Delta Shell: Testing the Function of Form

Project Credits: Collaboration with Brian Grieb, Emily Licht, and Colleen Paz (UC Berkeley)

Photo Credits: team

Delta Shell is a semester long research and fabrication project for Material Geometries, a course taught by Lisa Iwamoto at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. The course, focused on reimagining historic architectural structural systems.

Delta Shell is a variant on a four-point grid-shell, designed to interface with a small concrete sunken courtyard adjacent to the main courtyard of the CED. The test geometry was derived through a series of parametric studies which were iteratively run through structural analysis tools and fed back into the design study. This process yielded an optimized version of the initial grid-shell design.

Since the stated challenge of the course was to take one of the standard structural systems and develop a unique variation of it, Delta Shell takes our ideal grid-shell design and our optimized grid-shell design combining them into a double structure that physically and visually articulates the differential between the two surfaces.

The thickness of the HDPE sheets chosen was not sufficient for the structural needs of the design. At the scale of the double grid shell, the material was not rigid enough to allow the structure to be pushed into its final position over the site as intended.