The Palawan dome, is a large steel geodesic dome structure in the tradition of Buckminster Fuller. The dome houses a workshop for the fabrication of bespoke art pieces.
On June 25th, 2018, a previously constructed geodesic dome, buckled and collapsed during storm conditions. The dome had a coarse density and was constructed using relatively long scaffolding pipes. Based on anecdotal evidence, the dome seems to have suffered from local buckling of some of the members, causing global collapse. The owner then contacted Superproject and Summum Engineering to design and engineer a new dome that would withstand local wind conditions.
Summum Engineering engineered the main steel structure, while varying two parameters: the density of the grid, also known as the geodesic frequency, and the cross section, based on locally available steel scaffolding pipes.
This enabled us to establish a minimally required amount of material for a new version of the dome. The dome’s structure was evaluated for maximum deflection, yielding and local buckling of the bars, using the National Structural Code of the Philippines. Its global buckling was also checked – and was in fact the governing design limit – using the Guide to Buckling Load Evaluation of Metal Reticulated Roof Structures, drafted by the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS). Apart from the overall design, Superproject also developed and detailed a custom node, that can adapt to different incident angles of the connecting bars. A locally registered civil engineer checked the analysis and provided the geotechnical engineering for the dome’s foundation.
Results showed that a geodesic dome with a frequency of 12 with 2.5 inch pipes, provided an optimal balance between mass and economy, while meeting structural requirements.