We’ve been busy designing and making our new ground based structure this summer – the TT Gridshell…..
Following on from our suspended Tree Tent we wanted to add a similarly sustainably built, ground based structure to our catalogue and the gridshell is the result…
Disillusioned by the odd ‘sunken golfball’ aesthetic of the many geodeisic domes that we’ve started seeing around we thought there should be a better alternative in the way the structure blended in with it’s environment, in the way they could be more sustainably built and be more comfortable.
First we looked at the frame – we were already using ash for our Tree Tent and so it made sense to continue with this for our Gridshell frame. In this instance though we’d use it ‘green’ so we could bend it to shape on-site rather than steaming and setting the curve beforehand which would be impossible with the spans we were looking at.
I first came across a Gridshell structure during a visit to the Weald and Downland open air museum near Goodwood in West Sussex. It was an amazing space to be in and i’ve been hooked on them ever since.
Gridshells are extremely strong and organically shaped structures that need no internal support. Built from timber laths woven into a diagonal lattice mat, they have no structural strength when laid flat. However, when formed into curves, the grid locks into a rigid shell. Although typically used for large architectural structures, such as the Happold and Cullinan architects gridshell for the Weald and Downland open air museum, which was a runner-up for the Stirling prize in 2002, the structure lends itself perfectly to smaller spaces due to the lack of internal support which, in turn offers a greater freedom of space and an amazing organic and natural aesthetic.
Our Gridshells are made from locally sourced and sustainably managed ash which we cut green and bend to shape on site over a pre-made deck. The frame is then covered in an insulated, quilted inner liner and then a waterproof, breathable membrane. Spacer bars are then fitted to provide and insulative breathing space and then the final covering of a durable Regentex canvas, available in a variety of colours, is fitted to act as a second rain screen cladding and to tone the structure into it’s environment.