The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 03 August 2018 01:00cat

Kinetic Engineering to make buildings moveable

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Kinetic Engineering to make a building moveable Kinetic Engineering to make a building moveable

A new revolutionary approach of building design suggests that a construction can be transformed into multiple sections by moving various parts of its structural form.

We all perceive current buildings as stable, inflexible constructions. However, according to this new tendency, a building would have the capability of altering its shape performing more tasks. This enterprise is still unknown to many but with each new high-profile project helmed by Thomas Duffy, principal at New York City's Thornton Tomasetti, the concept is growing in recognition.

The concept of moveable buildings is made possible by kinetic engineering. Kinetic engineering is able of transforming the nature of a facility and the residents' conception of space. Duffy, who joined Thornton Tomasetti in 2012, after a 25-year career in structural engineering as a specialist in kinetic structures, states "Kinetic engineering is the application of mechanical properties to structures to induce motion. Kinetic engineering allows flexible use of space, which in real estate is a valuable commodity. This is useful for completely transforming a space from one use to another, simply improving occupant sensory experience or comfort or providing sustainability measures such as limiting solar gain, and thus lowering cooling costs."

The potential of motion in buildings is impressive. "Consider a rotating restaurant, a carousel or even a bridge that opens for boat traffic", Duffy said. In each case the construction leverages kinetic engineering.

An example of the application of kinetic engineering according to Duffy is the tennis stadium that is part of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, which often uses kinetic engineering to open roofs, operate wall panels and vary the rise of seating to improve sight lines depending on the sport.

Motion would allow buildings to perform multiple tasks and operate to enhance their aesthetic quality, to respond to environmental conditions or perform functions that would be impossible for a static structure. Therefore, kinetic engineering constitutes an exciting and promising future potential for structural engineering.


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