The Taiyuan Domes are a series of three long-span timber gridshells ranging in span from 140 ft to 300 ft that will function as greenhouses for the new Botanical Gardens in Taiyuan, China. Each dome in the garden features a different biome; the smallest is an aquatic environment, the middle dome is desert, and the largest dome features a tropical biome. The long span and slender cross section of the gridshells represented a significant structural challenge. On two of the domes, the gridshells were realized with a quadrangular grid — in other words, without triangulation — a feature which is typically only seen with steel gridshells, largely due to the challenge of achieving a moment connection between layers of timber elements. The longest span gridshell uses a unique diagonal cable net underneath the glulam shell with a custom casting allowing the entire cable net to be tensioned by adjusting at each structural node. The glulam elements are doubly curved, leading to unique challenges in both structural splice design as well as axial compression capacity. To achieve these connections, full-scale structural testing was done at StructureCraft in-house testing facility to determine both strength and stiffness of the connections and glulam elements. Covering more than 130 000 sqft and using 11 000 pieces of glulam and more than 250 000 fasteners, these structures are one of the largest of their kind worldwide.
This conference will be presented in English. Cette conférence sera présentée en anglais.
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Lucas Epp is a structural designer with more than 15 years of experience working in North America, the UK, and New Zealand. Following his studies, Lucas spent 7 years in the UK and in New Zealand, engineering a range of projects with world-class architects. He moved back to Canada in 2014 to start StructureCraft’s structural engineering team. Lucas’ expertise with complex geometry and challenging structures has led him to be involved in projects where the interaction of architecture and structure is critical to the success of the project. He is passionate about timber engineering and has built a team at StructureCraft of more than 25 timber engineers and designers hailing from around the world. Lucas leads both engineering and 3D modelling departments at StructureCraft. His proficiency in Rhino + Grasshopper and structural analysis facilitate the efficient delivery of complex projects. At StructureCraft, Lucas spearheaded the launch of dowel laminated timber (DLT) —a new mass timber option in North America— being responsible for technical development and the design of a new manufacturing line to produce this product. Lucas speaks widely across North America on mass timber design and construction, and has lectured at the Architectural Association in London, ETH Zurich, Imperial College, and the University of British Columbia. He is involved in several code committees, is an author of the recently published Nail Laminated Timber Design Guide and is currently involved in writing a new Mass Timber Floor Vibration Design Guide.