Curved beams in roof structures

Curved roof structures provide many architectural opportunities for expression, particularly where the walls and roof are combined in one overall structural solution, so that the demarcation between these elements is removed. The physical nature of these roofs or enclosures is that they are curved to a radius to allow water run-off and to achieve maximum usable space internally.

Castellated and cellular beams have been used successfully in long-span roofs when curved and with intermediate supports (see Figure 4.15). Although slightly curved in shape, these members function as beams. Here the lightness of the highly perforated sections is combined with the ability to curve the sections in the re-welding process. The rhythm of the regular openings in the beams provides a degree of architectural interest.

Curved sections may also be used to great effect to create arch structures, as in the Lea Valley Ice Skating Rink in Figure 4.16, which was one of the first structures of this type. In this building, the deep-profiled decking was designed as a 'stressed skin' to eliminate the need for secondary bracing members, and to accentuate the simplicity of the structure.

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