Tensile Vaults is a new structural paradigm resulting from explorations that take advantage of the most recent advancements in stone manufacturing techniques in conjunction with parametric software.
The structure has been realized using breakthrough UHPS technology developed by Ateliers Romeo, and consists of a monolithic, ultra-thin two-ply laminate stone slab held together by an HPC and basalt fibres interlayer. As a result, it combines the high compressive strength typical of masonery formations with the tensile strength common in membrane structures. The design takes these tectonic principles as a starting point to unravel the structural and spatial potential embodied by “Scherk surfaces”, a type of minimal surface that achieves a highly efficient distribution of forces.
Utilizing cutting edge manufaturing techniques the stone slabs are molded in a vacuum to conform to the geometry of the Scherk surfaces. This allows seamless and elegant transitions between perpendicular planes, minimizing the amount of material required for construction, reducing its carbon footprint, and producing a self-supported stone structure that is both functionally coherent and spatially expressive.
The design reinvents the archetypal interpretation of the vault in a way that results in a new and unexpected architectural language.