A contemporary reinterpretation of Jorn Utzon’s material and technological innovations

Ole Egholm Pederson, Niels Martin Larsen, David Pigram, Iain Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Paperpeer-review

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Standardisation and the use of repetitive production processes was a key determinant of achievable forms in the industrial paradigm, impressively displayed in the Sydney Opera House. Today, complex non-repetitive, yet readily achievable, forms can be designed using computational design techniques that explicitly embed
structural, and fabrication logic from the beginning and which later enable the direct generation of instruction code for their accurate and efficient production via
Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines.

This paper builds on the thesis that Utzon's approach - the consideration of technology as an integral part of the design process - can give rise to novel structures which take advantage of the new technological situation. Furthering earlier research by the authors, a method for constructing a hybrid grid shell
structure combining timber and pre-cast concrete elements is proposed. The method is tested through the realisation of a pavilion in relation to the Utzon
Symposium in Sydney in March 2014. The previous research shows how a grid shell structure of discrete concrete components can be produced with lasercut amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (PET) templates. The casting method minimises the material use for templates in relation to customisation. This paper
concerns realisation of a hybrid construction through integration of customised plywood components. Furthermore, the concrete construction is improved.
Precision is improved through stabilisation of the template and modification of the geometry. Stability of the construction is achieved through new joint solutions. Reinforcement and joints are treated as a single element, thereby simplifying both production and assembly. In previous case studies scaffolding was a
major task, and this aspect is minimised with the method described here.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Utzon Symposium - University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 7 Mar 20149 Mar 2014


Other4th International Utzon Symposium


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