WikiVault is Michael Clarke’s proposal. It utilises a reciprocal frame structure created from flat sheet material that can be assembled rapidly on site with only the aid of a jig for lifting. The system is a very efficient use of material particularly owing to the fact that no formwork is necessary in the assembly of the vaulting structure. In addition, the use of a flat sheet material means that it can be easily and accurately pre-fabricated offsite using either CNC machines or laser cutters depending on the scale required. This has the added benefit of easy transportation to the site.
The structural logic for the system evolved from the mandala reciprocal roof structure and Joseph Abeille’s vault, a solid ashlar floor construction from the seventeenth century.
The value of an open source construction set is that it is easy to use and adapt by anyone. With this in mind he developed a software plug-in for Grasshopper and Rhino that simplifies the system into easily changeable parameters. A series of sliders and any input surface determine the final form of the vault system.
As part of the continuing development of the WikiVault system he has started to develop a component based library including floors, stairs and modular wall elements to increase the versatility of the system. One obvious flaw is the shelter from the weather of the interior space. In order to address this he has also begun to develop two composite systems utilising a tensile membrane in the first instance and heavy earth construction in the second.