Bartlett School Of Architecture 2004 - 2006

Chris Daniel (Unit 22)



Dec '04 - Aug '06

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    Cantilevers [suggestions please!]

    By Christopher Daniel
    Apr 3, '06 9:44 AM EST

    We had our pre-Easter crit on Saturday. Yesterday was a day off, a precious rarity. A few of us went to a houseparty that was right by the finishline for the Boat Race. I got there about 5 minutes after the event. Train problems. Damned annoying.

    During the crits I took a few photos of people's stuff as they presented it. One comment when I took a photo of some models "I'd better not see that on the bloody internet". Quite funny, really. I'll post some info on the crit itself when I get the chance. Hey, I might even go wild and actually write something about my project!


    In the meantime, I'm working exclusively on my thesis for a few days. I'm doing a technical study (as opposed to a historical or theoretical piece). My thesis tutor is at Techniker, who're a bunch of absolute heroes.

    The idea I'm researching involves trying to build a 3-storey building that is cantilevered 25m over an open ground floor. The additional constraints include
    a) only a limited number of people on site (maybe as few as 3)
    b) using no major mechanisation (i.e. block and tackle rather than cranes).

    At the moment I'm trying to remember my mechanics lessons from school and undergrad. I'm also wracking my brains to think of as many interesting examples of cantilevers as possible.

    So here's my question/request to all you Archinecters:

    Can anyone out there suggest any interesting and/or impressive cantilevered buildings/structures/etc?
    All comments and references gratefully received.

    Right. I'm off to do some book-research on the Crystal Palace. It's not about cantilevers, but it's damned impressive Victorian engineering and that's all good.


    • 90265

      Klein Dytham's 'Undercover Lab'

      Apr 3, 06 10:33 am

      The Glucksman Gallery has a big cantilever, which seems bigger than it is. The initial designs omitted the supporting columns, but I'm not sure whether they ever thought that it was possible to build it like that.

      Scottish parliament building has a fairly large cantilever in one of the office buildings (18m)

      and also the unfortunate roof of the debating chamber is essentially cantilevered from one side, although it does touch down at the other.

      The Forth railway bridge is a very impressive cantilevered structure and indicates the shape you need to resist bending moments on very long cantilevers.

      Judging from the picture above, there are no windows on the sides of your building, so you can put any structure you like there -- diagonal cable stays or shear walls, etc. My guess is that the most efficient approach would be to treat it like one half of a cable-stayed bridge, with a wide, rigid, vertical core instead of the back stays.

      Apr 3, 06 10:48 am
      Christopher Daniel

      That's exactly the approach I'm looking into, Theo! The wall I've shown above (northside) has no openings in it (or will have very few). The other side (southside, unseen in this picture) is largely open, so in section we're looking at probably a C-shape of structure with the last side being as open as possible. Hopefully that solid northern facade can do a lot of the work. Maybe a structural steel skin, boat-hull-style stuff.

      I've been looking into the Forth railway bridge too.

      Also on my list are:

      Copenhagen Operahouse, Henning Larsen:

      Forum, Barcelona, Herzog & de Meuron:

      admiller4: Thanks for the tip. Will look into it now...

      Apr 3, 06 11:01 am

      jean nouvel proposed a hotel for the DUMBO section of brooklyn that featured a significant cantilevered blcl out over the east river, well over a hundred feet.

      images of their proposal (and AutoCAD drawings) can be found on their website:

      once there:
      projects / world map / nyc / brooklyn hotel

      Apr 3, 06 12:18 pm

      Darn, I was going to suggest the Forum at Barcelona - now THAT is a cantilever! I have no idea how it works, although I think it might have the structure integrated into the roof somehow - i.e. like an umrella.

      I have noticed recently (in AJ for example- housing project with a big prison-like purple wall - I'm so helpful - it has a picture of McDonalds or Burger Kind on the front - the basement floors transfer the columns from above) is....the use of whole walls or trusses-as-walls which obviously give a huge depth of beam - as I'm sure you're familiar with this I won't go on, but I find it quite interesting.

      Then of course there is this unforgettable (it took me five mins of googling) Hafenbüro Rohner (copy paste)

      I do remember some incredible cantileverd house somewhere else, it was just a big long thin black box hanging by the side of the main building, hmmmm, too many beers corrupt my memory...

      Nice image, very...Marvel Comics (in the best possible sense)

      Apr 3, 06 4:42 pm

      MVRDV - wozoco housing project has some interesting cantilevers, also the ICA Boston by diller scofidio +renfro.

      Apr 3, 06 6:10 pm

      oma design of cctv? interesting if nothing else.

      Apr 4, 06 12:45 am
      Christopher Daniel

      Thanks for all the input, peoples. Some definite stuff to be looking into. In particular, the Undercover Lab seems to be doing a lot of what I want to do.

      Signum: Don't worry, I quite like the Marvel Comics comment. Actually, my influnces will (hopefully) be more along the lines of Frank Miller (DC & Dark Horse comics including the original Sin City) and Dave McKean (DC comics and now director of Mirrormask). Now I've said that public, I'd better work damned hard to make it a reality or I'll look very stupid.

      And yes, the Barcelona Forum building is a really stupidly large cantilever. As soon as I get my library card back (the university managed to cancel it somehow), I hope to be wading through details for that thing. If anyone from H & deM is reading this and has some drawings they could send me: I'd be very grateful and promise not to tell anyone....

      While I do that, everyone should still feel free to show off their knowledge by name-checking any buildings they can with outrageously llarge cantilevers. Preferably ones with a couple of habitable floors weighing down on them. Go on. You know you want to....

      Apr 5, 06 7:53 pm

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