Kinetic Umbrella

film by Alyssa Williams

The Kinetic Umbrella is an elastically transformable lattice structure for the Kreativquatier in Munich. The research project investigates geometrical, mechanical and constructive solutions for kinetic structures, which are manufactured from exclusively straight lamellas. In the design, the joint and support conditions, as well as the bending stiffness of the bars, are specifically controlled in order to achieve a complex, spatial transformation while maintaining a high load-bearing capacity.

The Kinetic Umbrella consists of 32 slender FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) lamellas (8x80mm), which are connected through aluminium scissor joints. The tall FRP profiles create high resistance to external loads through their strong axis, and – at the same time – may elastically bend and twist around their week axis. This allows a directed change of shape from a 6m high cylinder into a cantilevered funnel with an 8m span. The transformation is controlled using ring ropes and winches. The diagonal grid is covered with parallel textiles, that follow the changing geometry and offer sun protection.

Kinetic Properties. The shape and kinetic properties of the structure were digitally designed and simulated. This allowed us to control the curvatures around three axes of the fibreglass lamellas and measure the elastic energy that results from the bending and torsion. These simulations not only enable a precise understanding of the kinetic behaviour but also allow a prediction of the natural equilibrium states of minimal energy.

Construction. The lamellas are joined diagonally in two layers. They are connected by aluminium joints with plain bearings, to enable a smooth mechanism. The grid is mounted on a ring-shaped steel structure that facilitates the outward tilt of the structure. By slowly releasing and pulling a ring cable within the structure the grid can be easily opened and closed. Three additional rings cables at the outer, mid and low perimeter secure the final unfolded shape.

The structure while opening. Foto: Martina Schikore
The day of completion. Foto: Jonas Schikore
Aluminium Scissor Joint. Foto: Jonas Schikore
Support and Actuation. Foto: Jonas Schikore

Project Lead

M. Sc. Jonas Schikore

Prof. Pierluigi D’Acunto
Professur für Structural Design
Fakultät für Architektur

Frauke Wilken, Tao Sun, Clemens Lindner, Frederic Chovghi, Fabian Matella, Maria Rau, Sarah Sendzek, Sebastian Hoyer, Merlin Bieling, Sebastian Dietrich

Projekt Partner

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eike Schling
Department of Architecture
The University of Hong Kong

Industry Partner

BRANDL Metallbau
Erhard Brandl GmbH & Co. KG
Eichstätter Str. 16
85117 Eitensheim

Fa. Gepotex
Gerhard Popp
Ziegelhüttenweg 3
D-91448 Emskirchen

FACTUREE Aluminium Gelenkbauteile
cwmk GmbH
Oudenarder Str. 16
13347 Berlin


Sto Stiftung, DSZ GmbH

Dr. Marschall Stiftung, TUM

About eikeschling

Dr.-Ing. | Architect BYAK Assistant Professor in Architectural Structures The University of Hong Kong

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