Tension systems

Support systems can be constructed almost entirely from tension elements, where required, such as rods or wires. Linking systems have inherent adjustment to allow for construction tolerances. Pinned connections allow the ties to be quickly and simply installed with the added benefit of allowing rotational movement to minimise any induced bending of the ties. A variety of components, often in stainless steel, are used in rod rigging and cable trusses, as shown in Figure 9.8. Examples of tension structures used as secondary elements include the glass walls at the Banque Populaire in Rennes, shown in Figure 9.9, and at the University of Bremen, shown in Figure 9.10.

However, the boundary supporting structure for tension systems can be heavier than in other systems, as the high-tension loads have to be transferred to stiff supports at both ends of the cables or rods. The boundary structure can be in the form of a horizontal or inclined steel truss or, alternatively, a direct connection to a foundation.

Cable systems may also be used with other forms of attachment. The covered courtyard of the History Museum in Hamburg was conceived as a lightweight structure consisting of cables and flat-plate connections, which directly supported the glazing panels, as shown in Figures 9.11 and 9.12.

9.11 Courtyard at Hamburg City History Museum (architect: Von Gerkan Marg & Partners)
9.12 Detail of glazing in Figure 9.11
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