This article presents a new methodology for generating compression-only vaulted surfaces and networks. The method finds possible funicular solutions under gravitational loading within a defined envelope. Using projective geometry, duality theory and linear optimization, it provides a graphical and intuitive method, adopting the same advantages of techniques such as graphic statics, but offering a viable extension to fully three-dimensional problems. The proposed method is applicable for the analysis of vaulted historical structures, specifically in unreinforced masonry, as well as the design of new vaulted structures. This paper introduces the method and shows examples of applications in both fields.

Keywords: compression-only structures, unreinforced masonry vaults, funicular analysis, Thrust Network Analysis, reciprocal diagrams, form-finding, lower-bound analysis, structural optimization.


Medieval vault builders created complex forms carefully balanced in compression. The structural properties of these sophisticated forms are still poorly understood because of a lack of appropriate analysis methods, i.e. methods relating stability and form. Understanding the mechanics of these vaulted structures leads to new insights for both analysis and design.



/// This article is extracted from Mårten Nettelbladt’s works. Have a look to his reasearch blogs, here and here ///

DEFINITION. Forms are called ‘developable’ or ‘single curved’ when they can be created through ordinary bending of a planar surface without stretching, cutting or wrinkling the material. These surfaces are characterized by only bending in one direction at a time, like the cylinder or the cone. Developable surfaces are useful because they allow round forms to be made out of flat materials like plywood, sheet metal or cloth. This is why they are used for ship building, tent sewing and fabrication of ventilation ducts etc.




In the past 20 years, the communications revolution produced by the Internet substantially affected the way we interact with the world. This has driven us to a change of perception in the traditionally recognized opposition between real and virtual. Nowadays, a new paradigm is actually re-drawing reality as a complex system of relations between layers as “face” (physical) and virtual. Architects and urban planners can no longer ignore this new reality generated by ubiquitous computer technologies that we have translated to the reconfiguration of physical space in urban areas, with the term “hybrid public spaces”.


How would Piero della Francesca paint his “Città Ideale” if he was living today?


Sunspace for Shibukawa (2009)

Sunspace for Shibukawa


Media designer Jiyeon Song created this “One Day Poem Pavilion”. There exists a complex array of perforations that allows light to pass through the pavilion”s surface that results in shifting patterns, and transforms into a legible text of a poem. During the day, the light passes through the perforations on the surface and projects a poem on to the ground. The poem consists of 5 lines with each line visible for about an hour that can be seen between 8 AM and 4 PM.

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Manuele Baldoni est peintre, photographe, et ex-étudiant d’architecture. Après un architecte, une réalisatrice, un designer, une urbaniste et un jeune architecte, un artiste va répondre à nos 4 questions sur le rapport entre architecture et ingénierie.

A) Quel est, dans ta vision, le rapport entre l’architecture et l’ingénierie?

Pour moi l’architecture et l’ingénierie ces sont comme une femme et un homme mariés. J’aime imaginer l’architecture comme quelqu’un de libre et aléatoire et l’ingénierie comme un mari rigoureux.
Paul Geraldy
disait que “il faut se ressembler un peu pour s’entendre, mais qu’il faut être un peu différent pour s’aimer”. C’est comme-ça que je conçois le rapport entre l’architecture et l’ingénierie.
Dans ce rapport, chaque une de deux partie veut se compléter elle-même par l’autre, dans un échange d’énergie continu. Comme Hugh Dutton a déjà dit, pour moi aussi la situation actuelle de la profession témoigne, sauf certaines exceptions, d’un état de crise de ce couple. Les deux partenaires s’éloignent et veulent exercer un pouvoir sur l’autre, ce qui provoque une maladie dans la relation. Les amoureux deviennent ainsi deux monstres qui se font la guerre.

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Manuele Baldoni > "THE BIG REAL - awful silence" acrilico su stoffa e legno 2x30x40 


Les vitrines sont le reflet des époques : suffisamment pérennes pour en être un condensé, suffisamment éphémères pour s’imprégner de l’air du temps. Façonnées par l’Histoire et les inventions architecturales, elles ne vont cesser d’évoluer de par le monde, depuis leur apparition à la fin du XIX ème s. jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Ces changements sont résumés dans les pages suivantes.
Notre recherche tente de savoir ce qu’est une vitrine, ce qu’elle montre, comment et à qui.
Elle a été faite dans le cadre des projets pour DFS Galleria dont nous avons déjà parlé ici, farmacia spain 24h ici ( en français ) et ici (en anglais).


Daylight - a hotel scenario for the future

Here is a video of an experimental project by Philips for what somebody have called “Ambient Window”.


I think it’s always interesting for an architect to have feedbacks on his works. That’s why we like to share our projects and then read comments. With photos, it’s the same ideas.
With Flickr, we have been working on sharing photos and creating public groups of our most famous projects. A public group on Flickr is a place where people can put their photo of a specific project or on a specific subject.
We have recently started a new group for photos of the recently inaugurated La Roche-sur-Yon Footbridge, and we hope to have soon the photos above in it. They are by tof85.