Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wonder Grass on the cusp of new beginning

Work on the first phase of the construction of large-span inverted arch is nearing completion. Simultaneously we are working on a vaulted structure which is also coming along well.

The whole process of constructing a single structural member of 80 feet span has been exciting. It has helped us develop some simple but very interesting ‘systems’ that help us construct a large structural member. Development and construction of a curved element of arch, using multiple bamboo-poles, as can be seen in the images.

Another structure that we are developing is also part of the same project. This is proposed to a vaulted roofing system which is approximately 40 feet in span. We have started putting together the ribs, which will finally support the woven-bamboo surface on the top. (image).

This has been a good start. We take this opportunity to thank our clients, specially Architects Ashok B laal, Delhi and IGH (initiatives for Green Habitats), Bangalore to have put faith in the capabilities of Wonder Grass to deliver the building system to their requirement.

The Barn Roof Vault

This is part of the first phase of the project, where we would be prototyping the primary structural element, assemble a full-scale mock-up and conduct preliminary structural tests to check how it performs under various loading conditions.

There are two different structures that we are working on, both have different design and construction requirements.

We intend to complete the construction of a mock-up of the vaulted structure towards the end of this month. The second step is to conduct basic structural tests on the full-scale mock-up of both these systems, inverted arch (80 feet clear span) and Ribbed-vault (40 feet span). Design of structural tests is going to be a ‘project’ in itself. In case of the 80 feet span inverted-arch, the dead-load of the roofing system on top (proposed ‘Galv-Al’ sheets) is negligible, but then the wind-loads will be considerable. What we are working on, is to find a way to test these systems under windy conditions.

The project has given us an opportunity to build large span structural systems using bamboo as primary building material. This has given Wonder Grass team a confidence in its abilities for providing and erecting large span built-spaces.

Deriving from these primary forms and construction-systems we can look at developing building-applications for use in urban environs. We are looking to get the first complete prototype up and test the same towards the end of month of July, learn from the tests and refine the structural system for enhanced performance.