Trondheim gridshell (2015)

  • Trondheim pavilion. Photo: Sophie Labonnote.



  • Trondheim pavilion. Photo: Sophie Labonnote.



  • Trondheim pavilion. Photo: Sophie Labonnote.



Gridshells are today not the most common type of structure but increasingly finds its use in buildings focusing on the architectural shape in addition to good performance, efficiency and cost. Spectacular shapes may be constructed, as there is lot of flexibility concerning the form finding, as long as it has its basis in structural considerations. That is, to be fruitful there is a clear benefit, even a clear demand, regarding understanding and collaboration between the architect and structural engineer.

A gridshell structure is a shell construction divided in a grid of smaller elements where loads are carried ideally through membrane forces, in-plane forces, rather than bending and transvers shear forces. Gridshells can be constructed using a kinematic construction process, by first building a flat grid that is later formed by gravity into its final shape, possible by some additional final pulling or lifting of sections and/or boundaries of the grid. Many different materials can be used, where also wood is considered an appropriate material, not at least due to its good bending attributes.

3D model of the Trondheim pavilion. Illustration: NTNU/John Haddal Mork and Steinar Hillersøy Dyvik.

The Trondheim pavilion

The Trondheim pavilion is a gridshell structure erected in May 2015 at the Krigsseilerplassen in Trondheim, Norway. The construction is a result of a master thesis at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), by John Haddal Mork and Steinar Hillersøy Dyvik. The 100 m2 big room is primarily meant as a temporary experiment that can expand the use of urban space in the city centre.

There are “infinite” possibilities concerning the shape of a gridshell; it can be both symmetrical and asymmetrical, as well as curved in several directions. Doubly curved shapes are generally preferred above singly curved due to better force distribution. The grid can be both diagonal and orthogonal, but must have fixed grid dimensions and fixed anchor points. A parametric modelling software was used to obtain the given shape of the Trondheim pavilion gridshell.



There is currently one research assistant working with gridshell structures:



Professor Bendik Manum

Phone: +47 735 95 057