World Water Day: how prestressed membranes matter when every drop counts.

World Water Day happens on the 22nd of March every year to bring awareness to the global water crisis. In my class CEE546 “Form Finding of Structural Surfaces” architecture and civil engineering students were collaborating today on the design of a water harvester that doubles up as a community center canopy for disaster struck areas. The idea is that an anticlastic membrane roof structure can be shaped to collect water in shipping containers while also shade and shelter the community it serves. The students learned together how to make physical small-scale models of prestressed textiles and refined their design in commercial form finding software that employs the force density method. The resulting designs were reviewed by Prof. Ruy Pauletti from Sao Paulo University, Brazil and myself. I will write more about him in later post. The resulting designs show novel water harvester/canopy systems that draw on the excellent structural behavior of pre-stressed membranes.

Project 1: Cone design – Iwanicholas Cisneros and Hannah Guo


Project 2: Asymmetric cone design – Isabel Morris and Kaicong Wu

Project 3: Arch and membrane design – Pelin Asa and Rebecca Napolitano


Project 4: Saddle design – Lu Lu and Sharon Xu

Project 5: Arch and membrane – Mauricio Loyola and Olek Niewiarowski

Author: Sigrid Adriaenssens

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