DETAIL Magazine: Lightweight Construction

DETAIL Magazine: Lightweight Construction

This year DETAIL is celebrating its 50th birthday, and it kicks off the year with an issue about Lightweight Construction. Never failing to impress, this issue left me wanting to know more about the topic’s history and its future. For example, the issue leads with a biographical article of Vladimir Grigor’evic Suchov, perhaps the most prolific engineer that few people outside of Russia have ever heard of. Best compared to giants like Alexander Graham Bell or Gustave Eiffel, architects and engineers are still learning and using construction techniques and principles Suchov contributed over 100 years ago. Starting here, the editors nicely framed the incredibly diverse range of projects that follow. Today’s most creative and innovative lightweight construction projects, from the Trift Glacier Suspension Bridge to the Temporary Bar in Porto, almost seem inevitable after reading the first article.

More on this issue after the break.

Editor-in-Chief: Christian Schittich Language: English Cover: Paperback Pages: 110 ISSN: 1614-4600

People who exit the Sabolovskaya metro station towards the east are unexpectedly confronted with a building that is both unusual and fascinating. The delicate structure of Vladimir Suchov’s radio tower seems almost unreal and reaches into the skies above the surrounding massive slab buildings. Commissioned by Lenin in the 1920s as a symbol of communist progress, the dematerialised construction remained nearly unchanged to this day and still functions as a broadcasting tower. A contribution on the great engineer Suchov’s seminal work (see p. 6) forms an introduction to this edition with its focus on “lightweight construction”—a subject that gains importance today where sustainable use of resources becomes more and more important. The primary goal of lightweight construction is to reduce weight, and thus, resource consumption. This can be achieved through use of materials (material-based lightweight construction), or complete systems (system-based lightweight construction). Beyond that, even if the term lightweight construction doesn’t directly imply it, various questions regarding flexibility and prefabrication play a decisive role. This edition reflects the enormously multilayered character of this subject matter. The projects documented here from the almost dematerialised bridge across a glacier lake in the Swiss Alps to a flexible steel construction system for residential buildings, from shelters for orphans in Thailand made of bamboo and wood as locally available materials to the prefabricated mobile showroom for a kitchen appliance manufacturer, and a department store façade made of translucent inflatable foil elements. Especially plastic in their diverse manifestations become more and more important for lightweight construction, due to their low weight and high durability. Current opportunities and development tendencies in this material group, yet also limitations of their use, are illustrated in the technology section of this edition (see p. 64). Plastics in the form of PTFE coated fibre glass mesh also play a major role in the Expo-Axis in Shanghai (see p. 53). The 1000 m long membrane construction interrupted by delicate glazed light cones is among the qualitatively most exceptional constructions created for the Expo 2010 and, with its large-scale, yet elegant form, serves as orientation point between all the hyperactive pavilions.

–Christian Schittich

Table of Contents:

Discussion Lightweight Construction Christian Schittich

Innovation and Aesthetics – Lightweight Construction Pioneer Vladmir Grigor’evic Suchov Matthias Beckh, Rainer Barthel, Rainer Graefe

Reports One New Change – Mixed-use Building in London Christian Brensing

Books, Exhibitions

The Gates and Hillmann Centers at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Nic Lehoux

Fukork-Tower in Osaka

Detail Prize 2011 “Aesthetics and Construction”

Documentation Suspension Bridge, Trift Glacier Ingenieurbüro Hans Pfaffen, Chur

Sleeping Huts for Orphans in Noh Bo, Thailand TYIN tegnestue, Trondheim

Bar in Vila Nova de Gaia

Menos é Mais, Porto Temporary Bar in Porto

Diogo Aguiar, Teresa Otto, Porto Mobile Exhibition Pavilion Jürke Architekten, Munich

Residential Development in Chantepie Eric Lenoir, Charleville-Mézières Commercial Building, Lausanne B+W architecture, Lausanne

Roof Construction for the Central Axis of the Expo 2010 Shanghai SBA Architekten, Stuttgart

Technology Lightweight Construction with Plastics Stephan Engelsmann, Valerie Spalding

Products Construction Insulation Wall and floor tiles Lighting and Control Office Interiors On the spot Service Persons and organizations involved in the planning • Contractors and suppliers Programme • Photo credits • Editorial and publishing data

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About this author
Cite: Christopher Henry. "DETAIL Magazine: Lightweight Construction" 29 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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