Kinetic Umbrella

Kinetic Umbrella

Eike Schling, Jonas Schikore, Muye Ma, Wesley She

The Kinetic Umbrella is an elastically transformable lattice structure for the Kreativquatier in Munich. The research project investigates geometrical, mechanical and constructive solutions for kinetic structures, which are manufactured from exclusively straight lamellas.

In the design, the joint and support conditions, as well as the bending stiffness of the bars, are specifically controlled in order to achieve a complex, spatial transformation while maintaining a high load-bearing capacity.

The Kinetic Umbrella consists of 32 slender FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) lamellas (8x80mm), which are connected through aluminium scissor joints.

The tall FRP profiles create high resistance to external loads through their strong axis, and – at the same time – may elastically bend and twist around their week axis.

This allows a directed change of shape from a 6m high cylinder into a cantilevered funnel with an 8m span. The transformation is controlled using ring ropes and winches.

The diagonal grid is covered with parallel textiles, that follow the changing geometry and offer sun protection.[1]

Transformable structures are 4-dimensional and offer to design through time, beyond the static, by adapting to environmental conditions, structural influences or user’s needs.

We can distinguish between conventional rigid-body mechanisms and compliant mechanisms (Howell 2002) which utilize the elastic properties of the material to perform a change in geometry without the need for hinges.

Recent developments in computational modelling have substantially elevated the possibilities for designing and simulating large deformations, thus paving the way for a new research branch of bending active structure.[2]

The Kinetic Umbrella is designed as a quadrilateral grid, build from slender Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (GFRP) lamellas that are connected in two layers through bolts, creating movable uni-axial scissor connections.

The GFRP profile are selected to enable flexible torsional and uniaxial bending. Due to their asymptotic layout, the lamellas remain upright and resistant to local normal loads.[3]

A textile sun protection system follows the elastic mechanism. It consists of 800 individual textile bands, each 5mm wide. The hinges are held in position using aluminum strips.

The alignment of the bands in the direction of the lamellae enables the textile system to be formed with almost no stretching.

The tapes were specially developed for the project and are characterized by suitable stretch properties and a high level of durability for outdoor use.[4]

  1. Kinetic Umbrella /
  3. The Kinetic Umbrella /
  4. Kinetic Umbrella /

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