O. Baverel, A. Pugnale
This paper deals with the design of reciprocal spatial configurations, based on the use of planar elements, which are investigated and classified according to their morphological characteristics and design potential. Reciprocal structures were first originated as assemblies of elongated elements. In Europe, the concept of spanning longer distances than the length of the available timber beams was the key reason for the use of such structures, which were therefore called ‘short-beams’. In the East and especially in China, the use of interwoven strips of bamboo for the construction of baskets is an old tradition that was transferred to larger scale objects, and which has also led to the development of reciprocal configurations based on linear elements. In this framework, a study of reciprocal systems, based on the use of 2D planar panels, is proposed. A first morphological classification of reciprocal systems based on planar elements, which have been divided according to the shape of the elements and growth possibilities of their assembly, is provided. Moreover, some research issues for future investigations are highlighted. The presented systems and prototypes were developed by students at the École des Ponts in Paris during their Master’s degree and a workshop run by the authors in March 2012.