in place. This end structure, which may be of concrete or steel, for example. is an arch having a shape corresponding to the cross-section of the tunnel vault. Then-the structural elements are erected sequentially in place, and connected as a succession of interconnected arches. each of these arches supporting the next as the latter is erected.
The vault can be terminated at any desired length with a second arch like the one at the other end. Alternatively, semidomes constructed like the dome 10 of FIG. 1 can be used to close the ends. Or, if desired, the arch at-the starting end of the vault can be removed, with one or both ends of the completed'vault thus being terminated by arches of the structural elements them- .selves.
construction are feasible, suitably reinforced lightweight plastics will be entirely adequate materials of construction for the elements or any larger multipleelement configurations based on the integration of a number of the basic three legged construction modules. Hollow metallic structural elements may also be advantageous in some cases.
It will be noted that, in FIG. 2, there are largeapertures 110 enclosed by the prefabricated building units after they have been assembled together. It is not essential, of course, to have such spaces. Usually, however, it is desirable to reduce th wieght of the structure by skcletonizing the structural elements as in the embodiments described above to leave such an aperture. In fact, in most circumstances the aperture 110 has the prime utility of providing means by which light can be admitted to the structure. To this end, and to exclude rain and cold from the structure, it is often desirable to cover the holes with a translucent or even transparent cover plate 112 as shown for aperture 110 of FIG. 2. Of course, any other type of cover plate could be used. Aluminum and sheet steel plates are particularly useful when it is desired to exclude external light from the building. I
It should be also be understood that the invention can be utilized without the requirement of an integral, prefabricated envelope. For example, it would be entirely possible, and in many circumstances highly advantageous, to erect the reinforcing grid free of any envelope and then to cover it'with a shell suppport medium say some fabric or non-woven mat and then'spray a shell of organic resin upon it much aft er the fashion" from polyester resins or otherthat a boat hull is laid such materials.
Iclaim l. A curved building formed from A. a plurality of building elements, each Lhaving an inner frame of at least three interconnected generally coplanar rods i a. joined to each other at a common center; b. extending from said common center at obtuse angles to each other; i i
c. having fastening means on the outermost ends of at least two of said rods;
2. having an outer skin a. formed about, and enclosing, at least portions of each of said rods and defining legs along said portions;
b. said portions having inner and outer faces forming inner and outershell surfaces 'of said building structure; i
c. said portions having end faces generally transverse to said inner and outer faces and forming load-transmitting surfaces for loads applied to said elements;
d. the fastening means on said rods projecting through the end faces on said skin; and
B. a plurality of connectors, each 1. comprising a face plate having at least'three face portions, each face portion mating with a corresponding end face of a separate building element in load-transferring relation thereto;
2. an inner hub having a plurality of rods extending radially therefrom, eachrod having a fastening element thereon; i
3. web means interconnecting the inner hub to the face plate; and i v 4. apertures in said face plate through which the outermost ends of the rods of the structural elements to be attached thereto extend, whereby the fastening means of saidrods are connected to the corresponding fasteningelements of said connector means.
2. A building according to claim 1 in which said structural elements are of generally Y-shaped configuration, the legs thereof being spaced from each other by angles of approximately groups of three of said elements forming the perimeters of hexagonal figures when joined together by said fasteners' 3. A building according to claim 1 in which the fastening elements of said' connector means comprise captive nuts mounted on arms extending from said inner hub and in which the fastening means of the structural element rods comprises a threaded segment on said rods for connection with the captive nuts of the corresponding connector means. i i i 4. A building according to claim 1 in which said structural element comprises a double-ended Y configuration having I. a common leg having first and second ends; 2. a first pair of legs extending outwardly from a first end of said common leg'fand 3. a second pair of legs "extending outwardly from a second end of said common'leg. 5. A curved building formed from A. a plurality of building elements, each 1. having an inner frame of at least three interconnected generally coplanar rods having fastening means on the outermost ends of at least two of said rods; j, i 2. having an outer skin a. formed about, and enclosing, at least portions of each of said rods and defining legs along said portions b. said portions having inner and outer faces for forming inner and outer shell surfaces of said building structure;
c. said portions having end faces generally transverse to said inner and outer faces and forming load-transmitting surfaces for loads applied to said elements;
d. the fastening means on said rods projecting through the end faces on said skin; and
B. a plurality of connectors, each 1. comprising a face plate having at least three face portions, each face portion mating with a corresponding end face of a separate building element in load-transferring relation thereto;
2. an inner hub having a plurality of rods extending radially therefrom. each rod having a fastening element thereon;
3. web means interconnecting the inner hub to the face plate; and
4. apertures in said face plate through which the outermost ends of the rods of the structural ele ments to be attached thereto extend, whereby the fastening means of said rods may be connected to the corresponding fastening elements of said connector means.
6. A curved building according to claim in which a. said rods are joined at a common center and extend therefrom at obtuse angles to each other; and b. said skin is generally coextensive with said rods along substantially the entire length thereof. 7. A curved building according to claim 6 in which the skin comprises a generally continuous mass of concrete in which said rods are embedded.
8. A curved building according to claim 7 including a cap plate covering each said end face and providing reinforcement for said end faces when loads are transferred therethrough.
9. A curved building according to claim 8 in which the end faces which are fastened together in vertical tiers are canted at an acute angle with respect to the skin surfaces.
10. Acurved building according to claim 8 in which the end faces are joined together in both horizontal and vertical tiers and are canted at acute angle with respect to the skin surfaces.
11. A curved building according to claim 5 in which a. said rods are joined to a common center and extend therefrom at obtuse angles to each other; and
b. said skin bridges across pairs of said rods at ends remote from said common center.
12. A curved building according to claim 11 in which the skin comprises a generally continuous mass of concrete in which said rods are embedded.
13. A curved building according to claim 12 including a cap plate covering said end face and providing re inforcement for said end faces when loads are transferred therethrough.
14. A curved building according to claim 13 in which the end faces which are fastened together in vertical tiers are canted at an acute angle with respect to the skin surfaces 15. A curved building according to claim 13 in which the end faces are joined together in both horizontal and vertical tiers and are canted at an acute angle with respect to the skin surfaces.