Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date




In today's field of architecture, a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the use of new forms and new materials by a great number of architects. Yet the vast majority of these persons are not equipped to carry out this task. It is not that they do not possess the technical knowledge, it is that they do not have the right approach in tackling the problem. This is often the case when dealing with prestressed tensile structures; More specifically, saddle shaped surfaces.


This project represents an investigation of the structural principles involved in the design of prestressed saddle shaped tensile structures, the stripping down of these principles to their barest and simplest expressions, and an application of these same principles to model analysis involving the basic prestressed saddle surface structural prototype.


This analysis is undertaken with the help of a machine which collects several types of information from the models. The machine, described in pages 64 and 65 of this work, was essential in the overall understanding of the basic structural conditions present in each particular model. A process of observation and conclusion was carried out through each individual model test and each particular model..

Observations were made on each test's graphic data and were due to the author's relating of these same observations to basic tensile principles. This process was carried out and was refined to the point where varying situations of structural complexity were easily related to these same principles. Conclusions were made from each individual test observation, were compared to those of other tests, And were synthesized into an overall conclusion or conclusions.

Results: The results arrived at by following this process of investigation enables the reader to make value judgements as to the condition of stress distribution on a particular model, and also gives the reader a way in which to cope with this situation. An indirect result arrived at in the process of investigation was that the reader acquires a common sense approach, not only to prestressed saddle shaped surfaces, but to the field of tensile structures as a whole.

Document Type


Degree Name


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

William Gafford

Second Committee Member

Michel Pillet

Third Committee Member

Edie Cherry

Included in

Architecture Commons